We now see the time when Nehemiah has to speak about what is troubling him to the King. His words would have to be chosen carefully and his life would be on the line if he answered incorrectly or if the King thought that he was going to try have him assassinated.
To be heartbroken about a situation is not good enough because God has put that on your heart for a reason. If you are heartbroken over a situation then do nothing about it then you will not be fulfilling what God has put on your heart to do.
When we look at Nehemiah we see a person who was successful in the end but sometimes we do not see all that God brought him through to be a success. Many in our society want the success without the work or the pain that it takes to be a success. As you read the story in Nehemiah 2 you have to know that success does not come easily and it certainly does not come all at once. We can learn from Nehemiah 2 was it means to be ready to do the things God has put on our heart to do. My prayer for you is that you are not only heartbroken about something but that you will prepare yourself to be used by God when the time comes to do something about it.
“The Future belongs to the prepared.” Dr. Jay Strack
Read Nehemiah 2:1-8
1) Be Ready for the Questions
Being ready to answer questions on how to fix any situation you are heartbroken about can only come through prayer and planning. No professional team waits to plan the day before the game, they are always prepared ahead of time and they try and prepare for the unknown. To be used by God He does want us to start praying through what we should do to move forward but we can also use our time to start planning on how we will accomplish His will.
“I would rather be waiting on God than God waiting on me” Dr. Jay Strack.
It is one thing for us to tell God we are willing to be used but are we willing to be ready to be used? Four months have passed after God had broken Nehemiah’s heart for the city but that does not mean that those four months were wasted. God uses the times that we think we are just standing still to prepare us for something greater than we could ever realize. Moses spending forty years in the desert was not a waste, neither was Joseph being in prison because God was preparing them to lead.
In a society that is impatient and think inactivity is a waste this is a hard concept to accept but preparing is just as important as moving forward. When we are in tune with what God wants us to do there is no wasted time. Waiting for God’s directions is crucial because God is working behind the scenes in ways we have no clue about.
Exodus 14:13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.
Moses did what he was supposed to do and now it was God who was going to show the world who was truly God. The parting of the red sea did not happen because Moses was a driven, type A personality with goals and high ambitions, it happened because God wanted to demonstrate to the world that He was the true God.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Who do you want to be exalted, you or God?
At the right time Nehemiah could not hold back his broken heart in front of the king and so the king wanted to know what was going on. Do not forget that no one should be sad in front of the King and if the King saw any irregular emotions he could perceive it as there was a plot to take his life. When the King asked “Why is your face Sad” Nehemiah knew his life was on the line and how he answered was a key to him not only staying alive but also to move forward with what God had laid on his heart.
“What are you requesting?”
If Nehemiah did not pray and plan he would not have been ready to answer the Kings question. “The Doors of opportunity hang on the hinges of hard work” Many people complain about not getting opportunities but they do not get themselves ready to help swing the door open through the hard work of preparation.
1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
Christians need to prepare themselves with not waiting to study the more difficult parts of scripture but should seek to know answers to tough questions so if someone ever asked them to give an answer about a particular topic. Yes, it is difficult to know all things but at the same time if you study things that God puts on your heart He will bring people into your life that you can help.
The other thing that Nehemiah did was he served faithfully where he was while he waited on God. Many times it is easy to loose focus on the task in front of you while you are preparing for the future. Nehemiah’s testimony to the king was lived out every day by serving faithfully where he was. Part of you preparation is doing what you already know you are to be doing until God moves you to your next assignment.
Nehemiah offers up a quick prayer and then rattles off a plan to the king. Quick prayers are alright if they are backed up with four months of praying and planning for the future. Nehemiah has a list of what is needed and he not only shares the list but he shares the burden on his heart and then the specifics of what is needed. Nehemiah knew the keeper of the forest by name which shows how well planned out he had thought about everything.
Many people have dreams but no plans. Researching, planning and waiting on God are not contradictory they go hand and hand. If you are waiting on God then ask yourself how you are planning and preparing for Gods next move? Ask yourself if you are being faithful where you are at now with the assignment God has already given you. Whatever burden God has put on your heart, what are you doing to begin getting ready for God to use you?
