These chapters in Nehemiah give us some necessary principles to fulfilling a God given task and vision.
When Nehemiah heard of the distress of those in Jerusalem and that the walls were still broken down, Nehemiah said in chapter 1, verse 4, “I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” If more God given tasks were responded to like this, more would get done. Nehemiah didn’t take things lightly; his heart had passion for the glory of God and compassion for his people. The rest of what we see him and others do in the following chapters began in prayer with fasting.
Nehemiah 2:10 says, “When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of it, they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel.” If you don’t have opposition and critics, you’re probably not doing anything significant. You can’t be discouraged by those who oppose and despise you when you are doing a God given task. Critics are not proof you’re in the will of God, but you’ll always have them in the will of God.
Nehemiah said in chapter 2, verse 16, “the officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, or the others who did the work.” When Nehemiah first came to Jerusalem, he didn’t tell anyone what he was doing until he had time to survey the land and see what needed to be accomplished. In the initial stages of a vision and God given task we can error by talking to people we shouldn’t about our plan. That doesn’t mean we don’t tell anyone, but we need to have a plan before we try to tell people what it is. This sounds like common sense, but many times people get excited in the initial stages of something and they tell people who can’t see what they have begun to see.
Chapter 3 contains some significant words: “next to them” (or “next to him”). The job wasn’t fulfilled by one or even by a majority, but as they ALL did their part standing side by side, the job would be finished.
Nehemiah commented on his enemies plans to frighten them in chapter 6, verse 9: “For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, "Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done." Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.” Fear will neutralize faith and must be resisted. Nehemiah continued to trust in God’s ability to help him finish the work regardless of what they were saying to him. There will always be a temptation to fear when you’re walking out a God given task; times when the problems seem so large, but we must refocus and remember what the LORD has spoken.
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan