Nehemiah - step by step
Over the last few weeks in the Norwich Vineyard we have been looking at some of the themes that we find when reading Nehemiah.
Nehemiah was a servant to King Artaxerxes. He was the cup bearer and part of his duties was to taste all the food and drink that was served to his royal highness! Now this sounds quite a perk and was obviously a trusted position but on the down side if any one was going to poison the king our friend Nehemiah was going to get it first!
One day he hears news from back home. The gates of Jerusalem are burned with fire and the walls are broken down. The name of God is dishonoured and this hits him deep in his being. One of the first lessons that we discover in this book is that when God is about to move, someone, somewhere begins to pray. Let us be a church whose ears are open to hear his voice.
After securing permission to return, Nehemiah begins to dream and visualise the walls being built. He is quite a realist because he tempers vision with the reality of the task at hand. When he has sized up what needs to be done, he encourage the people to rise up and build because God is with them. In Nehemiah ch2 v17-18 it says, ‘Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace." I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, "Let us start rebuilding." So they began this good work.’
Opposition arises as it always does when together we do what God has placed in our hearts to do, those things that are birthed through prayer and vision. But despite it all the walls are completed. Let us be those who build together, staying in harmony with one another and not allowing the enemy to do his destructive work.
Finally, they committed themselves to live in God’s world God’s way and with great joy they began again to live in close relationship with God and each other, a relationship marked by generosity and care for the poor. May we do the same!