The theme: Arise and Build
Primary text: “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build.” (Nehemiah 2:20)
Welcome to the Daniel Fast of 2018. The theme for the DF 2018 this year is: Arise and Build. The text from Nehemiah chapter 2 will serve as our point of reference throughout the Fast.
The days of Nehemiah were very similar to ours. The Jewish people had been taken into captivity in Babylon. The prophet Daniel correctly calculated that they had come to the end of the 70 years of exile prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah.
There were three waves of returning Jewish exiles during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. The first wave occurred about 536 BC and was led by a priest named Zerubbabel who was accompanied by two prophets: Zachariah and Haggai. The second wave occurred in 458 and was led by Ezra. He oversaw the rebuilding of the temple and the re-establishment of the priesthood. The third and final wave occurred thirteen years later. It was led by Nehemiah and resulted in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and the restoration of the city as the capital of Israel.
Nearly one hundred years passed from the time that God first declared the end of the captivity to the last and final call to go back home. Despite all that was written in Scripture, despite all the calls of the prophets, the vast majority of God’s people NEVER LEFT BABYLON! The Biblical concept of “the remnant” comes from this period of time when the percentage of God’s people responding to divine destiny was in fact very small.
There have always been two different kinds of Gospel messages preached since God brought His Church into existence. The first message begins at the cross of Calvary as the price that heaven had to pay for your sin; and ends with your great recompense being in heaven. The second message begins with how much God loves you unconditionally no matter what kind of choices you make; and it ends with the promise that if you just give Him a small corner in your heart He will make your life on earth much better.
The vast majority of Christians living in the west have believed the second message. This is why our churches are so void of true integrity and divine authority. I believe this message reflects the seduction of Babylon.
Christianity without the cross is a Christianity without Christ!
It is never easy to leave Babylon. Ever since man was first exiled from the Garden of Eden, the majority of people have always chosen Babylon over Jerusalem. And whereas that might be the nature of man, it is NOT the nature of God.
God says, “Come out from Babylon, and be separate. Do not even touch what I consider to be unclean. And I will receive you and will be a father to you. And I will make you my sons and daughters in the earth.” (See 2 Corinthians 6:17,18)
The first exhortation of the DF 2018 is to arise. This means you have to consciously leave everything that God considers bad for you. Most of your friends and family members will not understand your decision. But you must decide that following Jesus wherever He goes is better than living comfortably in compromise.
The second exhortation of the DF 2018 is to build. This means that you will begin to build a lifestyle and a character that reflect the culture of heaven and the nature of God. This mens that as the Lord opens the right doors for you, you will begin to build these same values in your family, your relationships, your church, and even in your work place.
You cannot be neutral about this time of prayer and fasting. God is calling. So,
Arise and Build!