Nehemiah 2-9-20 (audio file for download)
We are studying the book if Nehemiah. The first week we looked at some background of the book and how Nehemiah had a heart of compassion for the city of his ancestors, and his heritage. We saw his reaction to that compassion was a heart for prayer, and his prayer was rooted in the Word of God. Last week we looked at how Nehemiah waited, four months before bringing his concern to the king, he prayed and asked God for wisdom to speak to the king. He prayed alone, at set times, and he prayed in the moment. Finally we looked at how he trusted God. Which in the end, we saw that the king gave him everything he asked for and more because God’s hand was upon him.
This week we look at what Nehemiah does after he sets off on his journey, and then arrives in Jerusalem.
Before we read, think about what you would do in his shoes? How would you go about coming into a city that you have roots to, but no first hand knowledge of, and convince the people living there that they should help you rebuild the walls. How would you go about doing that? Well, we are going to see what Nehemiah did as he arrived in Jerusalem.
Lets read Nehemiah 2:9-20
This is going to be a fairly practical message for each of us. Sometimes depending on the text, my sermons could be on a spectrum of more theological, to more practical. This message, I believe is on the far end of the spectrum towards the practical side.
I want to look at the things that Nehemiah did as he got to Jerusalem, then I want us to spend some time here in the service, and at home thinking and praying about how we might apply what we have learned to our own lives.
Nehemiah Inspects the Walls: Neh. had never seen the walls, he had only heard what their state was, so when he got to town he wanted to go and look for himself. He needed to see with his own eyes and plan for himself what needed to be done. There are a few thins about his inspection that are interesting to me, an I think instructive for us.
- He went at night: I believe that he did this for several reasons: He didn’t want to stir the people up prematurely, he wanted to get his own assessment with a few trusted advisors by his side.He knew the opposition might come against him, if they could stop him, but once the people caught the vision, the opposition would not be able to stop the work of the Lord.
- He waited to tell the people: I believe this was because he wanted to have a clear picture to convey to the people what they needed to do. Until he made an accurate and complete assessment of the wall, he would not be able to lead the rebuilding. He needed to be honest with himself, and his people to be able to cast clear vision for what they were going to undertake.
- Do you ever have time where you reflect, and self evaluate? This is something that we as Christians should be able to do, and we should do it fairly regularly. We each need an honest assessment of our walls and gates. If you are feeling like your life is not your own and your every move is dictated by something, or someone else, maybe you have some broken down walls. Are you finding that you are leaning more and more on one person, or one activity, or one substance to help you cope with life, you have a broken wall. The evidence is there, you just need to sit back and make an honest assessment. If you are not able, them bring along some trusted advisors like Nehemiah did to help you in the process of seeing the walls in need of repair in your life. Maybe you are in need of some Biblical counseling, or some other help, you should never be afraid to reach out for that. That is what the Church is here for.
- Take a moment and write down some thoughts about areas in your life where you feel like you need Gods hand to heal you, or strengthen you.
Nehemiah Casts Vision:
- He starts with where they are:
- Tells them what needs to be done:
- Tells them what the future could look like:
- Points their Eyes to God as the source:
Do you have a clear picture of who God is calling you to be, and what needs to happen to move in that direction? Who do you believe God wants you to be in 2,5,10 years? Can you picture that? Take some time and write down some things that come to mind as you think about that.
The people strengthen their hands for the work:
- They know where they are, they see where they could be, and they are ready to go all in to be a part of God’s work in Jerusalem.
- They say, ”Let’s arise and build!”
- They knew it was going to be God’s hand that would guide and lead them as they did His work.
What are some areas that you now see, you need to arise and build in your life? Maybe it is more time in the word, maybe it is coming to church more often, or getting plugged into a bible study. Maybe it is getting together with some other people to pray on a regular basis. It could be all kinds of things. It could be taking the step to ask someone to help you see where your walls are in need of repair. I cant tell you what exactly you need to do, but I can tell you this. God draws near to those who are seeking to draw near to Him. God empowers the assessment, God gives the vision, and God gives the Grace to accomplish His work in you.
In the weeks ahead we will take a close look at the fact that there will be opposition to the rebuilding that God wants to do in you. for now, lets tnd pray and ask God to do a work in you to show you where you are, give you vision for where he wants you, and courage to step in faith and trust Him.
Take some time and write down one or two steps that you feel God is asking you to do. now this isn’t a legalistic thing, and it should not be out of guilt. Paul said, I worked harder than anyone, yet it was not I, but the grace of God working in me. We are acting in faith when we take these steps. but we must walk none the less.