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The Law of Entropy

A lot of times I find myself right back where I started. I take something apart and make some modifications or repair something broken, only to reinstall the apparatus having forgotten a step, or worse, broken something else in the process. The Law of Entropy seems to follow me around. That’s laughable actually. It follows us all around.

The Law of Entropy says that things existing in a closed system will steadily move toward disorder. Isn’t that fun? I think that this law, which is actually the second law of thermodynamics, pretty much sums up the struggle of living in a world broken by sin. Think about it. We want to believe that knowledge is power. And yet, knowledge not only doesn’t possess the power to make us apply what we learn, but it also lacks the power to keep us from choosing to do the very thing it opposes. God’s law is there to speak order into that disorder, but we are drawn to the chaos like a moth to a flame.

We don’t like reality in day-to-day doses. It’s painful at its worst, and annoying in the least. I want life and everything that comprises it to simply work, but entropy is crouching, always ready to pounce. I like stories and movies that may peak with a crisis but resolve with a hopeful ending. The beauty of Scripture is that it’s a collection of stories spanning decades and centuries, told by our Creator, where we see the best and worst of humanity rise and fall in the midst of God’s glory revealed. God is glorified as His glory is revealed. God is glorified as mankind is redeemed by His gracious hand. As beautiful as it sounds, it is a very messy story and He is our very, very patient God.

The book of Nehemiah provides a great illustration of how prayer and hard work can accomplish seemingly impossible things when a person determines to trust and obey God. We see the best of leadership character in this man personally. He was a man of responsibility, vision, action, cooperation and compassion. He wears prayer like an after-shave lotion and takes on opposition with righteous indignation. Up until the final chapter, we’re very hopeful.

The ending of Nehemiah’s memoirs is not a happy one. It is, however, very real and very true. As I read the final chapter of Nehemiah, I have to ask: What was the point? These people were all talk, caught up in the rally. Was Nehemiah even somewhat successful? He did a great job leading the people in rebuilding the wall. He and Ezra did a great job leading the people into a completely reoriented religious awareness. Key people and practices were in place to further reclaim their identity and reshape their culture. What happened?

Even the best of spiritual revivals seem to wane. The human condition with our proclivity to make life work without God kills the dependency for Him. There is no relationship with God, or anyone else for that matter, without trust. I would like to end our study in Nehemiah around chapter 9 or 10, but that would leave out the final message of the book. What is that message? There has to be more. There must come a time when God will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves—not for long anyway. Strategically placed at the end of our Old Testament, Nehemiah’s story points the way to that time, and specifically to that Person, who came to do just that.