Posted by: New in Every Way | April 30, 2012

Doing the Homework

Are you distressed about a situation in your life or the life of someone you love? Nehemiah’s story  started out like yours. Who knows? He could become your hero.

Nehemiah was one of many Jews whose family had been exiled to Babylon around 400 B.C. The exile was over and many of his people had returned to Judah, but news was the settlers were in “great trouble and distress.” The walls of Jerusalem were rubble, putting its inhabitants under the thumb of hostile neighbors.

Here’s what Nehemiah did: for several days after hearing this news, he mourned, fasted, and prayed before God. The Lord answered in an amazing way. King Artaxerxes allowed him to take a leave from his position to lead an expedition of Jews to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. Not only that, the king gifted him with finances and provisions.

If I had experienced all the favor Nehemiah did, I might have arrived in Jerusalem expecting the inhabitants to greet me with open arms. But Nehemiah showed greater wisdom—and continued reliance on God.

He went out one night to ride through the burnt remnants of the historic gates and walls of Jerusalem. No doubt he was gathering facts and capturing the Lord’s blueprint for the restoration.

Then he called together the city priests, nobles, and officials to declare his purpose. Because he who had taken time to acquaint himself with the stark realities of the situation, he had credibility. After associating himself with them in their distress, he issued a call, “Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem” (verse 18). Then he backed up that plan with the encouraging news of God’s assistance so far.

What if he had barged in to Jerusalem, expecting its leaders to docilely come into line with his plans because they were, after all, from God? What if he had not wisely built up a case to present to them, giving evidence of sound judgment and of the favor of God?  They might not have echoed him by saying, “Let us start rebuilding.”

Make It Personal 

  • What great need exists in your life or the life of a loved one?
  • Have you turned to the Lord with sincere and expectant prayer? Has he begun to give you hope, plans, and open doors?
  • Is there some homework you need to do—some research or education—before approaching those others who will play a part in bringing the vision to fruition? 
  • Are you also encouraging them by reporting the hope and help the Lord has already given?       

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