Men of the Bible Series - Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1-2) – PART 1
Though Nehemiah held a prestigious position in the Babylonian court, his desire was to be in Jerusalem. Hanani had reported that Jerusalem’s walls were broken and the gates destroyed, and Nehemiah knew that meant invaders could easily destroy what was left in Jerusalem. As long as his people in Jerusalem lived in danger, his heart would remain broken. As a result, Nehemiah immediately mourned, wept, and prayed. The Lord answered Nehemiah’s prayer. Keep in mind that the Lord may not answer our prayers immediately, but He always answers them in time. He was granted permission to go to his homeland, with provisions to carry along the journey for the building project, and security to give them safe passage.
Nehemiah and his people had one purpose in rebuilding the wall—their city would no longer be a reproach, or disgrace, to their God. The Israelites wanted to rebuild the walls to bring glory to the name of God. In the same way, if we are to be motivated to make a difference in our churches, it must be to bring glory to the name of God. There are times when our heart will be broken for someone, a group of people or a cause which will lead us to intercessory prayer. It is during this time of prayer when our hearts are tender that God will place a desire in our heart to do something in the form of ministry that will help meet the great need that we are burdened about. God will mold the tender heart and guide us so that we may glorify God in the service that he leads us to. The time of sadness may be great, but the surrender it leads to will bring eternal fruit for the glory of God.
More than thirty times in the book of Nehemiah you will find the word repair. They were repairing something that had been built at one time. They were taking the rubbish (the scraps) and rebuilding them. Just as God takes those pieces of our life that we have broken or messed up and He repairs them and puts them back together again. Each of us has a mission in the Great Commission; that is building lives within the body of Christ for the glory of God. We see this every day, lives totally ruined by sin. In the ministry, we are taking old broken lives, homes, and hearts and letting God put them together. We are rebuilding lives as Nehemiah rebuilt the wall. There will be areas of your wall that have to be maintained. There will be parts of your life that are much stronger than other parts, while some areas are hurting and injured and in need of repairing. Since constructing a wall is a continual maintenance it is something you must continually work on. If you neglect the maintenance, it will break and once the wall is broken your protection is gone. God desires to see strong spiritual walls in our lives. Three examples of these are strength, stability, and separation. Strength: How can I fight the good fight of faith against Satan and his attacks? Stability: What are some areas in my life that I can grow and become more stable in my walk with the Lord? Separation: How can we become more separated from worldliness and set apart for God’s service? May we continue to work faithfully even when unbelievers argue. Keep in mind, we are working for God, not the enemy.
Nehemiah challenges us that we may be productive in our service for God. Nehemiah expresses many practical lessons that will help us be more effective servants in a local church ministry. It is important that all Christians grow to maturity and become the Christian that God wants them to be. Nehemiah was a great leader and motivator of God’s people. He overcame opposition to get the job done. He knew it was going to take time and effort, so he counted the cost (Luke 14:26-33). What seemed to be an impossibility (Nehemiah 1:3; 2:13-14, 17; 4:2) turned into a great miracle (Nehemiah 6:15). The Lord had put in Nehemiah’s heart a desire to rebuild the wall at Jerusalem. Nehemiah had a great burden for the work that needed to be done. He had many blessings to help get him to this point, but there was still much work to do it. There is much work that goes into any ministry for God. In starting a new ministry or a church there must be much planning, prayer, and preparation, but if one does not put in the persistent hard work then all that was done before hand will not amount to anything. Ask the LORD to give you a servant’s heart and seek to serve Him in every assignment. We never know what impact might result from our labor of love.
Point to Ponder:
Lord give me a broken heart for broken lives.
God desires to see strong spiritual walls.
Our first step in spiritual wall-building must be a burden for others.
Question to Consider:
If God were to begin a revival with you, where would He need to start?
How do you respond when you become aware of broken spiritual walls?
When you see a job to be done at your church, what is your response?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, use me and help me to serve You with a with willing and tender heart; help me to pursue a deeper walk with You. I want to be a good and faithful servant when I stand before Your throne. Thank You, Lord, that in Your grace You have sustained me. Help me not to strive in the flesh instead of resting in You and letting Your Holy Spirit live and work through me. I pray for strength as I labor that I would not get weary. Help me to love people the way You do. In Jesus name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.