Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Building for the Lord

 Last week = Nehemiah (cupbearer to the King, ie.  Prime Minister) gets word of Jerusalem's wall in disrepair nearly 100 years after the return from Babylon.
He prays earnestly (4 months) - prayed, fasted, wept.
The king grants him Authority and Assistance.

POINT:  prayer makes a difference - in individuals and in nations

Continuation of story:  

Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem & leads people in rebuilding the walls..Not just doing for himself or for the people, but for God.

BUT ... Problems:

I)  opposition from neighboring peoples 
     ridicule, accusation, political undermining, military attack
Neh. 2:10, 19-20, 4:6-9, 11, 16-18

II)  obstacles from within Israel
     rubble, fatigue, expense, discouragement
Neh. 4: 10, 21-23

BUT .. task completed; walls rebuilt - Neh. 6:15-16

when completed, they gather for
(1) the reading of the LAW - Neh. 8:1-3
(2) celebration - Neh. 8:8-12

This = historical account of the story of building Jerusalem's walls ... for the Lord can serve illustration of building bigger things for the Lord.
Like Godly character, marriage, family, home, Legacy!!

Some elements of building for God (illustrated from this story)

#1.  Divine Assistance (Nehemiah prayed 4 months before he went to the king!)
Because he wanted more than walls, he wanted Revival, Renewal, Reform

(If Nehemiah needed God's assistance to build a wall, how much more to change heart, forge marriage, construct family.  Can do a lot of stuff without God, but can't do Godly stuff without God.

So we should (1) seek God's assistance (prayer)
                     (2)  seek it earnestly (wrestling in prayer)
                     (3)  give Him credit when it comes (praise and honor)

Neh. 6:15-16 - God's assistance even obvious to pagans!!!   Compare:  Psm. 127:1

Note:  The following points will not stand for eternity without the Lord's assistance.

#2.  A Clear Vision  (Nehemiah knew what he wanted before he attempted it)
We hit what we aim at.
So... A)  what do you wnat for your character? marriage?  family?  church?
Note:  B)  This is not just your vision .... it = God's Vision given to you .. concerning His desire for you!!!
(don't have a clear vision?  Pray for one!!!)

#3.  Hard Work
Remember General Wm. Booth?  - Pray as if everything depends on your prayers.
                                                      "Work as if everything depends on your labors.
This = complimentary, not contradictory!!
Col. 1:28-29 - Paul and his work
Phil. 2:12-13 - You work so He'll work - John 5:17 - (hence his words to Philipians)

#4.  Sacrifice  (ie self-sacrifice)
irony;  to get what you want (if a Godly goal), you must deny 'self!!

#5.  Teamwork  (cooperation)
On one hand, may accomplish some things - just you and God.
However, mostly these things require assistance of others!!

hence church = "Body of Christ" - with many important members!!! (1 Cor. 12-14)
By God's design we NEED One Another!!

#6.  Patience - built the wall in 52 days, Godly character takes a lifetime!  Therefore Phil. 1:6  "until..."

#7.  Perseverance  (endurance, stick-to-it-ness) because you'll face opposition!!
A)  within = ridicule, fatigue, boredom, discontentment
But, Phil. 16
And, B) without - Eph. 6:12  (Jesus did and you will also!)

#8.  Celebration - Neh. 8:10 - the joy of the Lord is your strength.  You haven't arrived but are a long way from where you were, if are trying to build Godly character, so celebrate!!

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