Updated: Apr 21, 2021
One of my favorite leaders in the Bible is Nehemiah. He teaches us the balance between God’s work and human effort.
The Israelites were returning from the Babylonian Exile after the rise of the Persian Empire. Nehemiah was called by God to lead the effort of rebuilding the broken city walls in Jerusalem. This was quite a task.
Nehemiah had to raise significant financial support for the project. He had to recruit massive teams to do the work. He faced opposition at every turn. Throughout all of it, Nehemiah trusted God and demonstrated deep prayer. Listen to his vision to rally the builders:
And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. - Nehemiah 2:18
You may not be rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. But there are some things we can learn from Nehemiah.
Obstacles can be opportunities. Each obstacle that Nehemiah faced, he used as an opportunity to cast vision and call people to action. When the workers’ lives were threatened, instead of calling off progress, he had builders bring a sword to work.
If God called you to a work, He’ll see it through. Doubt can kill our calling. As soon as things get tough, we wonder if it would be better to simply quit. Nehemiah gives us an example of faith as he trusts that the hand of God is upon him.
Big projects need maximum involvement. Nehemiah doesn’t try to build the walls alone. He rallies the troops. With whatever you are facing, you need all the help you can get. If we band together in sacrifice, serving, and prayer, we can make a huge impact.
Prayer works. Whether he’s on his knees praying by himself or praying in front of a crowd, Nehemiah is a man of prayer. The project was completed in 52 days by the power of God! Remember that the outcome is up to God. Keep praying that God would work in and through your life.
Let us strengthen our hands for the good work God has set before us.