Summary: This is the 8th sermon in the series "Rebuilding". As you rebuild, do it right.
Series: Rebuilding [#8]
MAKING IT COUNT
Have you ever struggled with feelings that your life is not worthwhile? I think we all feel that way at times. I know that I do. Life goes by so quickly. I often think about, “What am I accomplishing that really matters? How can I spend my life so that it counts for something worthwhile?” The correct answer to those questions is to spend our lives so that they count for God and His purpose. If our lives count for God, then they count not just for time, but for eternity. So, how can I make my life count for God?
Nehemiah 1-6 describes the restoration of the wall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah 8-13 tells about the restoration of the people of Judah. Nehemiah 7:1-3 describes the precautions that Nehemiah took to guard the newly walled city from attack. Nehemiah 7:4-73 looks forward to the reforms of the second half of the book by showing how Nehemiah went about repopulating the city so that it would become a vital center for national and spiritual life. We see in chapter 7 that in order to count for God, we must commit ourselves to the things that matter to God.
Nehemiah 7:1 (NIV)
“After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers, the musicians and the Levites were appointed.”
5 things that matter to God:
1. Worship matters to God.
Rebuilding the walls was more than just security and fine living. God appointed those who would watch the gates. Notice that there is a gatekeeper at each gate. The gatekeeper watches their gate and no one else’s. There were musicians appointed to worship God. Everyone had their specific job, but everything led to the same purpose- Worshipping and serving God.
Nehemiah 7:2-3 (NIV)
“I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do. I said to them, “The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses.”
2. Godly character matters to God.
Nehemiah was an exemplary leader who knew that to be effective, he needed to delegate responsibility to other competent men. While certain administrative skills are necessary for effective leadership, the main requirement is godly character. Nehemiah picked 2 men. Hanani was probably his brother, who had come to him at Susa with the report of Jerusalem’s sad condition. He is appointed as the civil leader of Jerusalem. Hananiah is appointed as the military leader because “he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do.” Together they were charged to not open the city gates until the sun was hot, and to bolt them and stand guard when they were shut. Also, they were to appoint guards from the residents of the city, each in front of his own house.
3 godly character traits:
Hananiah was a man you could depend on. He spoke the truth and if he promised to do something, he did it. It is a fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in us as we walk in dependence on Him.
Fear of God.
Hananiah “feared God more than most people do.” The fear of God is a matter of degree: Some fear God a little; others fear God more. The fear of God grows out of the knowledge of God. You remember that He knows your every thought and deed, and so you seek to please Him in all you do.
Nehemiah not only built the wall with the sword and the trowel, he also posted guards and gave careful instructions to these appointed leaders on the need to guard the city. He trusted God, but he also set up a watch. The 2 are not in opposition. Jesus warns us to be alert.
We need to watch out for the spiritual dangers that Satan puts in front of us. The walls were built and the gates were in place. It would have been easy to kick back and let down their guard. The enemy often hits right after a victory. Also, we need to be especially on guard in our own homes. Nehemiah instructed that each one stand guard in front of his own house.
3. People matter to God.
Individuals are important to God.
Although these names do not mean anything to us, they mean something to God. He knows His people by name.
Families are important to God.