As of this writing, I am in my 5th week of leading our church through the book of Nehemiah. I have preached through more than 25 books of the Bible, but I do not know of one that I have enjoyed, or has challenged me more than Nehemiah. There are many attributes that I admire about Nehemiah, far too many than this blog will allow. However, one thing is for certain, Nehemiah's are needed to rebuild the walls of the church today.
When word came to Nehemiah about the state of disrepair in Jerusalem, he was immediately consumed with a burden. This was not just a burden that involved asking, but one that involved acting. Unlike many today who see a problem and say, "Let someone else do it;" Nehemiah saw something that required action on his part.
Nehemiah was not born in Jerusalem, but in the land of captivity. He was born in exile. Thus, the only things he knew about Jerusalem is what he heard his family, friends, and loved ones describe as they "hanged their harps on the willow tree" during 70 years of Babylonian captivity. Yet, although Jerusalem was not his place of birth, it was his place of belonging.
When word came to Nehemiah about the broken down walls, the Temple had been complete for almost 20 years. Three remnants of Jews had already been given permission to go back to Jerusalem, led by Zerrubabel, Haggai, and Ezra. While the Temple was complete, the walls and gates of the city laid in ruins; thus, leaving Jerusalem an open target for attack.
Nehemiah watches God work in the heart of a pagan king named Artaxerxes to not only give Nehemiah permission to go, but paves the way with letters, as well as a royal escort. As soon as the people began to do the work of God, the enemy 'kicked it up a notch' and launched a relentless campaign against the workers on the wall. Time after time, Nehemiah, and his workers, had to overcome opposition, oppression, and obstacles to do the work God had sent them home to do. Resolute in their devotion, the workers completed a seeminly insurmoutable task in just 52 days.
One of the truths that God had allowed to sink deep within my heart is the fact that God's will did not allow the wall to be completed without opposition. God could have allowed Nehemiah, and the Jews, to rebuild the wall with no difficulty whatsoever; however, God chose to allow the fight to enhance their focus upon Him.
Needless to say, there are many timeless truths that can be applied practically to today's pastor, preacher, and leader. One of the main truths is that the man of God encounters more trouble and turmoil, struggle and strife than ever before. As we seek to do the work God has called to do, the enemy is constantly on the prowl seeking every advantage to dismantle, distract and discourage us. Simply put, the pastor has embraced a calling that is much more difficult to fulfill than it was several years ago.
However, like Nehemiah, this opposition is more proof positive that God has something big in mind. Spurgeon said, "Whenever God wants to do something big, He does the miraculous. However, whenever God wants to do something great, He does the impossible." We must not get distracted by the fight but we must become devoted to the Finisher of our Faith.
Like Nehemiah, the "good hand of our God" is with us and "He will fight for us." Thus, regardless of whatever difficulty you may face, just stay on your wall with the Sword of the Word of God in one hand, and the trough of will of God in the other hand. And remember that whatever God has brought you to, He will also bring you through.
Your Fellow Worker on the Wall,