Summary: Nehemiah doesn't do things the way I would do them. If there is a job to be done, I am usually quick to say, "Let's get on with it! If it needs to be done, let's not waste any more time. Let's do it!" (Powerpoints available - #317)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(This is the third of a Leadership series featuring Nehemiah. Some ideas & illustrations in these messages were based on or benefited greatly from, to varying extents, the book “Hand Me Another Brick” by Charles Swindoll.)
(The Powerpoints used with this sermon are available free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request PP #317.)
INTRO: How much do you know about classical music? Let's compare the book of Nehemiah to a magnificent concerto. It has so many similarities. A concerto has a director, a soloist, & an orchestra. We have that in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah is not the director. The director is God. Nehemiah is the soloist, & he does his part beautifully. And we will see that the orchestra is made up of the people of Jerusalem.
Every concerto also has a theme or a melody that is repeated over & over again in a variety of ways. Such is the case in the book of Nehemiah. The theme is Leadership.
There are other underlying themes - "prayer" & "preparation" & "organization" & "opposition". But the #1 theme that runs constantly throughout the book is the theme of "leadership."
A. Every concerto has 3 movements, contrasting with one another, building to great crescendos & to the grand finale. This is exactly what we find in the book of Nehemiah.
1. The 1st movement is titled, "Nehemiah - the Cupbearer." In chapter 1 & the first 10 verses of chapter 2 we saw Nehemiah as the Cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. We also saw the tremendous burden of Nehemiah's heart to go to Jerusalem & rebuild the walls.
But before that could be accomplished, the heart of the King had to be changed. So Nehemiah prayed that God would change the heart of the King. God did & the king gave Nehemiah permission to go to Jerusalem.
2. Today we are beginning the second major movement of the book - as Nehemiah arrives at Jerusalem. We can almost hear the cymbals crashing & the trumpets blowing. Nehemiah is at last entering into his destiny. He has come to Jerusalem to accomplish the task that God has set before him!
So, beginning with the 11th verse of the 2nd chapter, & continuing all the way through the 6th chapter - we are going to see "Nehemiah the Builder."
3. Then, beginning in chapter 7 - all the way to the end of the book - we find the grand finale. We see "Nehemiah the Governor" as he rules over the rebuilt city of Jerusalem, & as he takes care of the many details that arise there.
B. I confess that my favorite movement in this great concerto is the 2nd one - the one on which we now are embarking. As you look at Nehemiah, builder of the wall, you will admire him. You will see a man totally committed to the Lord, constantly seeking His leadership & His guidance. You will see a man dedicated to the task before him a man God can use in a mighty & significant way.
PROP. I want to divide this morning's sermon into three sections, and to apply Nehemiah's actions in each case to our lives - and to how we should deal with the decisions and responsibilities that we face in life.
I. BEFORE ANY BUILDING, NEHEMIAH SPENT TIME IN SOLITUDE & PREPARATION
A. In vs. 11 we find these climatic words. Nehemiah says, "I went to Jerusalem." After 5 months of praying for the King's mind to be changed - after traveling 800 miles from the capital of Persia - Nehemiah finally arrives at Jerusalem.
All of his papers are in order. He has the King's permission to rebuild the walls. More than that, he is carrying a letter authorizing him to take timber from the King's forest - to take all that he needs to get the job done. He is also escorted by the King's own army officers and a company of cavalry.
Nehemiah has the permission - the materials - and the authority to get started immediately on the job to be done. But what does he do?
Nehemiah doesn't do things the way I would do them. If there is a job to be done, I am usually quick to say, "Let's get on with it! If it needs to be done, let's not waste any more time let's do it!"
But what does Nehemiah do? He writes, “I went to Jerusalem, & after staying there 3 days…” Evidently, during those 3 days Nehemiah didn't do any of those things that we would have expected him to do.
He didn't call together the leaders of Jerusalem show them the letters of authority from the King tell them about his plans to rebuild the wall. He didn't check to see how many stone masons or bricklayers there were in Jerusalem. He didn't even start ordering the materials.