Summary: We see how God fits us to the task he has for us.
Nehemiah Sermon 2
The Purpose Driven Life
(Nehemiah 1:1-4; 2: 11, 17)
Part 1: Rebuilding the Wall (Ch. 1-2)
A. Preparation (Ch. 1-2)
1. The Person Prepared 1:1,11
2. The Priority Elevated 1:2
3. The Pain Experienced 1:3-4
4. The Prayer Offered 1:4-11
5. The Participation Offered 2:11
6. The Purpose Stated 2:11,17
7. The Prayer Answered (2:1-10)
8. The Problems Analyzed 2:11-16
9. The People Enlisted 217-18
10. The Persecution Faced 2:19-20
11..The Person Trusted 2:20
A. The Person Prepared
“I was cupbearer to the king.” (v11)
One December day in 446BC a Jewish layman found out why he was on this planet. He had risen in exile to the high and noble position of preparing the wine for the King of Persia, and guarding him from being poisoned. God had a little, discouraged Jewish church in Judah, 900 miles to the west. It needed a wall around its capitol city for protection and pride and it needed to be turned back to God morally, ethically and spiritually. And Nehemiah was the man God wanted to do it with Him.
As cupbearer to the King, and a Jew, not a Persian, he was a man of unquestionable integrity who could be trusted. He was a man of bravery since the King’s protection was part of his job description. But more than this he was a man of spiritual maturity. The whole book reveals his closeness to God and his remarkable prayer life. He was in Persia but Persia was not in him. There were pagans all around him, but God ruled his heart.
Gibbon said of the Roman Empire as it crumbled, that all religions to the people were equally true; all religions to the philosophers were equally false; and all religions to the politicians were equally useful. But Nehemiah, had he lived today, would be one who said if you want to find God, look in the Bible and look to Jesus.
Finally, he was a man who assumed responsibility for his own life. He was not dependent upon circumstances for him to be faithful or joyful. He did not whine because he lived in exile; he shined for God and others. He did not sit around feeling sorry for himself, making excuses for his bad behavior. He took what life gave him and made something of his life. He got a lemon and made lemon aide.
Adrian Rogers told of the farmer whose boys had to work in the corn fields several hours every day while their friends were spending all day playing. A neighbor told him he didn’t need all that corn so he ought to plant less so the boys could take the summer off. His answer was, “I’m not raising corn; I’m raising boys.” Like most of us, our values in life are learned in the mundane duties of life.
On a more practical level, as one with access to the King, he had privileges, powers and royal protection unknown to most Jews.
Why are you here?
Everything in Nehemiah’s life up to this December day in 446 had worked together to make him THE person to build the wall of Jerusalem and join Ezra and Malachi in making religious reforms.
Everything in your life and mine, good and bad, has worked together to not only make us who we are, but make us useable to God for some particular task. As Mordechai told Esther,
“Who knows? It may be you have come to the kingdom for just such an hour as this.” (Esth. 4:14
This week (March 2005) 26 year old, Ashley Smith is on the cover of People Magazine. Baptized at an early age, she was finally getting her life back to God from alcohol and drug related problems. He grand parents had just given her the bestseller, “The Purpose Driven Life. All America knows her story. A crazed young man broke out of court, killing several people. He high jacked one woman and let her go. Then it just happened in a city the size of Atlanta that he forced his way into Ashley’s apartment. It just happened that he saw the book and asked her to read it to him. Through reading parts of the book to him and talking about the Christian faith she persuaded this troubled man to turn himself in.
She said to him, and in her interview that she felt God had let her apartment be the one he chose so she could keep him from hurting someone else. King himself told her she was his angel from heaven. And her grandfather said,
“We always knew Ashley would do something for the Lord, and this week she hit a home run for Jesus.”
Is your life purpose driven? Do you know God is preparing you for some special work or opportunity? Are you trying to discover what it is, develop yourself for it and dedicate yourself to it?