A scream, like only a teenaged girl can vocalize, sliced the stillness of the afternoon. I raced toward the bedroom where her petulant voice echoed, “MO—THER!”
Daughter stood in the doorway of her closet swatting, scratching, and stripping off clothes. “Ants!” she shouted and smacked her hands up and down her face, neck, and body. “Everywhere. In my closet. In my clothes. Do something!”
“The kitchen, under the sink.” I motioned to the horrified girlfriend plastered against the opposite wall, “Get my rubber gloves and a plastic bag.”
I opened the plastic bag she offered at arms-length and stuffed shoes, socks, shirts, and an assortment of objects attempting to find out where the nasty creatures were coming from. And then, there it was. Laying on the bottom of her junky closet floor, underneath a hubble of rubble—HER GYM BAG.
“But Mom—” Her face colored sorry.
I glared first at her, then at the angry ants. Pulling open the bag I found they had built an ant condominium around her left-over candy bars, crackers, and fruit. For how long? Who knows?
“Open the window and push out the screen,” I ordered and heaved the ants, rotted fruit, and gym bag out the window. “Get the bug spray, the vacuum, and anything else you need to clean up this pigsty and don’t you ever—”
Years have passed and I laugh about the incident now, but isn’t that where we live every day? In a garbage heap of sins and lies that sting, bite, and torture. A place where enemies lurk to demoralize and destroy our families. A place that can be fatal. And a place where we shrug our shoulders passively and dumpster-dive into the growing heap of filth, rather than clean up the rubbish.
But we’re not the first, God’s ancient people did that too. In Jerusalem.
God said their nation was beyond repair because they persecuted the prophets and continually rebelled and sinned against a holy and righteous God. So God sent the Babylonian army, under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C., to take Judah captive for seventy years. In the final siege, the king’s army took the rest of the Jews to Babylon and burned the temple, Jerusalem, and tore down the walls of the holy city and burned its gates.
Seventy years later, King Cyrus of Persia signed a decree that allowed the captives to return to Jerusalem, just like God said they would. They began to rebuild the temple, but enemies had moved into the land who refused to accept the returning refugees. The temple work was halted for fourteen years and finally finished in 516 B.C. But the city was a mess. The walls were still broken and the houses destroyed. Ninety-three years after the Jews returned to Jerusalem, with the exception of the temple, the holy city—God’s chosen city—was a dump.
‘Til God called Nehemiah in 445 B.C. to return and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah prayed and fasted and God gave him a plan and, together with the help of the Lord, under the leadership of Nehemiah, the refugees rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in fifty-two days.
How did they do it?
Nehemiah instructed each family to clean the rubble and rebuild the portion of the wall in front of their home. If you read the 3rd Chapter of Nehemiah you will find the repeated phrase “next to them,” “next to him,” “after them.”
Ah, that’s the answer. God’s people working shoulder to shoulder. Choosing to be holy. Choosing to clean up their life, their family, and their home. But that would mean choosing to denounce and repent of the deep, dark valley of lies that have deceived our minds and hearts and tuning our ears to hear, believe, and stand for God’s truths.
Because America has become a garbage landfill. A dump of everything ungodly.
We face hoards of voices screaming their lies every day: Homosexuality. Abortion. Same sex marriage. Drugs. Murder. No consequences for sin. No hell. All roads lead to God. Everyone goes to heaven. The list is endless.
And yet we knowingly permit ourselves to be lulled, in the darkness of a movie theater or at home in front of our wide screens, by pretty people, gushing half-truths, involved in abhorrent behavior, while beautiful background music sears and dulls our conscience. And we’re not smart enough to discern a half-truth is a whole lie.
America needs tribes of Nehemiahs. Men and women, and young people ready to become valiant warriors for God. Warriors who will stand, focused, and ready to obey their Lord. Servants who will lead God’s people in cleaning up the rubble at their house, throwing it on the trash heap, and rebuilding walls of righteousness and justice and holiness around this nation. One house at a time.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance” (Psalm 33:12 NAS).
Trust God—And clean house. Your house. Before we too are beyond repair.