The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire. Nehemiah 1:3
The people of God had been taken into captivity because of their continual pattern of falling into sin. God patiently warned them again and again, but they just wouldn’t give up their sin, so, as He had warned, the enemy came in and led them away. In this case, the people were exiled for 70 years. Some no doubt died in captivity and never returned to the promised land, but there was a remnant who survived!
Then they will come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, who has taken them captive to his will. 2 Timothy 2:26 BSB
That’s the way it is with sin; when we don’t get it under control, it opens up the opportunity for Satan to lead us into captivity! But all is not lost. We always have the chance to come to our senses, and with God’s help, escape the snare of the devil.
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:4 NIV
Nehemiah mourned when he realized the extent of the damage the enemy had inflicted upon Jerusalem. Their wall of defense had been broken down, the gates destroyed; their sin had made them extremely vulnerable to enemy attack. He fasted and prayed, confessing his sin and the sin of the people. Confession and repentance are always the first steps to getting back to where God wants you to be. As he sought the Lord, Nehemiah clung to God’s promise:
But if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name. They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. Nehemiah 1:9-10 NIV
If you’ve struggled with sin and have been taken captive by the enemy, be encouraged by God’s promise to His children. However far away sin has taken you, even “at the farthest horizon,” God will bring you back from there to the place He has chosen for you. If you return to Him today and obey His commands, He will rescue you by His great strength and mighty hand!
If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Jeremiah 15:19a NIV
But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord, ‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.’ Jeremiah 30:17 NIV
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:6-10 NIV
There is hope!