Notes on Nehemiah
Read: Nehemiah chapter 1 to 6.
The Inspirational Study Bible by Max Lucado introduces Nehemiah:
You are about to meet the Abraham Lincoln of the Old Testament. A respected leader with a tender heart. You will see his tears in the oval office as he weeps for people oppressed and vulnerable.
You are about to meet the General George Patton of the Old Testament. A rugged leader. Intolerant of compromise. Relentless in demanding perfection.
You are about to meet the Winston Churchill of the Old Testament. A statesman. Tested and tried. Resisting enemies who seek to lure him away from the task. Rising above the squabbling factions who could distract him.
The tenderness of Lincoln. The fire of Patton. The savvy of Churchill. All found in the same man.
Wow. If that doesn’t make you want to find out more about this man Nehemiah, I don’t know what will! The story of Nehemiah is a fascinating one, and if there ever was someone (apart from Jesus) who had a vision and stuck with it till it was achieved, Nehemiah was such a person. If we read Nehemiah chapters 1 to 6, we see that his vision was to see the wall of Jerusalem which had been destroyed, rebuilt. Despite much opposition, Nehemiah rebuilt the wall in record time.
So what can we learn from this great man?
In order to achieve your vision / goals this year, you must note the following points from the story of Nehemiah;
1. You must plan. See Nehemiah 2:11-20. Nehemiah didn’t just go and start rebuilding the wall. Before he did anything, he went and did a survey. He examined every aspect of the wall, to ensure that he knew exactly what he was dealing with, and the size of the task. Jesus said in Luke 14:28 (NIV)- ‘Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?’
So it must be with us. Before you run off and start doing anything, sit down and plan. Prepare. Do the ground work. There is a saying that if you fail to prepare, you must prepare to fail! Therefore, to be successful in achieving your goals and vision for this year, do the necessary preparation.
2. You must realise that not everyone will understand your vision (Chapter 2:19). Some will even laugh at you. But if you know and understand your vision, you will know how to respond to them. It is natural to want to share your vision with people, especially when you know that it is something God has placed on your heart and will be of benefit to many. But don’t be surprised when others are not as excited about your vision as you are. And don’t worry if they don’t get it either. Remember, God gave the vision to you, not them; so don’t let their views or opinions prevent you from doing what God has called you to do.
3. You must have the right people around you (chapter 3). The right people will understand the vision, and be there to encourage you and remind you of the vision when you feel like giving up. They will work with you and donate their skills and talents to make sure that the vision God has given you is brought to life. Seek God for the right people who will be able to recognise that God’s hand is upon you and will be committed to doing what it takes to ensure that the vision is accomplished.
4. You must be prepared for opposition. See chapters 4 and 6. The truth is that not everyone wants to see you succeed. Some people will actively oppose you, and some will quietly oppose you. Be prepared for that. This is why you need to be wise about who you share your vision with. But even when you face opposition, keep your vision ahead of you. Don’t focus on the opposition; focus on the vision.
5. You must maintain your focus by thinking about the end goal. See chapter 6:1-3. Nehemiah was not going to let anyone distract him from the great work that he was doing. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) that ‘for the joy set before Him, he (Jesus) endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ Jesus fixed His eyes on the joy that was to come after He completed His mission on earth. And we must do the same with our vision.
6. You must remember that with God on your side, you can do the impossible! Nehemiah and the Israelites finished the wall of Jerusalem in 52 days (chapter 6:15-16)! And the Bible records (NKJV) ‘when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, they were very disheartened in their own eyes for they perceived that this work was done by our God.’ God never gives us a vision that we cannot accomplish with His help. Where He leads, He also provides. So, if God has placed a vision on your heart for this year, trust Him to lead and guide you to accomplish it.