Nehemiah 2: 20 " The GOD of heaven will give us success. We HIS servants will start re-building." While living as a respected exile, Nehemiah was reminded of the desolated state his homeland was in. As I was reading this book I found myself comparing it to a certain wall I have in life It's broken and threatens to collapse at the slightest touch. It seems really big and insurmountable. I've been discouraged and allowed this wall to consume my mind with despair. However, this book isn't about Nehemiah being sad about this wall. Rather it's about the journey that GOD takes him on towards restoration. Here are just a handful of the lessons I learned as I read. First of all, Nehemiah teaches us how and when to pray. The book opens with Nehemiah's emotions threatening to consume his mind. However he doesn't try to handle his emotions by himself. No matter how sad Nehemiah was he chose to come before GOD and mourned and fasted before the feet of GOD. When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem the Arab called out discouragement as the wall gets built, Nehemiah cries out to GOD in his emotional turmoil. GOD made us emotional creatures. People, words and events around us can impact us. So use that gift of emotions to draw closer to GOD. In those moments we can feel closer to GOD as HE conquers our fear and imbibes us with that strength - just like HE did all those years ago for the wall builders. Secondly, Nehemiah submits himself to GOD and not to his problems. As the wall building progress there are numerous attempts to dishearten the workers. Dissenters begin to cast fear and doubt over all that are building the wall. They start rumors and insinuate that this peaceful process was intended to bring forth a military conflict . In response Nehemiah sets men atop the wall to watch over while the others build. He builds up his defenses in GOD. He reminds them that GOD is fighting for the builders. Instead of bowing to pressure and giving up the fight Nehemiah continues to submit before GOD and finding answers to strife. In the process the enemies of the people of Israel lose their self confidence because only GOD could have completed this work. Our dissenters may not be external. It may be our own mind casting doubt on the certainty of GOD's love and power. We get to chose who we ultimately give power to. One will continue to ensnare us in depression while the other will set us free and remind us of who truly is completing the work. Thirdly, it is important to remember that you cannot go at it alone. Nehemiah never intended to build the wall himself. That would have been ludicrous for one man to that. So why do we attempt to go about building our wall by ourselves? Even as the building progress they are met with considerable opposition so Nehemiah sets men atop the wall to look out and cry out when they saw danger coming. GOD has given us people around us not to be isolated from them but to instead share our vulnerabilities and build the wall together. Nehemiah isn't just a historical narrative about one man's journey towards repairing an old city. It's a potent reminder that our lives can become fragile, broken down and filled with discouragement if we do not actively chose to build it up.
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