And whoever remained in any place where he
sojourned, let the men of his place help him with silver, and
with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offerings for
the house of God that is in Jerusalem.
Thus, Ezra was called forth and challenged to rise up from his exile and return to his homeland, and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Likewise, Nehemiah was called forth and challenged to return to Jerusalem and rebuild its walls, as a protection against its enemies. Some, we are told in the Bible, scoffed at Nehemiah's labors. Sanballat and Tobiah came to laugh and discourage Nehemia from continuing his work. Yet Nehemia pressed on with his work.
Today, suggests Doctor Gueh, we hear the jealousy of Sanballat and Tobiah in the voices of those of our fellow Liberians who would keep the exiles from returning home to help rebuild and restore Liberia. Yet as we see in the Old Testament, God called on the exiles to return home and rebuild Jerusalem. So should we welcome those exiles who return home with pure hearts to rebuild Liberia.
Let us remember how many of them came to be exiles, far from their homes. Some had gone to the United States to study, in order to improve their lives and those of other Liberians. Some fled from violence and terror. Shall we say to them tha