Turn to Nehemiah 6:15
It feels good when you finish something, doesn’t it?
I’ve been working on some projects at my house.
And it’s hard for me to think of anything else until the project is finished.
Well, here’s Nehemiah — after all the opposition and all the trouble — the threats and the ridicule and the tsismis,
Finally the work is finished.
Nehemiah 6:15 — So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.
It’s amazing, but it’s only been 9 months since Nehemiah first heard about the condition of Jerusalem,
—And four of those months, he spent in prayer!
In 1:1, Nehemiah hears a report from his brother, Hanani — this was during the month of Kislev (9th month)
......and at that point, Nehemiah starts praying.
In 2:1, Nehemiah stands before king Artaxerxes and asks for permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls —
this was during the 1st month — the Jewish month of Nisan.
Now, in 6:15, the wall is completed — and it’s the month of Elul (the 6th month).
Do you ever come to a time in your life when you look back over the last year or so and say,
"If you told me a year ago that I’d be doing this today, I would have told you you were crazy!"
For example: just a year ago, Lenae and I were thinking about maybe having a baby — and now, look! Finished! (not really)
This must be just such a time for Nehemiah.
A year ago, he was just doing his job in the palace of King Artaxerxes, and now, look!
He’s in Jerusalem and the walls are completed!
It feels good to finish a job.
BUT, just like our baby isn’t finished,
Nehemiah’s job wasn’t finished just because the wall was now completed.
Verse 16 — When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
Now, here were the walls of Jerusalem — completed in just 52 days!
Now, if the people in the surrounding nations had said,
"Wow, Nehemiah is a great man — look what he has accomplished."
If they had said that, then I would say that ones doing the work of God did something wrong.
But that’s not what those people said:
They said, "Wow, God is helping them rebuild the walls."
And God received the glory.
The thing about doing work for the church is,
If you are faithfully doing the work, God will be the one who receives the glory.
If you are working for the church and you find that you are receiving praise and thanks for doing it,
then you’re doing something wrong.
But if you are working for the church and God is receiving praise and thanks,
then you’re doing the work correctly.
Johann Sabastian Bach once said, "All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul; where this is not remembered there is no real music at all — only satanic noise."
And so, all of JSB’s compositions begin with the letters, "J.J." — "Jesus Juva" which means "Jesus help me."
And all of his compositions end with the letters, "S.D.G." — "Soli Dei gratia" which means "To God alone be the praise."
You know, I’ve been noticing things about babies recently.
One of the most obvious things about babies is that they are totally selfish.
They don’t care about anyone other than themselves.
And we all start out that way,
But somewhere along the way, when we receive Jesus as our Savior and make him the Lord of our life,
We need to deny ourselves and die to ourselves,
So that whenever we do anything good, we don’t receive any of the glory.
"To God alone be the praise."
verses 17-19 — Also, in those days the nobles of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah, and replies from Tobiah kept coming to them. For many in Judah were under oath to him, since he was son-in-law to Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jeho-ha-nan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. Moreover, they kept reporting to me his good deeds and then telling him what I said. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.
Now, the principle that just jumps out at me in these verses is this:
DON’T MARRY SOMEONE WHO IS NOT A CHRISTIAN.
Follow me on this, because it’s important
And I’m not just talking to the single women here, single men, this goes for you too!
Now, Tobiah was the enemy of God,
He was the enemy of God’s people,
And he was the enemy of God’s work.