My message for you this morning will be short in comparison to our regular Sundays, I’m very thankful for the presentation Brian has shared with us and what The Gideon Society is doing world wide.
Over the past 6 weeks, we’ve been doing a series on Old Testament heroes of the faith. We’ve been learning a lot about the fact that though they had their flaws, God used them where they were. As we learned from Esther, often God puts us where we are, “For such a time as this.”
That’s really the story of Nehemiah, our hero this week. Nehemiah seemingly had it all together. He had in many ways “arrived.”
The story of Nehemiah really begins in Ezr
Nehemiah was cupbearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia when his world was turned upside down. News came to him that the walls of his home town lay in ruin, and the gates had all been burned so his people were vulnerable, surrounded by their enemies. It was like a punch in the gut.
Let’s look at his reaction:
4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.
As we’ve said, Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the King. and after the news had arrived the King notices that Nehemiah was sad and he asked him about it.
Here’s Nehemiah’s response:
3 I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” 4 Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” 6 And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time.
Now we know that there would be no way for Nehemiah to rebuild the wall on his own. He had the help of the King, who sent him there, but then he got the help of the people:
17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” 18 And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.
The people did rise up to build. surrounded by their enemies they worked, the Scripture tells us, with a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other. For 52 days they worked together restoring the wall and the gates.
But let’s look a little closer at the steps that happened.
Nehemiah is made aware of the problem.
He calls upon God and asks him for help.
He asks the King for help
He asks the people for help.
He asks the people for help.
John Maxwell on reflecting on Nehemiah shares this advice on when we should ask for help:
We should ask others for help when the problem is bigger than us.
We should ask others for help when the problem becomes personal
We should ask others for Help when we have share the problem with God.
We should ask others for help when we are willing to do our part.
We should ask others for help when we sense God’s approval for the vision.
We should ask for help when people oppose us.