On Nehemiah and Building Walls {Your Calling} – Pt. 2

Two weeks ago I shared five of the ten things I learned from reading the book of Nehemiah.  Won’t you join me as I talk about the last five.  You can read the first post here. 
Here’s a quick recap:
1.  Wait – God’s timing is perfect
2.  Prayer – it’s the only way to know you’re operating in His will
3.  Perseverance – God always wins when we get out of the way
4.  Truth – Speak truth and live according to His purpose
5.   Poopy jobs – Not all jobs are glamorous

6.  The Past – It can have its way with you if you’re not careful. 

After the wall was completed the Israelites gathered for a dedication.  I don’t think they were expecting it to be such an emotional time.  Ezra, the Levites and Nehemiah were attempting to help the people understand the law of God.  It had been years since they heard the laws read out loud and it soon became apparent to them what they had done wrong.  All of that sin and shame began eating away at them and they wept.  Nehemiah showed the grace of God, demonstrated to the people how much they were loved. “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10)  In fact, the people were encouraged to celebrate with feasting.  We all mess up.  It’s true.  It’s important that we remember the past because it is what brings us the present.  When our past is filled with mistakes though we need to focus on the gift of redemption because it is there that we find salvation in our future. 

7.  God is a God of Miracles – we probably shouldn’t forget that

Fifty-two days! To build a wall.  Around a city.  52 DAYS!  Even by today’s standards with big machines to do the heavy lifting that’s pretty remarkable.  Around 445BC completing a wall in fifty-two days is nothing short of miraculous.  There are going to be times when you  will feel like the task looks bigger than anything you could ever accomplish on your own and that’s point–you can’t.  The good news here is that you don’t have to.  Beyond your availability and willingness to be used by God there is nothing else that you need to bring to the table.  God’s got this.  Whatever your THIS is.  Trust Him with that and wait expectantly for the unexpected. 

8.  We’ve been given a road map  – we should really start using it.

This is simple really.  We’ve been given words that are meant to guide us, words that are meant to inspire us and teach us.  And when you package the bible together and look at it in its entirety it is really a love song of salvation and grace.  Nehemiah and the leaders of the time understood this, they understood the importance of resting on the promises that echo ancient in scriptures.  When the wall was finished the scriptures were read from start to finish.  A reminder of all that God has done, is doing and is going to do.  Press open the spine of your bible, I know that there are words and stories that don’t seem to apply.  And maybe at the time they won’t apply, maybe there won’t be a light shining down from heaven and a clear audible voice that coincides with those words.  But it’s okay, you hear me right it’s okay. It doesn’t matter. God knows what you need when you need it, part of believing in that, trusting in that is engaging with scripture.  Just show up.  He’ll take care of the rest. 

9.  There is no waste – God doesn`t waste a moment of our lives even the painful times 

I think of the Israelites prior to their return to Jerusalem.  Defeated and living in exile for years, they slowly start to trickle back and when they find their way home there is nothing familiar about their city.  Nothing that seems right, the temple is destroyed, the ruble of a wall is all that is left of a once great city.  It`s hard not to feel dejected, forlorn when nothing seems to be going your way.  Here`s the thing, God has redeemed those parts of our lives that have hurt us — those of our own doing or the hurts that others have done to us.  Looking at the hurting and finding redemption is how we see God`s glory in the midst of pain.  God`s made promises to us and He intends to keep them.  “And now, our God, the great and might and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of unfailing love, do not let all the hardships we have suffered be as nothing to you.” (Nehemiah 9:32)

10.  We need each other 

“So we promise together not to neglect the Temple of our God” (Nehemiah 10: 39b).  We were made for community.  We were made to gather around each other, to help each other and to be part of something that is bigger than ourselves.   While this verse may have had more to do with the physical repair and upkeep of the temple and tithing it also speaks to the Body of Christ.  We can not neglect one another, we can not deprive ourselves of relationships that run deep.  It’s in community that the gospel is lived out.  It’s in community, with our pain open and raw, that healing happens.  Don’t be afraid to be part of something that moves you outside of your comfort zone, God knows your hesitation, he knows you’ve been burned before, but he’s right there beside you.  

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