God expects us to be attentive, retentive and responsive when we read or hear His word. With the prevailing conflict, corruption, evil and the lost glory in our nation today, there seems to be no hope of solution in sight. This was once the experience of the children of Israel and Judea. There was no hope of redemption for them until Nehemiah rose up to the challenge. In order to fulfil this mission, he had to pay the price by giving up his prestigious job. Our ministry, work, position in God’s kingdom as agents of change and reformers is not cheap. There is a price to pay. Believers who are ready to lay all on the altar are the people that can become agents of change. There is no position without a price. Does your ministry cost you time, further education, extra-mural studies, promotion; progress in your profession, movement or change? Bible characters like Moses, Nehemiah, Peter, Matthew etc., were willing to follow the Lord and do whatever He wanted them to do. We need to be consecrated and devoted believers, like Nehemiah, to bring back the lost glory in our nation. To experience the power of God and do exploits for Him, we must be detached from earthly things and surrender our lives completely to Him. Whatever labour of love we do for God will be rewarded now and in eternity, if we remain faithful to Him.
1. ANSWERED PRAYER CONCERNING HIS GREAT COMMISSION
Nehemiah 2:1-4; Proverbs 21:1; Nehemiah 2:5,6; 6:15; 5:14; 2:7,8; Proverbs 15:13; 13:23; 15:28; 16:1-3; Philippians 4:6; Isaiah 65:24.
Nehemiah’s fasting and prayer granted him uncommon favour before the king and other people. His commission was to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild its broken walls and restore its lost glory. And he responded very promptly. Our great commission today is to preach the gospel to every creature. To accomplish the task, we must allow the fear of God in our hearts to be greater than the fear we have for men. We must be willing, like Nehemiah, to build the wall of security, salvation, holiness and spirituality around God’s people. The task of preaching the gospel must not be done on short-term basis. We must give it enough time while depending on God. Nehemiah was faithful in accomplishing the task of rebuilding the wall. Hence, the Lord gave him a bigger responsibility: he was appointed to be their governor. Believers who have vision, passion and conviction are always worried about the state of sinners around them. Their dreams will affect their lives, soul, spirit and comportment. While carrying out the great commission, we must refuse the tendency to be over-confident.
Unlike Nehemiah, many believers today think in fear; they cross the bridge before they get to the bridge. They are afraid of opposition in doing God’s work. When we concentrate on the threats of the enemies, we cannot get the task of the great commission done. We should rather look on to Jesus the Author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross and despised the shame. Nehemiah focused his attention on the work he set out to do, not on his detractors. As a result, he had no need to worry. When we pray according to God’s will, He will answer and make us prosper in the work He has committed in our hands.
2. ADEQUATE PREPARATION BEFORE A GUIDED COMMENCEMENT
Nehemiah 2:9-16; Matthew 10:16; John 15:18-20; 2 Timothy 3:12-14;
1 Corinthians 16:9; 15:58.
There is need for adequate preparation, like Nehemiah did, before we set out to do God’s work. This is because Satan is not pleased when we seek the salvation of sinners in our communities. Therefore, he uses human agents like Tobiah, Sanballat and Geshem to try to stop us. The will of God is not devoid of challenges and oppositions. We must take cognizance of the difficulties and persecutions that the devil stir up against us and use them as stepping stones to achieve God’s will. Many people shy away from God’s work because of oppositions. But with God on our side, we shall overcome anything that tries to hinder us from doing God’s will. Like Nehemiah, we should always make ourselves available for God’s work when the need arises.
Carelessness on the part of the believer will make him reveal his vision to those who will kill it. For Nehemiah, he kept his mouth shut until the appointed time. He had to study the people to know those who are enemies before he revealed his mission. We must be wise not to reveal our intention to those who will kill it. The world will hate us because we testify against their corrupt practices and evil deeds. They will not appreciate us when we come to them with the message of righteousness, justice, integrity and holiness. Their persecution or hatred for the Word should not make us conform to their will. We must understand that holiness goes hand in hand with persecution and opposition. If we wait for better conditions and opportunities, we may never serve the Lord because adversaries of the gospel shall wax worse and worse. And since our work will be rewarded, we should not be afraid.
3. ACTIVE PARTICIPATION DESPITE GODLESS CONFLICT
Nehemiah 2:17; Proverbs 29:11; Nehemiah 2:18.
Many so-called believers in our contemporary times do not read their Bibles, listen to Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Almighty God. All that influences their character and actions are stories from the media. The wisdom of the world that makes us shy away from preaching the gospel will minimise Calvary, the work of Christ and Redemption. We must be active, passionate and zealous in preaching the gospel to the world of dying men.
The fool is the one that talks when he should keep quiet; he is the one that keeps quiet when he should speak out. A fool speaks so quickly or he never speaks at all. The wise speaks at the right time to the right people for the right reason and for the right purpose. Like Nehemiah, they are wise in recognising those who are friendly foes and know how to relate with them. Each letter in the word ‘FOOL’ stands for F –forgetful, O – overconfident, O – overzealous, L – leader. A fool forgets all he has learnt from the Scripture about Ahab, Jezebel, Achan, Judas Iscariot etc. Nehemiah was a wise man who waited and watched carefully until the right time before he set out on his mission. Each letter in the word ‘WISE’ stands for W – watchful, I – influential, S – spiritual, E – elder. We must be determined, like Nehemiah, to join hands together with faithful believers to build for God with our hearts, skills, talents and wealth. We must rise and build for God’s kingdom; and for the restoration of the lost glory in our society.