Pastor's Blog

Life is full of challenges – even when you are in the center of God’s will for your life. Nehemiah’s story is witness to that fact. It was by God’s design that he was in the Persian capital at this point in history. It was God’s plan for Nehemiah to travel to Jerusalem and lead the people in the effort to rebuild the walls and the gates of the city of the LORD. God provided all the materials needed . . . he gave Nehemiah favor with the people . . . and though all they had seen their whole lives was the walls in ruin they rallied under Nehemiah’s leadership and began placing stones one upon another.

But getting the wall built had other challenges. First of all, the non-Jews in the region were totally against it and did everything they could to stop the work. Secondly, there were internal problems in the city of Jerusalem. Rich people were taking advantage of the poor people – much like the oil companies in America today making billions while poor people try to figure out how in the world they can make ends meet. In Jerusalem it was a matter of a lack of food and high prices . . . which led to mortgages on property with adjustable interest rates that went higher and higher until foreclosure . . . (the world hasn’t changed much in some ways!) Nehemiah was a man of integrity and courage. He confronted the leaders of the city . . . he reminded them that they were all brothers – the people of God – and to treat each other this way was a reproach to God’s name. Nehemiah called for righteousness - and he modeled it. He gave from his own resources to help other people in need. Nehemiah reminded the city of Jerusalem that the most important resource in the kingdom of God is people. We are called and commanded to love God and to love people.

In chapter 6 we read of how the enemies of Jerusalem try one more time to stop the completing of the walls and the gates of the city. Sanballat tries to get Nehemiah to meet him for a peace conference in another city. Nehemiah suspects ulterior motives, so responds with - thanks, but no thanks, I have a job to get done. Sanballat threatens Nehemiah with lies and rumors that could destroy his reputation. And finally, he hires a false prophet to lure Nehemiah into doing something that would be totally against the Word of the Lord . . . But Nehemiah does not fall for any of it.

Nehemiah remained focused on the job that God called him to do. There are a lot of things that we can get involved in during our lifetime that in themselves may not be wrong. However, if those things keep us from accomplishing the will of the Lord for our lives, they are simply a tool of the enemy of our lives. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, and focused on his purpose for our lives.

Nehemiah was not intimidated. His enemy tried to derail him by using fear tactics. But Nehemiah refused to be ruled and led by fear. Remember what Paul told Timothy in the New Testament – God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind.

Nehemiah had discernment. When a supposed man of God invited Nehemiah to his home and tells Nehemiah your enemies want to kill you so God wants you to go lock yourself in the temple where you will be safe . . . Nehemiah discerns that this man is not telling him the truth. You see, only priests were allowed in the part of the temple that this man was talking about. Nehemiah was not a priest. He would have been in jeopardy of God striking him dead. And even if he survived, it would have been a discredit to his name for the rest of his life in the eyes of the people he was leading.

Nehemiah shows us what it takes to be successful in our lives. We are to live with a focus on the purpose of God in our lives, and to do it with courage and discernment – knowing that we have an enemy who is ever at work to stop the process of the building of our lives. To accomplish that kind of focus and resolve, Nehemiah was a man of prayer. He lived in the presence of the Lord.

Suggested Readings To Read Through The Bible In A Year

Thursday  August 26, 2010   Nehemiah 5-6 & Psalm 113

Friday      August 27, 2010   Nehemiah 7-8 & Psalm 114

Saturday  August 28, 2010   Nehemiah 9-10 & Psalm 115

Sunday    August 29, 2010   Nehemiah 11-13 & Psalm 116

Monday   August 30, 2010   1 Timothy 1-2 & Psalm 117

Tuesday  August 31, 2010   1 Timothy 3-4 & Psalm 118:1-14



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