Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. Isaiah 58:12

 The word of the Lord came to the Prophet Isaiah concerning Israel’s return from exile. It was a word that had a dual significance to God’s people. On the one hand it spoke of their physical return from bondage and how the cities and towns that lay in ruins would once again rise from the ruble to become thriving towns and villages.

One the other hand, the passage holds eternal meaning. It speaks of a time when, once and for all, God will deliver His people from all their enemies. In Jesus we find spiritual restoration, but one day, Jesus will return to gather us to Himself where we will spend eternity with Him. No more death. No more sickness. No more division of nations, cultures or denominations. Eternity in peace with our Savior! 

For the Christ-follower this verse reminds us that the ruins of our past are not permanent. Regardless of what you have done, who you have hurt or who has hurt you, the past is just the past. Because of the forgiveness we have in Christ we can put the past behind us and press onward with the promise that God can use us and even the sins and poor choices of our past for His glory.

It is also important for us to realize that no matter what the past holds for you in the sense of memories, pain and devastation, there is some good to build upon. The prophet says “Your people…will raise up age-old foundations”. When the people of Israel returned home to the devastation brought to their homeland by invading armies there was ruin everywhere. Walls and roofs had collapsed and were useless. But the foundations stood firm. It was on these foundations that the buildings would once again rise.

In the same way, we may have wandered from Christ. We may have come to a point where we no longer believed, no longer chose to follow Him. Our choices of the past may have brought ruin and devastation to our lives. But no matter what has been destroyed as a result of our decisions, there is always something God can use to build us back up for His glory. No life is a total loss when God is involved.

The prophet gives us one more challenge in this verse. Not only is there always something to salvage from our own lives, the same is true for those around us. As Christ followers we have the privilege and opportunity to be “Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings”. We are surrounded by friends and loved ones whose lives have become nothing but shattered ruins of what could have been. With God’s help and the power of His Holy Spirit working in us we can reach out to those that have been demoralized, attacked and defeated and help them to rebuild on the foundations that still exist.

What an awesome opportunity awaits us! Some day we will be taken out of this world to a far better place. Until then we can build our own lives and the lives of others on the love and forgiveness offered through Jesus!

PRAYER: Father God. When I think of the devastation that your people of Israel must have experienced when they returned home I am reminded of my own devastation. I’ve felt beaten up, battered and misunderstood as a result of choices I’ve made and the injustice I’ve suffered at the hands of others. But that is my past. Forgive me for my part in the ruins of my life. Empower me to rebuild on the truths you have told me about myself. Give me wisdom and strength to lift my brother from the ruins as well for your names sake. Amen.