Nehemiah was a man of passion. While he was in Susa, God put a strong desire in his heart to accomplish something great. He became one with a God-sized vision that he could not shake.
Nehemiah was a man of planning. He prepared for his “big ask.” Later, upon arriving in Jerusalem, he carefully surveyed, assessed, and schemed. Throughout his autobiography, whether working with hammer, sword, or scripture, he presented himself as one who sought to do things decently and in order.
Nehemiah was a man of plural partnerships. Nehemiah was an outsider. His residence in Susa was 1000 miles from Jerusalem. Consequently, he did not have the relational collateral of one who had been in David’s City for years. It was vital that he build lasting relationships with the locals, and he took the time to do so. In addition, Nehemiah was a cupbearer and not a contractor. He was a man more suited to the king’s court than the construction site. It was vital that he add leaders to the team who had particular knowledge and skill he lacked. Throughout his memoirs, Nehemiah presented himself as both a builder of walls and men. He identified fellow leaders and poured himself into their development and utilization.
Nehemiah was a man of perspiration. Hard work was not beneath him. He was a leader who led the way in making personal sacrifices and going to work. He was a governor who labored in the trenches with his fellows.
Nehemiah was a man of perseverance. As he labored to serve God and God’s people, he was constantly maligned by those within and without the city. Men without the city lacked love for God, while many within the city lacked faith in the God who loved them.. Though the world, the flesh, and the devil aligned themselves against him, he would not relent. Nehemiah would not turn back from the mission assigned him by his Lord. If the Lord desired him to fail and strike-out, at least he would go down swinging.
Nehemiah was not the first to embark upon this monumental task. Before him, solid men had led excited pilgrimages back the Holy Land. Many had traveled, labored, and failed. However, less than two months later, the cup-bearer relished in the completion of a successful project. God allowed him to do — in 52 days — that which had not been accomplished for over 100 years. And why?
So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God. (Nehemiah 6:15-16)
Nehemiah was a man of prayer. Throughout his autobiography, from the beginning to the end, he reminded his readers of his consistent prayer life and dependence upon God. He, his people, and his enemies understood the wall had been completed because God had helped.
Friends, are you committed to prayer?
I know you have passions given by the Lord. You are certainly hungry to build great marriages, great children, great churches, great schools, and great nations.
I know you scheme. You are people who plan your work and work your plan.
I know you partner with others. You are more than willing to borrow leadership from teachers, pastors, authors, and consultants.
I know you labor hard. You are exemplary in your work-ethic.
I also see your perseverance. Though your marriage, family, church, neighborhood, and country are troubled by the Evil One and evil ones, you have not thrown in the white flag. You are still laboring towards the God-given goal planted in your heart and mind.
But do you pray? I propose this is the missing ingredient. This is why some have success and you do not. I also propose this is what you need to address. For when you go to God, he has a tendency to help those who regularly bow the knee. Perhaps one could say, “God helps those who humble themselves.” And who knows, you may be able to accomplish that — in 52 days — which has not been accomplished for years.
Your God awaits to hear your prayers. He is powerful and effective, and so too are your prayers.