As Nehemiah leads people to build the walls of Jerusalem, they encounters threats, opposition and criticism.
As Nehemiah leads people to build the walls of Jerusalem, they encounters threats, opposition and criticism. Nehemiah does what he’s great at; he clings on to the God who called him to this task, and encourages people to “remember the Lord who is great and awesome.” To live a life worthy of God’s name is not going to be without pain and suffering, but Nehemiah points us to the one who carried the ultimate pain and suffering on the cross to set us free; the one who gave glory to the Father, the one in whom there is salvation and protection (Isaiah 26:1). Through their faithfulness and perseverance, the next generation had a legacy to build on. What is our reaction to criticisms and threats? What is the legacy we’re going to leave for the current and the next generation?
As this series comes to an end, we see that the Jesus is the greater Nehemiah. As Nehemiah rebuilt the walls, Jesus rebuilds our lives. Whilst Nehemiah struggled to keep the people faithful, Jesus transforms our hearts so that we can faithfully follow him.
What does it mean to live a full life taking responsibility for God? The people of God came together in Nehemiah to take responsibility for the upkeep of the Temple. With Jesus dwelling in us, we are now the new Temple and are therefore responsible for our hearts, our relationship with God and for the Church. How will we choose to live?
Philip Yancey wrote, 'Too many churches have become mausoleums for the dead rather than coliseums of praise for a living God. They have lost the spirit of Pentecost. They have lost their enthusiasm. They have lost their joy for Jesus'. Lack of joyfulness in the church today is a major barrier to salvation and mission. Laughter and celebration are marks of Spirit filled churches - a jubilation not based on unstable desires but rather a rock solid God. Do you want this radical joy? Do you want a happiness that can grow even in suffering? This is the promise of the Christian God. Let the temperature rise!
How do we work towards caring for those around us? Nehemiah was passionate that this was done and determined his life would model it. Jesus shows us how, in the kingdom of God, generosity will flow from a transformed life.