Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
As usual – Nehemiah responded with prayer.
• Nehemiah’s prayer. (v. 4)
o Turn the plans of the enemy to destruction on their own heads.
o Give them as plunder to a land of captivity – plunder means “wasted destruction.” It was common for the enemy to “plunder” a village. They would come into the village and destroy it for the shear joy of destruction.
o Show everyone their true colors – asked God to keep a record of their sin.
These initial attacks did not stop the people. (v.6) They continued to work. The was was built to half it’s height. They were making progressing. How?
The people had a mind to work. (v.6)
• They were resolute in their actions.
• They believed their leader and followed his leadership.
• They trusted God.
• They did not allow Sanballet and Tobiah to distract them from the task at hand. They were not distracted from re-building….the vision.
When Sanballet and Tobiah heard of their continued success they became “very angry.” (v.7) They did not like hearing that the walls were restored. Most of all they did not like it that “gaps were closing.”
They were beginning to see that their intimidation was not working so their plotting to destroy the work of the Lord increased.
• Their plan
o Attack Jerusalem
o Create confusion
o Destroy the progress
Nehemiah had a plan of his own.
• Nehemiah’s Plan (v. 9)
o Continue in prayer
o Set a watch against the attacks
Even with these plans in place – the people were growing discouraged and weary. They were tired.
• Strength was failing
• Overwhelmed by the amount of destruction and rubbish.
• They were so discouraged that they told Nehemiah that they could not continue.
Because the enemy was so convincing the people began to talk and tell what they were hearing. Again, fear and intimidation was the plan of the day for the Sanballett.
• Surprise attack was imminent. (v. 11)
• Kill everyone so the work would stop.
• Intimidation was intense.
o “No matter where you turn – we will be there.”
o You can’t escape
o They repeated this over and over and kept it before the people so they would not forget, but stay in fear.
God gave Nehemiah a plan:
• Position guards
• Keep families together
• Gather weapons
• Nehemiah was their leader so HE ENCOURAGED THEM!
o Nehemiah’s encouragement
Do not be afraid.
Remember the Lord – Great and awesome.
Get priorities in line.
• Fight for you lives.
• Fight for the brethren.
• Fight for the family.
• Fight for your property.
The Results (v. 15)
• God brought the plan of the enemy to nothing so the people resumed the work on the walls
• Half of the people built the walls and half of them stood as guards.
• The people worked to complete the construction but they were wise. In one hand they held their tools for construction; the other hand held a weapon for defense!
Nehemiah placed a trumpet player near him. The sound of the trumpet was the signal for assembly. There is strength in numbers. Nehemiah saw the danger of the people being spread apart so he said to them, “when you hear the trumpet….rally! Rally means to assemble.
• God will fight for us! (v. 20)
The key to Nehemiah’s success was his faith in God and his determination and unwillingness to waver from the call of God on his life to rebuild the walls!!
Lessons Learned –
• When God gives vision and call to a person, Satan will have his Sanballet’s and Tobiah’s ready to:
o Cause confusion
• God is faithful
o He gave Nehemiah a plan
o He brought the plans of the enemy to nothing
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Following all of this - the king gives Nehemiah all that he needs to go to Jerusalem. The king evens sends horseman, guards, and captains in the king's army. He sent letters of blessing to all of the governors who were in the territories where Nehemiah was passing. Note: Nehemiah gives GOD all of the glory for HIS supply. (v. 8)
Sanballet and Tobias were the two thorns in the flesh for Nehemiah. They were residents of Jerusalem. They were very disturbed that someone was coming to help God's people. Verses 11-12 reveal that this was not just some "adventure" for Nehemiah but a true calling from the Lord. (verse 11 -- God put it in Nehemiah's heart.)
As Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem and began to make inspections. He found total devastation. Some places were not even passable. There was much work to do and one who reads this can almost hear the gears begin to turn in Nehemiah's head.
Now Nehemiah begins to cast the vision in verse 17. He tells the people that they should arise and build so as to no longer be a REPROACH. He then assures the people that the hand of God is on him. He also has the support of the king. (v. 18) Then the people caught the vision and said, "let us rise up and build!" The followed through by beginning this work of God - the vision to rebuild the CITY OF GOD! ZION! Jerusalem!!
When the rose up to work - so did Sanballet and Tobias and their friend, Gesham. They hated the people, laughed at them and even falsely accused them of rebellion against the king. Nehemiah's response was to call on God! (v. 20)
- God will prosper us!
- We will arise and build!
Nehemiah then reminds Sanballet, Tobias, and Gesham that they have not place in the city, no heritage there in Jerusalem. It's almost as if Nehemiah is saying, "you are aliens who are here illegally. We are God's people doing what God has called us to do. He has empowered us and supplied our every need. You just watch - His hand is on this project -- we will be successful because God want us to be successful.
- God caused the king to approach Nehemiah. Nehemiah did not even have to mention the calling of God on his life - THE KING MADE IT POSSIBLE! (v. 2 and v. 4)
- Nehemiah prayed before he answered the king. (v. 4)
- Nehemiah had a God given plan to accomplish what God had called him to do. The plan even included a time line for how long it would take to accomplish the vision.
- When the king granted his requests - Nehemiah gave God the glory. (v.8)
- Nehemiah logically presented the vision/project to the people. (v. 17) NOTE: For further study -- v. 17, "no longer a reproach."
- The people caught the vision. (v. 18)
- Negative forces began to make their presence known! Whenever and wherever God is doing something great - there will always be those who are trying to tear it down.
- Nehemiah reminds Sanballet, Tobias and Gesham that they have no heritage. Heritage calls to mind the importance of a blood line! They have no place there because of who they are! They have not rights there.
- God will prosper the work of their hands (Nehemiah and the people) because of who they are and because of "whose" they are!!!
Nehemiah now prays a key prayer. He asks God to grant the King compassion before Nehemiah. Nehemiah was the curpbearer to the king. Now he was about to ask for some time off -- too be relieved of his duties so he could go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city.
- Return to ME! (v. 9) -- it is always a good thing to confess our sins before the Lord. He has already forgiven them but it is for our benefit that we confess because the acts of sin have led us "away" from the blessing of God. God told Nehemiah - if we RETURN to God - we will walk in His blessings!
- Nehemiah's "mercy prayer." (v. 11) -- This verse has proven to be so helpful in my ministry as a pastor. Nehemiah approached the king with caution because any talk of leaving the service of the king could signal disloyalty and could be punished by death. Nehemiah could be sentenced to death just for asking time away to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. However, Nehemiah prayed that the king would be compassionat toward him. Chapter 2 is the account of what hapened afte Nehemiah prayed this prayer. It is amazing to see how God worked in this!!
The scripture 2:18 reminds us that “set their hands to the work.” In other words their focus was to complete the work that God had called them to do. The huge task of rebuilding the wall was comprised of many smaller projects. The smaller projects were part of the larger project and calling of God – the rebuilding and refortifying of the city of Jerusalem.
• Our projects must always point to the larger focus and vision of God. Notice that they were all focused on different projects, but for the purpose completing what God had called them to do.
• None of the projects recorded by Nehemiah were a distraction from the vision given to Nehemiah – they all worked together. They all pointed to the greater vision/project--REBUILD THE WALLS!
• Everyone bought into the vision – the priests, the common laborer, the common citizen and women. Everyone had a place in the work.