Summary: Now that Nehemiah has fully developed his plan, it’s time to communicate it to the people.
Jesus said that where two or three are gathered, that He would be in the midst of them. But do you know what else happens when two or three are gathered? Communication problems. Whether you’re talking about a church or a business or a team or a classroom, there are always communication problems. But it doesn’t just happen with large groups of people. Communication problems happen between friends. They happen between parents and children. They even happen between husbands and wives. Maybe I should say that they especially happen between husbands and wives. The fact is, we all have problems communicating, don’t we? Why do you think that is? Many times we have problems communicating because we’re just not really that interested in what the other person has to say. Sometimes we think we’ve got it all figured out and don’t really need their input or their help. Sometimes it can get so bad that we completely shut out others and go our own way. That can especially be a problem when we think we have a burden from God and nobody’s listening to us about it. We talk about one of the great things of our government is how the founding fathers built it around the idea of everything having checks and balances. Well, that certainly wasn’t an original idea of theirs. Because God does that. God gives us a series of checks and balances to let us know whether we’re on the right track or not. Every week that we’ve been in Nehemiah, we’ve talked about the burden that God gives people. We’ve talked about how you are to step out in leadership on the burden that God gives you. One of the questions that comes to mind is, how do you know if the Lord is giving you a burden that you need to act on… or if you’re just wanting to do something on your own? Here’s some good news for you. If you think that the Lord is burdening you with something, you’re not on your own. You’re not just left to some fuzzy feeling you might have. You’re not even left to a strong opinion about something. God gives us checks and balances to make sure that what we feel is truly a burden from Him and not just something we want to do on our own. It’s amazing to me when a person will come up and tell me that the Lord has told them about something that I should be part of. I’m happy for you that you think the Lord is speaking to you. But if He spoke to you about me, don’t you think He would have mentioned something to me about it too?
When you feel a burden about something… I’ve mentioned that it can be as simple as noticing something that bugs you. If you’re always seeing things around the church that need fixed, that’s probably your burden to step out in leadership to get those things fixed. That’s a fairly simple one. But what if your burden is something like the need for a new ministry? How does that work? That’s where the checks and balances come into play. The first place to go is Scripture. As we talked about this morning, God’s Word is objective truth. If something is covered in the Bible, then that is the first place to check. You need to make sure that your burden isn’t contrary to Scripture. But there are a lot of things that aren’t explicitly covered in Scripture, aren’t there? So what if your idea isn’t explicitly covered in the Bible? The walls of Jerusalem weren’t specifically commanded by Scripture. But Nehemiah was burdened to fix them. He didn’t get an audible command from God to go fix them. He was just overwhelmed by the need to go and fix them. Nothing in Scripture forbade him from doing it. So the next thing he did was to pray about it. He prayed about it and planned how he would get started if the opportunity came about that he could go. And then God opened the door for him to go. The king allowed him to go and gave him protection and provision to make it happen. So, following that example, you need to make sure your burden isn’t forbidden by the Bible. Then take it to the Lord in focused, concentrated prayer. Then look for an open door of opportunity. Then when you walk through the open door of opportunity, develop a plan for the work like Nehemiah did. Remember that he surveyed the situation by himself and thoroughly looked at the problem from every angle? He spent time on it by himself. He didn’t allow himself to be distracted by other people telling him it wasn’t going to work. He came up with a completely workable plan. And then he was ready to go, right? Not quite. Because there were still some checks and balances to go through. God doesn’t save us to be by ourselves, does He? He saves us to be part of His body. He saves us in community. We are the body and Christ is our head. One of the reasons we are saved into community is to give us a final check and balance. Here’s how it works. You feel what you think is a burden from God. You pray about it and seem to have peace. Then before you know it, doors of opportunity begin to open. You walk through those doors. Then the problem you’re burdened with is completely before you. You look at it and study it as thoroughly as you possibly can. You know it inside and out and from every angle. You come up with a plan that you think is completely foolproof. Everything is perfect. Nothing can go wrong. All that has to happen is for people to implement your plan and it can’t help but work. But then comes the final check. Then comes the time when you have to present your plan to the rest of the body. That’s what Nehemiah is doing in these two verses. He starts verse 17 by saying, “Then I said unto them.” Who is the “them”? “Them” is the group of folks he didn’t tell anything to during his midnight survey. They’re listed back up in verse 16. “Them” is the rulers, the Jews, the priests, the nobles or the rest that did the work. Nehemiah hadn’t talked to them the whole time. But now it was time to establish communications with them. This was the final check before the work could start. And here’s the frustrating thing about God’s checks and balances. If the people wouldn’t have agreed, Nehemiah couldn’t have continued. As a matter of fact, it would have been wrong for Nehemiah to try to continue. If God was the One who gave Nehemiah the burden… and Nehemiah confirmed that through Scripture and prayer… and he further confirmed it in the favorable circumstances he had seen so far… then don’t you think God would turn the people’s hearts to a favorable initial response in order to confirm Nehemiah’s burden? Now, that doesn’t mean that the response would continue to always be favorable. When difficulties come, people have a tendency to crave the leeks and onions of Egypt. But at least initially, the final check on God’s burden is the confirmation of the body. It doesn’t have to be a unanimous confirmation. It doesn’t even always have to be presented to the entire body. I’m sure the group Nehemiah spoke to was not the complete remnant. But they were representative. And because they were representative, they were the ones to provide the final check and balance on Nehemiah’s burden. So because of that, Nehemiah had to effectively communicate his burden to them. Last week we saw how Nehemiah developed the plan. Tonight, we see him communicate the plan. One thing I hope you’ll notice about the way Nehemiah communicated the plan to the people. He didn’t give them a sales job. He didn’t try to emotionally persuade them. This wasn’t a political speech. That’s not what is needed to communicate your plan to people. What is needed are the four steps that Nehemiah used. He shared the burden. He showed the necessity. He stated the authority. And he saw the response. First, Nehemiah shared the burden.