Seven Principles for Rebuilding Walls in Your Life and Others
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Nehemiah 1:1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, 2 that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” 4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
The story of Ezra and Nehemiah is a parable for building and rebuilding lives and spiritual foundations. Ezra and Nehemiah are one book in the Hebrew Bible. In fact, the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther all come out of the same general period of Israel's history. In the chronological order in which events took place, Esther actually happened before Ezra and Nehemiah. God used her to set up what happened in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. God raised Esther, a young Jewish maiden, to the throne of Persia as queen as the wife of King Ahasuerus of Persia, who was also called Artaxerxes.
Just as Nehemiah was the one who restored the walls of Jerusalem and the morals of the Jewish people in his day, the Lord Jesus Christ is the One who can rebuild the lives of all people. This promise of the Lord is sure: ''And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations [Jesus] shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts'' (Haggai 2:7)
Principle One • Care enough to want to do something great
After receiving reports about the condition of the people and walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah became concerned because he understood God’s intended state for Israel. Caring about others, more than for yourself, lays a firm foundation for proper action. Nehemiah prayed and fasted to a covenant-keeping God.
Nehemiah 1:3 And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” 4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven
You will never rebuild the walls of your life until you first become concerned about the ruins. Have you ever taken a good look at the ruins in your own life? Ruins are evidence of a structure, now broken. Jesus said, “Upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Nothing can break what Jesus is building, so if it does not look right, that’s because we have let something slip. Like Jesus, Nehemiah saw the true, intended state of Jerusalem and the Jewish people. We must always endeavor to restore and keep God’s intended state for our lives and His church before us. Like Moses of old, all we need to do is build according to pattern.
Principle Two • Commit to Prayer
Nehemiah committed himself in prayer. He prayed before doing anything else. He offered a prayer of repentance and dedication.
Nehemiah 1:5 And I said: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, 6 please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. 8 Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; 9 but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ 10 Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand.
Notice this important detail in verse 11: “O Lord, let thy ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants who delight to fear thy name; and give success to thy servant today,"
Nehemiah prayed, "...Give success to your servant today…" Nehemiah formed a plan in his mind, even while he has been in prayer, of how to go about rebuilding the walls. He was already in faith for success in being a major part of doing something great!
Principle Three • Seek proper authority to act.
As the king's cupbearer, he had access, but needed FAVOR. Prayer brought the favor to get permission and authority from his king, he went to Jerusalem. Too many people are acting without authority from their pastors, from civil authorities, or others in a position to grant authority.
Nehemiah 2:1 And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. 2 Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.” So I became dreadfully afraid, 3 and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?”4 Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”
So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.” 6 Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
Principle Four • Come into agreement
The people heard the clear vision, a clear word, and came into agreement. This released corporate faith. Nothing significant can happen without agreement. With agreement, all things are possible! Jesus said, “If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven” (Matt 18:19)
Nehemiah 2:17 Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” 18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work.
Romans 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word (Rhema, “spoken word”) of God.”
Principle Five • Don't be surprised by resistance
The “thief” showed up to steal, kill, and destroy! Don't be surprised when opposition and "haters" show up. Sanballat and his crew were determine the maintain the status quo. Not only did they have disdain for the Jews, they had set up shop in the house of God, and did not want to leave.
Nehemiah 4:1-2 (NIV) When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?
Principle Six • Stay out of bad meetings
Went the taunts and distractions didn’t work, Sanballat and crew tried to draw them away into a “meeting.” Don't go to any meeting out of God's will. Going into the wrong meeting will, 1) Take you off your wall and your assignment. 2) It will set you up for ambush, distractions, or worse.
Neh 6:1 Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), 2 that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?”
Principle Seven • Get it done! Make the devil mad!
Experience the benefits of doing the will of God in your life and with others in one accord. Nehemiah and the people got the job done in 52 days! The devil and your haters will become disheartened at your success!
Nehemiah 6:15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.
Always focus on God and your God-given assignments!
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