What Christians are supposed to do when they face a problem and what some might do are two separate issues. How Christians handle themselves can either have a positive or a negative effect on others.
Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king of Persia, Artaxerxes. He was a man of God and was a trusted advisor to the king. Many decades prior, Zerubbabel was able to get the Jerusalem Temple rebuilt. Some years later, Ezra had returned to Jerusalem to help with the spiritual needs of the people. Now it was time for Nehemiah to help. The walls of Jerusalem were still in disrepair. In chapter 1, Nehemiah had heard about the condition of Jerusalem and prays for the Jewish people.
In verses 1-4:
So now Nehemiah prepares to stand in the Presence of the earthly king. He tells how he had never shown his emotions before. As a courtier, it was not allowed to show one’s inner personal feelings in front of the king. No one wearing clothes of mourning could enter the royal palace (Esther 4:2). What a joy and relief to know that at any time we can go before God’s throne of grace with our Petitions?
The king realizes that something is wrong with Nehemiah. He comments that he could see that Nehemiah was not sick. Nehemiah was somewhat scared because he knew it was dangerous showing his sadness in front of the king. However, he knew that God had called him to do something.
We do not need to let our fears control us. By doing so we make our fears come in front of God. We need to recognize that God is stronger than our fears and when He has called us to do something, He will help us in doing that task.
Nehemiah tells the king why he has been so sad. The king tells Nehemiah to make his request known to him. The first thing Nehemiah does is Pray to God, silently of course, in front of the king. There are other times within the book of Nehemiah where he prays to God spontaneously (Nehemiah 4:4-5, 9; 5:19; 6:14; 13:14, 22, 29). He knew that God is always available, and that God is always in control. he knew he could talk to God at anytime because he had established a close relationship with God.
We Christians should have that same type of relationship with God in our lives today as Nehemiah did then.
In verses 5-8:
Now Nehemiah gets to the Point. He requests Permission from the king. He asks to leave his current Position and asks for Provisions to go to Jerusalem. After Nehemiah got a Positive answer from the king, he asks for extra help.
There are and will be times when we will have a task. That task may be a bit more than we think we can handle. We need not be afraid in requesting help from God. He will Provide it in one form or fashion. He always has, He always will.
In verses 9-11:
The king gives Nehemiah some letters to Present to governors and he gives him soldiers as a military escort for Protection. We may not need a military or police escort, but it is good to know that God can supply that as well for us. Upon arriving, Sanballat and Tobiah seem a bit apprehensive on hearing about Nehemiah’s arrival.
For many years prior, there had always been some type of opposition to rebuilding Jerusalem, and that is what the devil does to those who are out doing God’s work. Satan tries to hinder God’s chosen people in every way from completing the tasks that are set before them. Sometimes the devil may even try to use our own family and friends to keep us or hinder us from doing what God has called us to do. We must remember that God always Provides a way.
It is unclear as to why Sanballat and Tobiah were against the rebuilding. Maybe it was due to bad relations with the Samaritans from years prior during the time of Zerubbabel (Ezra 1:2). It could be that because Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer and advisor, and that rebuilding Jerusalem could threaten the Samaritan official’s authority there. Or it could be that Sanballat, and Tobiah did not want more Jewish people moving into the land and potentially taking over. But whatever the reason, we know that it did not affect Nehemiah’s Persistence.
In verses 12-16:
Nehemiah sees the Problem as he inspects the wall secretly at night. He realizes the state that the walls are in and how the gates had been burned. He did not tell anyone when he was going to do his own inspection. Apparently, he did not trust any report that might have been given so he wanted to see it for himself. There are times when making a firsthand assessment is more valuable than obtaining a report. It allows us to visually consider the situation so that we can make an unbiased determination into what needs to be done.
In verses 17-20:
Nehemiah now calls the people together. He gives his Plans on how the rebuilding should be done. He encourages the people by telling them how the hand of God is with them and to what the king had said. Others were Patronizing toward Nehemiah. Sanballat and Tobiah laughed and ridiculed them. But what was Nehemiah’s reply? God will Prosper His people, but sinners will have no Portion in it.
When God gives us a task or vision to do something that will bring glory to Him, do not be afraid of letting others know about it. We should trust the Holy Spirit to plant the seed in others. Often, God uses one person to inspire others to work in reaching God’s goals for the church body that will glorify Him, not ourselves. We should expect some to oppose us but be Prepared rather than being surprised.
Where are we in our walk with God? Has He shown us something that my need to be repaired? It might not be something physical, as a wall or a building, but rather something spiritual within the local body of believers that we are serving in. when Christians hinder other believers from working or doing what God has called that person to do, it can damage that person’s spiritual growth or others when they see it happening. We are to uplift one another and Pray for one another.
We all have one or more or more spiritual gifts or talents. If we are the cause or hinderance of someone utilizing his or her spiritual gifts, it can also bring reproach upon ourselves while also causing discouragement and discontentment to others. Our actions in this regard show a lack of spiritual maturity in the one doing the hindering.
How do we apply this to what Christian's face today? Spiritual renewal can begin with one-person obeying God’s call. God can use one person to encourage others to bring something to fruition. That is what is called teamwork put into action to accomplish a Plan that God has in store for a body of believers.
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God called me into the ministry over 20 years ago and I have had the blessed opportunity to preach for a church radio broadcast, served as a Sunday School teacher, served as a youth director along with my wife, as a music director, as an Associate Pastor, and as an Interim Pastor.
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