The story of Nehemiah starts with Nehemiah being in the palace in Shushan in the Persian Empire asking about the state of the affairs of Jerusalem from his brethren. He hears the report that the people are in great affliction and reproach and that the walls of Jerusalem are broken down and in ruins. And we read that as soon as he heard this report he wept and mourned certain days and he fasted and prayed to God concerning the situation.
Whoa what a man. He was in the palace in the most comfortable environment, having made it in life according to the world’s perspective; yet he was moved in his heart, choosing to put his hands to the plough, getting uncomfortable and risking all that he had for a higher cause.
One of the first things Nehemiah did when he was moved in his heart concerning the state of Jerusalem was he cried out to God in fasting and prayer. He repented himself and also on behalf of his people and asked God for His mercy in the situation and then got down to do something about it.
God gave him favour with the king to provide for all that he needed for the journey and for the project. As he landed in Jerusalem, he saw that not just the walls needed repair, even the lives of the people were broken and needed spiritual repairs.
As he got down to it, he casted the vision to the people to join in this great work and the Lord made the hearts of the people willing and they came together shoulder to shoulder to build the wall against all odds. There was mocking and intimidation from the enemy, but they refused to believe the report of the enemy, but chose to believe the report of the Lord and overcame every obstacle to build the wall in 52 days flat. What an astounding feat. It looks like Nehemiah put together a dream team. But it was not so when it began, there was no team, there was no vision, till one man was moved in his heart to do something about it. All it takes is one man in partnership with God to impact the world around us.
In the gospels we see the man on a journey from Jerusalem to Jericho, helped by a stranger a Samaritan man. Many so called “righteous” went by on their “righteous walk”, but a foreigner did the will of God the Father, spending his time, energy and money to nurse this Jewish man back to health. What a story, Jesus truly explaining that Faith without works is dead.
Beloved we have a high calling in God (Phil 3:14); beyond the routine affairs of our lives. We are called to build each other and to be the salt and light in the world we are in, in the very circumstances which we sometimes choose to ignore, so that it doesn’t rock our comfortable world.
Let us put our hands to the plough and never look back to the comforts of our known surroundings. Just as Nehemiah never longed to go back to his comforts in the palace in Shushan, but was fully committed to accomplish all that God had called him to do. Let us also beloved, be mindful of what God has called us to do and do it with all our heart, moving in His Holy Spirit power.