Summary: A message for Baptist Men’s Day.
A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
INTRO: A sports personality who participates in more than one sport is referred to as a man for all seasons. Nehemiah was a true man for all seasons. He mastered the seasons of stress and success. When we first meet him in Scripture, he was a slave. But he became a builder and ended up as a governor. He was not a man who sat around waiting for history to give him a chance. Instead, he took the initiative and made history. He serves as a suitable example for Baptist men. In being a man for all seasons:
I. NEHEMIAH WAS PRAYERFUL.
Nehemiah prayed about the situation in Jerusalem. He was told about the destroyed city and the demoralized citizenry (1:3). What he heard distressed him, and his concern drove him to his knees in prayer (1:4).
Nehemiah’s prayer was persistent. He received the report about the situation in Jerusalem in December, but it wasn’t until the next April when he had his chance to take action. All that time he prayed about the situation in Jerusalem. Little wonder he was ready when God was ready!
Nehemiah’s prayer included praise (1:5), penitence (1:6-7), and petition (1:8).
Nehemiah’s period of prayer had several clear-cut benefits.
First, it quieted the heart. Nehemiah was so upset by the report that he wept (1:4). Sharing his concern in prayer had a calming effect.
Second, the season of prayer mandated that he wait before acting. Prayer not only opened his life to the Lord, but it also required that he wait until God was ready.
Third, prayer allowed for a clearer vision of what should be done. When the king asked Nehemiah what he wanted, he had a ready answer, arrived at because he had taken the time to pray (vv. 5-8).
II. NEHEMIAH WAS PERCEPTIVE.
The first thing Nehemiah did when he arrived in Jerusalem was to investigate the situation for himself (vv. 13-15).
The Hebrew word for INSPECT means: to look into something very carefully or thoroughly. It wasn’t that Nehemiah doubted the accuracy of the report given him by others, but he needed to have firsthand information about the situation before he acted.
Acting purely on the basis of what others say can result in “mis-actions.” This is true for several reasons.
First, reports given by others may be distorted by personal feelings. Eyewitness reports usually vary, for people see what their experience has taught them to see.
Second, some crucial facts may be inadvertently omitted from the report.
Third, many people have learned the hard way they you can’t believe all you hear.
Hearsay evidence is inadmissable in a court of law and is frequently a shaky basis for corrective action. Responsible action mandates personal investigation. In some situations a person must take someone else’s word, but responsible people are perceptive. They seek to see for themselves before taking corrective action.
III. NEHEMIAH WAS PERSUADED.
Nehemiah believed something could be done about the situation in Jerusalem. What he had heard distressed him, and what he saw in his tour of the city was depressing. But Nehemiah was optimistic and enthusiastic about the prospects. He didn’t have a negative attitude and defeatist spirit. He expressed his persuasion to the people (vv. 17-18a), and his conviction was contagious (v. 18b).
Nehemiah’s persuasion was undaunted by opposition. Certain people opposed the rebuilding of the destroyed city (vv. 19-20). The Hebrew word for MOCK means: to utter repeated words of derision.
As the book of Nehemiah reveals, these opponents did everything they could to instill fear in the hearts of the workers and make the completion of the task impossible. Yet their efforts were futile, for Nehemiah and his people “had a mind to work” (4:6).
CONC: Opposition is to be expected when people undertake to do the will of God. We must not let this opposition stop us from doing our best. We must complete the work God has intended for us to do regardless of any opposition we face.