Summary: How Nehemiah begins to re-build the walls of Jerusalem.
In this morning’s text, we will look at how Nehemiah begins to re-build the walls of Jerusalem.
I think that the state of walls of Jerusalem / is not a bad picture / of the state of some of our parishes in England today.
Perhaps the state of repair of the walls will not epitomise the whole of a local church. But there may be activities in the church which make us utterly despair.
So before looking at the actual re-building, I would like to look at the five principles that brought Nehemiah success. That brought him to the place where he could actually start re-building.
These principles are also vital if we are going to understand how Nehemiah was able to complete the work in the face of adversity. These principles I believe can also be useful in our ministry as well.
1. The first principle for success was that Nehemiah had a VISION (Neh. 1). He was passionate about it.
When Nehemiah heard that "the walls of Jerusalem were broken down.", he wept and then he
i. brought the problem to God, with prayer and fasting and
ii. asked God to let him get on with the job.
When opposition came, he was able to look back to God as the source of the vision and take heart.
In verse 14, we see Nehemiah reminding the people of their powerful God and implicitly that they were doing his will.
2. The second principle for success was COMMITMENT
Nehemiah identified with the vision and he looked for an opportunity to put the plan into effect. He was a MAN of ACTION. He was prepared to commit to the vision, even if it meant give up his cushy number at court to go to the backwoods of Jerusalem.
Vision alone is not enough, it must be accompanied by commitment.
3. The third principle for success is that Nehemiah got a
A TEAM together (Neh. 2: 17-3: 32)
He didn’t try to do the job by himself but he drew a team together, of like-minded people to help him. He brought his brother Hanani and he got the elders, nobles and common people involved in the task. (Neh. 2:17).
Chapter 3 tells us the names of the people who were involved in the rebuilding project.
4. The fourth principle for success is that Nehemiah made
CAREFUL SECRET PLANS (Neh. 2:11-16)
We don’t have to broadcast what we are doing to our enemies. When Nehemiah got to Jerusalem, he made careful plans. He knew that he had enemies and so he wisely "cased the joint" at night. He made a careful evaluation of what needed to be done.
He did not try to rebuild Jerusalem to the size it had been under Solomon. He only tried to build what he thought he could finish.
Jesus told us that we are to be "as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves" (Matt 10:16). Well this was being as shrewd as a snake.
By holding his cards close to his chest, Nehemiah’s enemies were given less time to plot against him.
5. The fifth principle for success was that made sure he had the RESOURCES to do the job (Neh. 2:1-10)
When Nehemiah was in Susa, he did not have the material or the money to rebuild the walls. So before he leaves Susa, he asks the King for the building material. (Neh. 2:7-9). This is important because without it, he would not have been able to start.
We need to be practical. Call it "worldly minded" if you want.
Story: Christchurch Community Centre
The vicar Jonathan Couper of my sending Parish, Christchurch in Bridlington had a vision for a new community centre to reach out into the community.
Before he could start, he needed to have pledges for the £250,000. Half of the funding came from EU and Government, the rest we had to find ourselves. A couple of weeks before the final deadline, they were still £30,000 short.
Jonathan brought the matter before the whole church and within two weeks the whole cost was underwritten in pledges.
We must not forget the mundane things in our euphoria with the vision.
Having laid these five foundations for success of
COMMITMENT to the Vision
Getting a TEAM
SECURING THE RESOURCES to do the job
we can see how Nehemiah had a firm foundation to start to build the walls.
5. NEHEMIAH 4
5.1 The OPPOSITION (Neh. 4:1-5)
In verse 1 we read that Nehemiah started to rebuild the walls and thee first thing that happened was that he ran into Opposition.
Sanballat, the Governor of Syria and Tobias the Ammonite were the key players.
They were incensed when they heard of Nehemiah’s plans. They blustered and threatened but instead of arguing with them, Nehemiah brought the matter to God.