Our world craves leadership: a man or woman who could lead in the brokenness and chaos of destruction and disappointment. We need someone to trust, so that we could follow with confidence and work together towards the greater good. The European crisis and the American election threaten to cause panic when terrorists and politics only bring confusion and fear.
One of the most beautiful compliments in the Bible was made to the sons of Issachar.
Of the tribe of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do… [1 Chronicles 12:32]
It my hearts cry for the world. Lord, please give us a Nehemiah who would seek Your face in prayer and would be able to influence the most powerful empire into acting on behalf of Your people. We need that wall, Lord. We have fierce enemies who fight with fear to ruin our cities and values. We live in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit and need a holy, spiritual wall.
Then I heard what the Spirit said to the church. Jesus has called us, His church to be the Nehemiah of this world. We have everything we need to build the wall and make repairs if necessary.
Nehemiah serves the emperor of Persia for many years already. He stayed behind in the palace when the first waves of returning exiles left Persia and returned to Jerusalem. He was in a position of great trust to the King and was often in conversation with him. His sadness over the situation in Jerusalem was noted by the King. The king addressed it, to Nehemiah’s consternation; since one was not supposed to burden the royal pair (he mentions that the queen was also present) with one’s personal worry.
He states his case and receives miraculous favour and support, travels to Jerusalem and meets the local leaders. After his nighttime look-see of the extent of the damage, he inspires the people into an astonishing show of unity and cooperation.
Nehemiah 3 describes this Spirit-inspired unity. It is the church in action with confident and strong leadership. Even in these circumstances, not everybody is on board, but it does not influence the successful outcome. Just listen to this part of the report!
Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord. [Nehemiah 3:5]
The chapter reads like an official, detailed report on a triumphant project. Some groups built big parts of the wall, restored the gates, with hinges and capstones up to 450 meters. Other groups built in front of their own dwelling places. Archeologists found a wall of 2,5 meters thick. It was an awe-inspiring task completed with supernatural unity and inspiration.
It is significant that the small contributions of individuals find their place in this report. Every input counted and contributed to the completion, however small compared to the vast scale of the project. In the same way each Christian’s spiritual commitment is part of the whole to stand against the enemy. One person can make a difference. Esther is the shining example of one orphaned girl who was called for a specific time to save her people.
Who dares despise the day of small things… [Zechariah 4:10]
you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, [1 Peter 2:5]
We are part of the whole, and only to the degree that we work together on the whole will our contribution count, however small.
The unity and show of power from the church sent the enemy into an almost comical rage.
When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!” [Nehemiah 4:1-3]
It sounds like desperate efforts to discourage, as if they sense the victory in the spiritual realm. The church is the light bearer in the dark world. We build the wall, even just in our own homes. We are the ears that hear what the Spirit says to the church. The church is the lamp stand of Revelation 1. We are not the light – Jesus is – but we are the stand that carries the Light. His voice calls: Lights, camera…. action!
He took the scroll in His hand to roll out the history of the world. He was worthy to break the seals. History is not random. It is part of the plan. Just like the churches in Revelation we need to remove the obstacles to receive the blessing and reward.
How daunting this task may look, we are equipped by the Holy Spirit to stand in the gap.
The wall of Jerusalem had to protect the city. It had to keep the enemy out and through the 10 gates; the right people were let in. We also need to guard our gates to only allow the right influences and people to speak into our lives.
The wall is also our witness to the world. It is the testimony of our restoration in Christ, resurrected with Him into a new life.
The wall is also an awareness of hostility. The devil is satisfied with lukewarm Christians, powerless and neutral. As soon as your intentions of living a powerful God-life is clear, he attacks.
The enemies are clearly defined in these passages.
- During the years of foreign influences the people of Israel oppressed each other. According to the law, a person could be sold into slavery, even his children with him, if he could not pay his debts. Sharp business practices and usury cause many people to serve their own nation. We also make slaves of the people around us with criticism and humiliation, even in the church when we judge and condemn. When our own status and interests weigh heavier than the need of our neighbour, we forget what love is.
I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, “You are charging your own people interest!” [Nehemiah 5:7]
Hear what the Spirit says to the church.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. [Philippians 2:3,4]
At the foot of the cross the sin of pride and oppression will be rooted out.
- God’s people live lives of virtual insolvency, oppressed by debt and interest. God is our source of financial provision. Debt is not a sin, but the slavery to it, is. Bring your financial decisions to God to submit to His wisdom and provision.
Build the wall with the principle of tithing and the joyful giver of Corinthians.
Hear what the Spirit says to the church.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. [Malachi 3:10]
Be obedient to the Spirit as a joyful, spirit-filled Christian.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. [2 Corinthians 9:6,7]
Spiritual insolvency is rife. We cannot feed on what we hear according to hearsay from others. We need to hear God’s voice ourselves. We need to know Him in the power of His resurrection. [Philippians 3:10,11 Amplified]
Do you live in poverty with regards to the spoken Word of God?
Uncommitted Christians will be separated from the true flock, who hears his voice. The fire of crisis will divide the sheep who hears the Shepherd from those who belong to the “synagogue of Satan”. [Revelation 3:9]
God himself will purify his Church. He explained this to his disciples in the parable of the tares. [Matthew 13:30] We are not to judge, only to discern between the true and the false.
In the days of Nehemiah, the Sabbath was violated. To us in these times, the Sabbath is the person of Jesus. It is only in Him that we could ever find true rest. Please read Isaiah 58 to know the blessing of rest in God. Verses 13.14:
“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
God does not fit in with our lives; we change to live in harmony with Him and His principles. There is a wonderful blessing on a physical day of rest and a break in routine to celebrate the goodness of God, even if it is not a Sunday. Hear from God how you must take a Sabbath and be renewed.
The church carries the Light. We have everything we need to build and protect.