June 24, 2018

Nehemiah Part 3 | Shoulder to Shoulder

Tribe Recap June 24, 2018 | Nehemiah Chapter 2:11 to Chapter 3

Though Nehemiah must have thought much about what he would do and say when he arrived in Jerusalem (after traveling over 1100 miles), his arrival described yet another moment of waiting.  Nehemiah didn’t even tell the influential nobles who would later build the wall what he was thinking until he had a chance to see the city’s condition first hand.

Wise leaders take the time to observe, weigh, and listen to others before acting.  They verify and confirm facts before making decisions, and when they are ready to act, they take care to communicate the right information to the right people.  They think about the details and they do things deliberately.

Then when the time to act comes they have the courage required to take the next step. They look, they listen, they speak and they act.  And when they do, the enemies of God come out of where they are hiding to try to stop what God is doing.

Nehemiah’s enemies were politically powerful, resourced, intimately connected inside Jerusalem and geographically in every direction.  They surrounded and out gunned Nehemiah and his band of rag-tag Jews in a broken down city.

This is us too isn’t it.  Outgunned by the world, surrounded, out-resourced, and under pressure to give in and give up.  But God himself is not intimidated by man’s power or position.  He does not mind difficult odds.  God poured water on Elijah’s sacrifice before burning it up, he waited until Lazarus was dead before performing a miracle, and he didn’t give Abraham a son until it was humanly impossible.  We may be surrounded, but the Great God of Heaven is never outmatched, outgunned, or outdone.  When we trust in him, we tap into the game-changing truth that he is the God who loves to perform the impossible through his people.

In Nehemiah 3, this rag-tag group of Jews began to do what could not be accomplished in 94 years.  This chapter mentions over 30 times the names of those who stood shoulder to shoulder to build the wall.

This is how the people of the God of the impossible do the impossible: they stand shoulder to shoulder. They endure each other’s imperfections and get to work.  In I Peter 2:5-9 we are called ‘living stones.’  When the living stones stand side by side they build the sanctuary of God’s presence, salvation, and safety from God’s enemies.

God is calling his people to ask for and embrace his wisdom, step out in an impossible level of trust in his promises, and stand shoulder to shoulder to do his work.  Our cities may be without ‘God’s walls,’ but as long as God’s people walk the face of the earth, there is hope they will rise up, be God’s people, stand shoulder to shoulder, and build God’s kingdom.  Let us pray that in our lifetimes, we see the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God.