The way they rebuilt the wall is so helpful for us today as we change course or rebuild our lives. It is amazing how many helpful things we can learn from Nehemiah.
People joined Nehemiah
Chapter 3 of tells us once others heard what he was doing, they joined with Nehemiah. The whole chapter of Nehemiah 3 lists who is working where and what they did. They worked side by side, shoulder to shoulder in teamwork with their neighbor. Each person who lived by the wall repaired the part of the wall opposite their house. Each citizen of Jerusalem was responsible for the part of the wall that protected their own home.
This is an important principle, that each person in your 'city' must do their part.
If in this analogy you are the city, then it means you have different parts of your life, emotions, heart, that must be repaired just in that area to which that issue pertains. Work on the part of the wall that defends yourself and your family. Don't let it spill over to other areas, just deal with the core issue of that problem. Then move to the next.
If their accusations won't work, they get angry
Nehemiah 4:1 tells us when Sanballat heard what they were doing, he mocked them and became 'hot' with anger - the Hebrew says he was burning with anger at them. People will sometimes do that when they know they have lost control of you. That's ok if your cause is just and righteous. That is their issue of the heart only they can remedy.
Nehemiah 4:9 says the people were armed as they built the wall. They set a watch so no one could come at night to vandalize their work. We must realize while we are doing the Lord's will, we must do so 'armed' with the Lord, aware others will threaten us and maybe attack - they need to see we are equal to any challenge.
Christians sometimes think because they are peaceful that is all that is required. No, you have to be capable of defending yourself, your faith. It is that potential of a strong response that makes the enemy afraid. If you're just harmless then demons can walk all over you. We must assert our will over them.
If you are harmless but have the potential to use the name of Jesus against them, have the potential to stand up for yourself and your views and your morals, then the enemy respects that and will think twice before attacking you.
It is that Nehemiah, though on a peaceful work, armed the workers, so the enemies who threatened attack, would know Nehemiah was strong and would in fact defend himself - and all on his side would defend themselves. Nehemiah 4:18 says, "...a sword hanging on each worker's belt..." Be harmless as doves, but wise as serpents.
Just say 'Oh no' when they want you to come to 'Ono'.
Chapter 6 reveals the ways the devil attacks us today, as seen through the eyes of Nehemiah. In 6:2-4 Sanballat and the others invite Nehemiah to come down off the wall in a distraction to come talk to them in the plain of Ono. This they did 4 times. Each time Nehemiah said, 'O no', he would not allow himself to be distracted from the assignment the Lord gave him. If a distraction threatens to pull you off what God has you doing, say 'Oh no' to Ono'.
The 5th attempt was an effort at extortion. Sanballat wrote a letter accusing Nehemiah with many lies, and threatened to send the letter to the king. Nehemiah confronted him with it, saying he knew it was a lie and that he wasn't afraid. He states in v9:"For they were trying to make us afraid, thinking they would weaken our hands from the work, now therefore, O God, strengthen our hands!"
In verses 10-12 Nehemiah receives a false prophecy delivered with the intent of fear, to make him do something stupid. Like a game bird flushed from its hiding place only to be shot out of the air, that was the intent of the false word. Nehemiah said in v11:"Why should a man such as I flee?" In v12 he says he perceived that God had not sent that man and that Sanballat was behind this false 'word from the Lord'.
What we have seen thus far
First they were angry with Nehemiah. Then they tried to talk him out of it at Ono, as a matter of distraction. Then they threatened him with lies to try to make him afraid. Then they spiritualized it in a false prophecy to try to make their scheme legitimate because it was wrapped in spirituality. Nehemiah armed himself and his workers, and kept working.
These efforts were the last efforts of Sanballat and friends to distract, extort, and threaten with fear and lies against Nehemiah and his team. Chapter 6:15-16 tells us the wall was finished, and:"...when all our enemies heard the wall was finished, and they saw all that was accomplished, they were downcast in their own eyes, for (only then) did they perceive that this was a work of God."
Sanballat's issue wasn't with Nehemiah, it was with the Lord. If you are doing anything worthwhile in the Lord - from raising a family to helping a friend through life - people who get into strife with you have as their real issue, the Lord. It isn't you, not about flesh and blood, but against Satan who incites one against another.
Realize that when others don't understand the direction you're going. When people do things just to distract you and delay what you are doing. When they lie about you or threaten you with lies, when they spiritualize their attack by bringing God into it, realize their issue is with the Lord - and if you stick to what you are doing, they will eventually see that you are from the Lord, what you are doing is from the Lord.
A mature person can love a person while disagreeing with them morally or spiritually. Such a one can maintain fellowship, even friendship. The immature find points of disagreement and break off friendships and fellowship. Their issue is with the Lord at that point, and their own heart.
Realize what you are doing affect many more than just your family
We would not receive the full impact of Nehemiah's work unless we looked what happened after the wall was finished.
As a result of the completed wall, people felt safe and secure within those boundaries.
You are your own Jerusalem. Make sure your walls are built so that in your heart and soul you feel safe, secure, at rest. Then include in the city your spouse, children at home. Then just outside the wall of your Jerusalem, is relatives - Judea - family, but they know their boundaries, know that you are in covenant now with your spouse and children, not with them. Then outward to distant relatives and associates, then outward to strangers in the 'uttermost parts'. (Acts 1:8)
Once people saw the walls, Nehemiah 7:66 tells us 42,360 people immigrated into the city from Babylon, restoring the temple worship, and v73 says in 7 months all Israel was back not only in Jerusalem, but living in the other cities their ancestors had lived in before being carried off to Babylon decades earlier.
But wait, there's more...
Ezra the scribe began teaching the people the Word of the Lord. Chapter 8:4 says Ezra stood on a pulpit of wood just for the purpose so the multitude could hear him, and v8 says he and others "...read in the book of the law clearly, with meaning, giving the sense of what it said, allowing them to understand the meaning."
Ezra sent the people away as they rejoiced upon hearing and understanding God's Word, telling them:"The joy of the Lord is your strength." Verse 12 concludes:"All the people went their way to eat and drink with great joy and merriment, giving gifts to one another, because they had understood the words that had been read to them."
(Did you notice the joy of the Lord is your strength within the context of understanding His Word and ways, not just a blanket statement that His joy is your strength - the joy came from gaining understanding of Him)
All of that happened because 1 man refused to be distracted, threatened, coerced, bribed, or manipulated by those who opposed him.
That 1 man motivated others to join him, sharing the vision, and making it that each person had to rebuild the wall in front of their own house, making it personal, so that they were building to protect their own families.
There is much to learn from Nehemiah! New subject next week, until then, blessings,
www.kwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org