Thursday, December 8
If you have a toolbox, then Nehemiah is the book you should read. Nehemiah is the story of Nehemiah who was the cupbearer to King Artexerxes. He had been wondering how the city of Jerusalem was progressing since the captivity of himself and others. When he heard that the city wall was in ruins and the gates were burned he was greatly distressed. He was so distressed, and so favored by King Artaxerxes that Artaxerxes allowed Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem. With letters of the King’s blessing with Nehemiah he travels to Jerusalem where he does a midnight tour of the damaged gates and places of the city. Then in the day he proposes to the people of Jerusalem that they rebuild the city gates and walls. This suggestion is opposed by two men who prove to be enemies of the work named Sanballat and Tobiah.
Work is begun on the wall and each branch of the Jewish families takes on a portion of the wall to rebuild or gate to be hung. Some families even take on more parts of the wall or structures to repair and rebuild. The work is going well and is being blessed by God in that all are working toward a common goal – to rebuild the protective wall around Jerusalem.
Sanballat was extremely displeased with the progress of the city wall and plotted against the people of Jerusalem. He gathered an army of men to come and attack the people who were restoring the wall but the plot was uncovered and Nehemiah devised a plan of his own. He stationed families with swords, spears, and bows by the wall so that they would be able to defend the city should they be attacked. He also had all the workers who were working on the wall carry a spear with them from dawn until dark and set night guards around the city as well. The enemies were discouraged by Nehemiah’s quick protective thinking, and work on the wall continued uninterrupted by any enemies.
The people were able to accomplish a lot because they worked together. Nehemiah comments that the people had a mind to work. Isn’t it a great feeling when people are working together in harmony? It makes the work seem easier and makes it go faster. Even when the people had to hold a spear in their hand and continue working they still kept a common goal and interest in mind – the completion of the wall. How often do we find ourselves working with a group of people with the same goal. The people in Nehemiah all came from different family backgrounds and professions yet they were able to collectively focus to work on a huge task. How important do you think it is to be able to work with others ? Are you able to work towards a common goal with people who have different backgrounds or ideas of what is best than you do? God wants us to be able to work together with people who are different than ourselves. When we work together for God’s purposes in life He is pleased with us and will bless our work, just as he blessed the people of Jerusalem who worked together. Key Thought : How can I work with others to accomplish God’s purposes.