Nehemiah 4:1-3 (the message)
When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall he exploded in anger, vilifying the Jews. In the company of his Samaritan cronies and military he let loose; “What are these miserable Jews doing? Do they think they can get everything back to normal overnight? Make building stones out of make-believe?”
At his side, Tobiah the Ammonite jumped in and said, “That’s right! What do they think they’re building? Why, if a fox climbed that wall, it would fall to pieces under his weight.”
Nehemiah 4:6 (the message)
We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together and half way to its intended height because the people had a heart for the work.
If you read my previous post, I wrote about rebuilding those areas of our lives that are in disrepair. I was inspired by Nehemiah and how as he went to God with his sorrow over Jerusalem and the people, God planted a bold vision in his heart to rebuild. Our God, the rebuilder of broken dreams and broken lives…
The entire third chapter of Nehemiah is an account of those men and women who came together in the work of rebuilding. They believed. They shared Nehemiah’s passion. So important, I believe, that we seek out and ask God for friends who share a passion for doing things His way. We need each other in ways that cannot be measured except by the deep places of inability and loneliness we find as we try to handle life alone. You will find, rather quickly, you need others. We are not meant to walk alone. We are not meant to rebuild alone.
Today, what struck my heart as I read a bit more in Nehemiah was the vitriol in which Sanballat and Tobiah spoke of the Jews. They meant to discourage them. They hoped to break their spirits. They spoke arrow-words aimed directly at the impossibility of what they were trying to do. They condescended to them. And yet verse 6 simply says they kept at it because the people had a heart for the work.
I pray that you, like me, have perhaps been touched and challenged to rebuild the broken down places of your life. I pray that as you take those steps to draw closer to God you catch His vision for your rebuilding. And as you begin your work, as you allow others who share a passion for doing things His way to come along side you, be prepared for the nay-sayers. The “negative-nellies.” Those who cannot see that your rebuilding…your return to church, sins you are giving up, pride you are laying aside, a Bible you pick up to read after so long on the shelf, a song on your lips that speaks of hope and healing…is filling you with hope and purpose. Be ready for the enemy to shoot those fiery darts in attempts to discourage you. Be aware of the lies that will come your way…the impossiblities, the doubt that you could ever change. And take comfort, my friend, because your rebuilding, your old thing becoming a new thing, does not hinge on the likelihood that you can pull if off. Let Nehemiah’s words encapsulate you. Keep at it. Keep moving forward, one step at time, in rebuilding. Every time you yield to what God puts in your heart you swing hammer against nail. Every time you cry out to Him for help and refuse to give up you add another brick. Every time you ask forgiveness you set a new foundation. And before you know it, like the Jerusalem wall, the pieces start coming together.
When culture, the devil or even doubting friends and family members attempt to crush your efforts, do not give up. God is bigger than your efforts alone or any words that can be spoken to you or against you. You don’t need the ability to change, just the heart to do the work God sets before you as He brings the change.
He has good plans for your city and your rebuilding story will be one that touches those coming after you. Keep at it.