“I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to
me. They replied, ‘Let us start rebuilding.’ So they began this good work.” Nehemiah 2:18
Yesterday we took a look at the story of Nehemiah and his mission to rebuild the walls in
Jerusalem, and rebuild the character of the Israelites. We saw how he started with prayer,
spent time observing the situation, gathered support and resources for his mission and secured the commitment from the people. We saw how those practical steps are critical to the different rebuilding missions we may be on as men. Today we will look at the next phases of what will most certainly happen in any rebuilding mission, especially one that will benefit the Kingdom…
Rebuilding will have opposition and difficulties. The Israelites faced threats and danger from neighboring enemies, so they literally had to build with one hand and carry a weapon in another hand. One hand on mission, one hand keeping the enemy at bay. In many rebuilding situations, someone stands to gain if you do not re-build, and that someone may actively and cunningly sabotage your efforts. Expect it and respond like Nehemiah, …”But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” (Neh 4:9). The anecdote of opposition and difficulty is unity which brings us to our next principle of re-building.
Rebuilding requires unity. Nehemiah had to root out the internal discord. Many of the exiles
were paying excessive interest on money that was lent by their rich fellow Jewish countrymen. So much so they had to sell their daughters into slavery to re-pay the interest. Nehemiah respectfully confronted the rich Jewish countrymen, laying out how their actions were creating division and preventing the rebuilding mission: “What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies” (Neh 5:9). Nehemiah knew that even if the external walls were strong, this internal conflict would prevent his mission of restoring the people. When confronting division, take Nehemiah’s lead and remember APEP Attack Process, Engage People. If you get this inverted, division will compound like interest. This can take time though…..which brings us to the last piece.
Rebuilding is a process that evolves, not a single “one and done” action. It requires shoring up the external circumstances in order to rebuild the internal character. Nehemiah built the physical wall around Jerusalem in 52 days that provided the safety and protection the Israelites needed for the much harder next step…the internal rebuild of their character and devotion to God and his laws on how to live their lives. Even after the great success of building the wall, and twelve years of restoring and reforming the people who dedicated themselves to the Lord, what happens? Nehemiah goes back to Babylon for one year and returns to Jerusalem to find they have slid back into old ways, corrupted by poor leadership. He again repents, restores, reforms, rebuilds. We will suffer failure at times and our character will let us down, but that doesn’t mean the mission is over.
Daily Battle Order:
Wherever you are in life, whether you are rebuilding a fence, a career, an intimate relationship with others or God, I encourage you to read through Nehemiah and let his story guide your mission, and take these specific actions:
- Identify opposition and threats to your re-building mission, and the weapons you need
to defeat those threats
- Attack Process and Engage People, who do you need to engage today that will bring
unity to your rebuilding mission?
- What are the small steps of your rebuilding mission you are taking today that will
produce the large character development over time?