Read Nehemiah 2:9-16
2) Be ready to face reality
To make changes you have to look at things the way they are. Nehemiah began and ended his trip in the same place making sure he thoroughly investigated everything that needed to be done.
Pessimist do not see the potential and dreamers do not see the reality. We have to be optimistic realist. Nehemiah went through the entire city really examining what needed to be done and how it could be done. The destruction was so bad in one spot that he could not get his horse through the rubble. Even though Nehemiah saw the destruction he also saw the potential and with God’s help he could build the wall back. Significant problems do not tend to solve themselves but God uses normal people to fix them.
Nehemiah took time to evaluate the situation even further although he already had a plan. Now that he could see the damage first hand Nehemiah was reevaluating his plan and the course of action that needed to be taken in order to rebuild the wall.
Sometimes we do not want to face the reality of the situation and so we ignore the hard truth of the situation. If you do not look realistically at the situation then you will become disheartened in the middle of trying to accomplish whatever God has set in your heart to do. Every Christian organization was started with a purpose of meeting the needs of a problem that was too large for one person to handle on their own. It is not the size of the problem that matters but how big your God is and the amount of praying, planning and work you are willing to do to be part of the solution.
Read Nehemiah 2:17-18
3) Be ready to ask others to join you
“You see the trouble WE are in “
People have to be shaken out of their comfort zones and forced to see things the way they really are. The people lived there but they no longer saw the walls as something to fix but just something they should live with. We have all heard people say, “This is just the way it is” or “ We have tried that before” Ezra chapter four is filled with the story of the first attempt at wall reconstruction so you can imagine people had already thought it had been tried and was to no avail.
Strengthened their hands for the work
No leader can do the job by themselves and they always need others who are going to come along side of them, get their hands dirty, and to sacrifice to achieve the impossible. God established the church to be dependent on each other for the accomplishing of His will. There is no such thing as a spectator Christian who does not have to get their hands dirty. Whatever you are setting out to accomplish you must realize that you have to have others buy into the vision that God has laid on your heart.
Read Nehemiah 2: 19-20
4) Be ready for opposition
Nehemiah already attained letters from the King showing that this was approved by the him but that was not enough to stop those in the region from coming against Nehemiah. Because Nehemiah planned ahead of time he was glad to have the assistance of a military that the King graciously sent with him for protection. If you study the book Ezra you will discover that the work that began earlier was stopped by opposition.
Whatever you set out to do to make a change will always be met with opposition. Either because people are losing control or because they do not want you to help a certain group of people.
“Nehemiah would soon discover that his biggest problem was not the enemy on the outside but the compromisers on the inside, a problem the church still faces today.” (Be Determined, Warren W. Wiersbe, pg 37)
These local officials did not want change and they wanted control. We will talk more about the opposition Nehemiah faced and how he dealt with it in the coming weeks but you have to know that whenever you try and do the things God puts on your heart, there will be opposition.
Dr. Bob Barnes said that most of our games for children are about destroying things and not building things up.
We live in a society of people that always have something negative to say because we live in a generation of destroyers and not builders. Anyone can be a destroyer of the work but it takes skill to be a builder. Anyone can make negative comments but it takes the wise to see the potential and be helpful.
Re Read vs 20
Nehemiah responds by saying, “God will make us prosper”
John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Nehemiah knows that success always comes from God. We are His servants and we are to do the things that God is calling us to do and not worry about whether anyone, including ourselves, thinks it to be a success.
Nehemiah goes on to say, “You will not have any claim to what is done.” Many people miss out on great opportunities because their negativity will not let them see that the project is worthy of their time and effort. When the work is done those who opposed them will take no joy in it because they were the ones who criticized it from the start.Before you criticize someone’s work you may want to see if you will be the one on the outside looking in after the work is accomplished. Nehemiah addresses them immediately by letting them know that God is behind this work and that they serve a higher purpose than they will ever understand.
“Nehemiah performed no signs or wonders, nor did he deliver any prophecies, but he faithfully did his work and prepared a city for the coming Messiah.” (Be Determined, Warren W. Wiersbe, pg 36)
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
How are you joining in the work that God has set out before you to do? Are you READY to be used by God?