Summary: Teamwork, unity, fighting evil, service
REBUILDING THE WALLS
Nehemiah 4: 1-23 (p344) Sept. 12 ,2010
There is only on structure, built by man on earth that is visible from the few reaches of space. Do you know what it is? It’s the Great Wall of China. It took 1800 years to build it. They started construction in 220BC and they finished sometime during the Ming dynasty in the 1600's. When it was completed it was 6000 miles long… At one point 800,000 people were working on that wall day and night…some people spent their entire lives building this wall.
The Great Wall of China is one of the most extraordinary building achievements of all time…
But today I want to talk with you about another building project. A project we read about in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was a Jewish man living in Persia. He served as a cupbearer to the King of Persia…The cupbearer is "Head of Security" (like Jim Richter for T.E.) He samples, checked and made sure everything that made its way to the King was safe. If the wine was good the King could drink it…If it was poisoned Nehemiah fell over and died…the job had its risks!
But one day Nehemiah's life would be changed forever. In the first chapter in verses 2 and 3 he's talking with his brother, and he asks "How are the Jews in the Holy Land doing? And how is Jerusalem?
And his brother says, "Things are not good. The wall has been broken down. And the gates have been burned".
And Nehemiah sits down and weeps. It breaks his heart…and he prays.
Folks when something breaks your heart and you pray be careful, because God is going to move you to action…and God does. He moves Nehemiah to act. He gets permission from the king to go home and rebuild the walls…to restore the temple, to rescue his city. In fact the kind is supportive…he gives Nehemiah lumber from his own forests to repair the gates.
But when Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem he discovers things are much worse than he feared. You see the wall of a city was much more than its defense. it was the symbol of strength and dignity--and Jerusalem's strength and dignity lay in complete runs.
An so here's what he does to really the people in
Nehemiah 2:17-18 (P343)
Everyone gets involved…even the ministers (the priests) get their hands dirty. Entire families come together for this rebuild.
I believe there is a great lesson here.
I GOD WANTS ALL HIS PEOPLE TO BE PART OF THE CONSTRUCTION JOB.
[I kid with Beau…He oversees constructions for a building company…I ask if he's the guy in the Silverado pickup with a clipboard telling everyone else what to do. We've seen pictures of road crews repairing streets after storms where one guy is working and 5 other guys are standing around the truck smoking and talking. "He must be the new guy"]
[One of my favorite stories is about the 3 little boys who were bragging about how fast their father's were. The first little boy said, "If you shoot an arrow at a target…my Dad can beat it there. The 2nd little boy said, "Oh yeah, if you shot a bullet at a target my Dad would beat it there...And the 3rd little boy said, "That’s nothing…my Daddy works for the Hwy Department and he's so fast he gets home at 3:00 and doesn't even get off work until 5:00]
Nehemiah is a beautiful story of what can be accomplished when all God's people come together in faith to build something for his glory.
Nehemiah 3:1 records " Eliahshib, the high priest and his fellow priests want to work and rebuilt the sheep gate…verse 2 says "the men of Jericho built the adjoining section…verse 3 " The Fish gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah.
And through the entire chapter it records how different people, different families all come together to build the city.
No one was too good to work…no one was above anyone else. In part Nehemiah the priests set the example for everyone else to follow. That is an essential truth for God's building projects.
In the church of Jesus Christ it's just as essential. That's why Peter writes
1 Peter 5: 1-5 (p 859)
Nehemiah ached for his city…God gave him the vision and the resources, but the leadership, the High Priest, the other priests, the elders all set the example…It was a beautiful picture of God working through his people in his way.
Ladies and gentlemen… the church of Jesus Christ is not suppose to be a place where a minority of people accomplish a majority of the work. It is not a place where someone sets in the Silverado exercising power. It is a place where leaders have such servant