11 So I arrived in Jerusalem. Three days later, 12 I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. We took no pack animals with us except the donkey I was riding. 13 After dark I went out through the Valley Gate, past the Jackal’s Well,[a] and over to the Dung Gate to inspect the broken walls and burned gates.14 Then I went to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but my donkey couldn’t get through the rubble. 15 So, though it was still dark, I went up the Kidron Valley[b]instead, inspecting the wall before I turned back and entered again at the Valley Gate. 16 The city officials did not know I had been out there or what I was doing, for I had not yet said anything to anyone about my plans. I had not yet spoken to the Jewish leaders—the priests, the nobles, the officials, or anyone else in the administration. 17 But now I said to them, “You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!” 18 Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king.They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work.19 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab heard of our plan, they scoffed contemptuously. “What are you doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” they asked.20 I replied, “The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall. But you have no share, legal right, or historic claim in Jerusalem.”
After Assess the situation Nehemiah now tackles the task of:
c. Rallying the people around God’s purpose– Vs 17-18
In verse 17 we see Nehemiah identifying with the people, “Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in.” He didn’t say the trouble you are in, but we are in. People are not going to join you if you are not passion and prepared to do your part. Leadership isn’t telling its showing. Last week I shared with you about the man who had gotten out of jail and needed help. One of the questions he asked was how big is the church, when I told him he said a church that size and the senior pastor comes, surely you could have sent someone else to take care of this. To which I responded if I don’t lead in love how can I lecture about love. Nehemiah didn’t see it as their problem but our problem. Next, Nehemiah presents them with a spiritual perspective because unlike them he saw their spiritual disgrace. They were in trouble not just because Jerusalem was in ruins. The sight of their collapsed walls for well over a century had created the impression in the pagan word that the God of Israel was weak and had abandoned his people. Nehemiah recognized that there are always spiritual issues involved. A building project is more than just brick and mortar. How we live doesn’t just reflect on us it reflects on our Redeemer. More often than not the world judges Jesus based on the faithfulness or the failures of His followers. The way that we live reflects on the one we are living for. Nehemiah didn’t just focus on the glory of God but also the greatness of God. He revealed to them what God had already done. Some of you need to be reminded of the glory and the greatness of God, of His plan and purpose for your life, because as long as you are content to live in the rubble you will never rebuild. Nehemiah rallied the people around God’s purposes and power not around politics. Today we are more riled up over politics than we are pursuing God’s purpose. Instead of getting worked up we need to get to work. As Nehemiah rallied them around God’s grace, he reminds them that they were not relying on human effort but on God’s. The people’s response was to start rebuilding. They could have responded with apathy and gone back to their rubble. They could have reminded Nehemiah that the Jews had “already tried that” before in Ezra 4 and were stopped. Isn’t it amazing that today in the church we face those same two obstacles? Either “we’re content with the way things are” or, “we tried that before and it didn’t work!” But I am thankful that I get to serve in a church that chooses to respond like the wall builders of Nehemiah’s day. So, let me ask you what are you encouraging people to pursue, is it God’s purpose? Are you going to rally around the work and the Word of God or the world? Not only did Nehemiah rally the people but he was:
d. Resolute in the face of opposition– Vs 19-20
The last task comes almost immediately after the people decide to pursue God’s purposes. Whenever we get serious about engaging in God’s work, the enemy comes to oppose. Notice the enemy’s tactics, belittle and bully. Not only do they belittle them by making fun of them, but they bully them by accused them of breaking the king’s law. Why did they bully the believers, because that weapon had worked once before in Ezra 4. It’s the reason why work on the wall had stopped. When you pursue God’s plan the world will accuse you of being a rebel. Don’t let the fear of man limit you and stop you from following the Lord. So how did Nehemiah handle the opposition, what did he say in the face of this smear campaign? He Respond to ridicule by relying on God. He focused on the Father not on the fools. He proclaimed God’s promises publicly, reminded them that only the children of God have a claim to the inheritance of God. Are you voicing the victory or are you getting sidetracked by Satan? Remember no matter what happens the Word says that we win.