Are you living a Nehemiah life? Even when he was mocked and threatened, Nehemiah trusted God and continued to pray. Wendy shows us through the story of Nehemiah that God answers prayer.
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The Ultimate Restoration Project
Have you ever noticed an analogy between something in your life and an object? How about a comparison of one of your life challenges with a Bible story? Recently, while preparing for a children’s class I help with, I discovered both of these. But first, please allow me to share a bit about the Old Testament passage I’m referring to. As I studied chapters 3 through 6 of Nehemiah, I learned how Nehemiah led God’s people during the restoration of Jerusalem’s wall.
Restoration. I like that word. It reminds me of what I’m looking forward to more than anything else. I’m looking forward to the return of the King—Jesus—and the restoration of all of creation and all of God’s people where sin and sickness will no longer exist because Paradise is perfect and death is done.
Heaven will be the restoration project like none before and none after.
Living A Nehemiah Life
In the meantime, I’m feeling like a Nehemiah of sorts as I strive to believe and boast in a God—my God—who according to Nehemiah 2:20 is able to “give us success.” The answered prayers I’m desiring regard the prayers I’ve been praying for those who have turned away from Him to embrace sin. Sin is simply living in rebellion to God. Anyone who isn’t living for Jesus is living for sin.
When we choose to live a Nehemiah life—a life for God—we’re going to get taunted by unbelievers around us (secretly and to our face). If Jesus can be spat on and mocked by Roman guards without retaliating in return, we should do likewise. Like Nehemiah, we should continue building what the Lord would have us build. It may be a church, a healthy marriage, a business, or perhaps a book; whatever we have been called to do, we can trust God to “give us success.”
Nehemiah was not only mocked for trying to restore a wall from a pile of burned up rubble, he was threatened with death. But he continued to lead with integrity. He purposely avoided ungodly attitudes and ungodly behavior. In Nehemiah 5:15 he says:
“But out of reverence for God I did not act like that.”
Instead of taking advantage of those he led, he respected them. He also prayed to God, and then he led the workers wisely to hold weapons and to work with all their hearts. And they did.
Our weapons are spiritual weapons. We wage war against the darkness by reading, believing, and reciting the Word of God to ourselves and to each other. We extinguish arrows of the enemy by engaging in prayer. And when things around us look worse rather than better, despite our barrage of intercessory prayers, we need to remind ourselves and other Christians of the same sort of phrases Nehemiah recited; such as this one in chapter 4:14:
“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
God Answers Prayer
Keep praying. Little prayers, big prayers, short prayers, long prayers—they all add up. Each one we say lifts each concern we have. Our prayers are the lifting of “the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble” mentioned in Nehemiah 4:2. Our prayers build a wall around our loved ones until gates are in place. Until one day we rejoice to see lost lambs scamper through the gate of God to trust the Good Shepherd who guides and guards our souls.
Did you see that? Did you notice? I’ve shared the analogy that was brought to my mind as I prepared for the children’s class. I imagine you can find your own comparison in this passage too.
But either way, God longs to gather those we love. He longs to restore those who are lost. He longs to strengthen us to keep building so that one day those around us will be astonished because God answers prayers. Because He fights for us.
The God Of Heaven Will Give Us Success
In Nehemiah 6:16 his enemies were afraid when they saw the completed restoration of the wall. It says: “…they realized that this work has been done with the help of our God.”
And that’s just it—the more impossible and improbable a restoration appears to be, the more glorifying to God it is when He brings it about. Those builders worked with one hand while holding a sword in the other hand as they set the stones in place; yet they completed the impossible in 52 days.
Hold onto the Sword of the Spirit. Pray on dear friends, pray on. God’s got this. He’s going to complete the restoration of all things.
So the bad news, the sad news, I keep seeing and hearing around me of ruin and rubble are no more difficult for divine intervention to restore than the “heaps of rubble” in Nehemiah 4:2 were.
I, we, need to claim and exclaim, right at the site and sound of life’s piles of trash and dirt the same restoration words of hope Nehemiah did in chapter 2:20:
I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding…”
I’d like to close with a short poem I wrote called:
I’m nothing but a pile of rubble
So how can God use me
When I’m a one-armed mason
Without the water or sand I need?
But Jesus is able to accomplish
Everything He has planned
For He is the Living Water
Who created Adam out of sand.
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Crawford Paul –How Long to Read the Bible
Don Salmans – Our Lord and Our Fear
Gary McBride – He is Building His Church
Greg Reader – Faith Versus Fear in Burkina Faso
Images courtesy of:
Nehemiah- Author Unknown