As I am sitting down to prep October Sister’s Blog post, I am in the middle of a pretty intense study of the book of Nehemiah. So while I looked over my list of potential topics, I felt my heart drawn to talk about my absolute favorite book of the bible! (After all, God didn’t put it on my heart to study this amazing book more in depth without sharing some of what I’ve learned – did he??)
Looking back at my posts for this blog, I’ve written a lot about being who you are. I’ve talked about how You Are Enough, just as you are! God’s Timing, Following God’s plan for your life, and the importance of having your own faith community and thinking about it, I see many themes of Nehemiah’s story in these previous posts. (So see? God was just preparing you for this awesome message, like he was preparing me! HA HA!)
Nehemiah’s story is close to my heart, it’s about rebuilding the walls of the city of Jerusalem – Here is where I have to be honest with you all! If I didn’t have to write the synopsis for the rest of this post to make sense? I’d tell you to go read the book of Nehemiah! I feel like I’m cheating you out of something by giving you the birds eye view! See, Nehemiah was working for the King of Persia as his cup bearer. (A pretty terrifying job if you ask me – sorry, but I don’t want to eat and drink EVERYTHING before the King, just to make sure it’s not poisoned! The end of the job comes because you saved the King from death – Secret Service of 450 B.C. ??)
Anyway – Nehemiah is working for King Artaxerxes when he is overwhelmed by the realization of all that has happened in Jerusalem. (Long story short? 90+ years before, the city was destroyed and God’s people were scattered.) So he asks the king to send him to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls. Then while he’s there, he realized he needs to also rebuild God’s people. Community Service at it’s finest!! (I think we could use a modern day Nehemiah here in Pueblo, don’t you??)
Here’s what great about Nehemiah. He’s no one special. Seriously, the book starts out by saying “The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:” (v1) Prior to reading Nehemiah, had you ever heard of Nehemiah or his father, Hakaliah? Nope. Me either. They aren’t of prestigious lineage. They don’t fall into the royal families of the Bible. They are just your average people; although Nehemiah did luck into a pretty prestigious job. (But I look at this as an example of God’s timing – he placed Nehemiah in a position that he could eventually fulfill what God would call him to do!)
Now that I’ve given you the fly-over of this amazing 13 chapter book of the old testament, what’s my point?
Have you been on Facebook today? Looked at the newspaper? (I have to admit – I haven’t. I’m avoiding that today. I don’t need any bad news. And that’s really all it is. Bad news.)
I find it so easy to put myself in Nehemiah’s shoes. He’s an average guy, nothing really special about him. But then God puts this huge burden on his heart for this city. I have a good friend who is always telling me she wants to help our city. She wants to make a difference, to change Pueblo. And everytime she brings that up, I think of Nehemiah.
So, now that we have that comparison? That realization that our city needs intervention from God? That we need to rebuild our walls and our people. What do we do? What’s next?
Well, we can start how Nehemiah started. We can pray. (There are thirteen chapters in Nehemiah and twelve specific prayers. The implication that he prayed more is too many times to count. I really feel like Nehemiah was a man of constant prayer.
But beyond prayer? Nehemiah planned! In chapter 1 we hear of him in mourning for the city of Jerusalem, that he fasts and prays continually. I imagine during this time, God revealed to him his plan to rebuild the walls of the beloved city. And as he began to look at this idea, he planned and planned. An undertaking of this size doesn’t just fall in his lap.
Then he acts. He approaches the King (his boss) and not only asks for permission to take time off of work for this project, but he also (very artfully) gets the king to pay for this venture too! (And provide protection! It’s pretty amazing how it all goes together! Don’t believe me? Get reading!!)
While building the wall, and restoring God’s people to faith? Nehemiah is one-tracked. He knows his end goal, and he continues to work hard and pray hard for his desired outcome. (This is important – it takes a lot of hard work to accomplish a complete turn around of a city!) He recruits locals, he recruits friends and family, he recruits everyone he can. He builds quite the army of average people, and he gives them each specific tasks. (Which he couldn’t have done without a plan!)
Then? As the work is being done? He continues to pray. But most importantly? He gives God the glory. He encourages those working with him ( “After I look things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” 4:14, “Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” 4:20)
So what’s my point? (Good question – because again? This isn’t what I sat down to write! LOL! Someday, all these great ideas I have and intend to write will actually come out. But until then? I’ll let God decide what to do!)
My point is that we can make a difference in our city. YOU can change the world, one brick at a time. One totally average, totally unassuming person can make a huge difference. (And sure, I’d love to rebuild Pueblo! But this can be a more personal level as well, it can be as big or as little as you need!) We need to pray about it. We need to fast over it. We need to follow God’s instructions, and allow him to make our plans. And most importantly, as we work and once the work is complete? We need to give him the Glory.
— Jacque; Joshua 1:9