As we conclude our study on characters and events that impacted the plan leading to Jesus, let’s reflect on the things we have discussed. We talked about Jacob and Esau and the two events that changed history forever. We discussed Ruth and God’s hand in her life and the trust and faith she had. We also discussed three men who had such faith in God that he delivered them from death and prospered their life. However, although there are many we have not discussed, I would like to close this series on an unlikely man from Israel’s past. One that served God wholeheartedly and influenced a nation to turn once again to God. That man is Nehemiah.
Nehemiah’s life was a respectable one. He was a cupbearer to the king in Persia and was highly trusted by the king. When Nehemiah heard about the destruction of Jerusalem, he asked the king if he could go back and help rebuild it and the king allowed it. In this study, we will look at Nehemiah’s life as a whole and determine how his faith impacted the plan God had for His people.
There are many lessons we can learn from Nehemiah. One of those lessons is a lesson on prayer. Prayer was a huge part of Nehemiah’s life and we see evidence of that all throughout his story. Nehemiah’s prayers can be found in 1:4-11, 2:4, 4:4-5, 5:19, 6:9, 6:14. We see Nehemiah praying and talking to God constantly. Before he tackles something, he prays. He asked God to remember him several times. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17, tells us to “Pray without ceasing”. Nehemiah was living out these Scriptures. He was constantly praying and we should too. Prayer helps us when we don’t know what to do or where to turn and if we ask God in prayer, He will show us the way.
Nehemiah was concerned about God’s people and God’s will. When Nehemiah heard the news of Jerusalem, he could have very well stayed where he was in his high position in the kingdom and let others take care of it. Instead, Nehemiah was not concerned about his future but of the future of God’s people and God’s city. He was concerned with the things of God. This is a very hard yet important lesson for us to learn. How can we be concerned with the things of God, when we have to be focused on things down here? The answer to this question requires trust in God. We have lots of cares on this earth, bills, family, work, etc, the list goes on and on. However, God tells us something about these cares. In 1 Peter 5:7 Paul tells us to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” We must cast our cares upon God in prayer and trust that He will help us and guide us. When we do this, this can help clear our minds of the clutter we have on earth and help us to focus on more spiritual things. We may not have a physical temple to rebuild, but we have our spiritual lives to constantly repair and make better so we can be better servants of God.
Prayer and being concerned with God’s will are two big things we need to be thinking about constantly as God’s children. However, these two things can’t happen without one quality that we see in Nehemiah and that quality is faith.
As the people were building the wall, there was opposition constantly. There were many attempts to stop the reconstruction of the wall but Nehemiah had faith that God would protect them. In Nehemiah 4:19-20, “Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!””. Nehemiah stationed half the people with spears and readied them for potential war. But he never forgot that God was on their side. Nehemiah took necessary precaution but he knew their main weapon was God. We also should remember this. David reminds us in Psalms 118:14 that, “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” All our strength comes from God and we must have faith that He will defend us because He is our salvation. Nehemiah’s faith and perseverance led to the rebuilding of a city and the re-establishment of a nation.
Prayer, God’s will, and faith are all things Nehemiah was concerned with as he lived his life. He was always praying, always concerned about the things of God, and had consistent faith in God’s deliverance.We should strive to be and do these things just as Nehemiah did.