THE HAND OF GOD WAS ON NEHEMIAH. But he WAITED to tell people and did the legwork first to prepare.
Nehemiah wanted to go back to his ancestral homeland from his exiled location – he was granted “the king’s ear” and asked the king’s permission and help. He knew the Lord’s desire to bring back Jerusalem, His temple and city, for the purposes of HOPE… and Nehemiah knew it was in the prophecies for the remnant of King David’s people to return… but when he got to Jerusalem, Nehemiah decided to stay quiet for a bit until he really had a chance to evaluate the situation. He didn’t have to tell everyone all at once of his grand plans or of the plans that the Lord had for him and for them… NEITHER DO WE. First, Nehemiah had to INSPECT what was going on around him, he had to ERECT a plan and a wall, and he had to PROTECT the plan and the city. Restoration requires resurrection. Resurrection means we move forward in God’s Way.
There were detractors, there were skeptics and naysayers, and nearly saboteurs by wagging tongues. Imagine if you were going into battle, you wouldn’t broadcast it and wouldn’t disturb your focus. If God’s Hand is on you, He is close enough to listen to your whispers. So, Nehemiah went QUIETLY to inspect the walls of Jerusalem around the city of David’s remnants, then Nehemiah set out to repair the damage. Did he tell the local leaders? Not until he first told the servants.
We encounter detractors and people who aren’t even thinking about us but mostly their own life and gain. Most of the time when we think we are being scrutinized, even getting ourselves paranoid, we are likely just in the way of someone else’s inadequacy feelings. Let’s remember God wants us to lean on Him, take actions in a bigger sense of good. Be the servant to God’s Big Restoration.
Jesus came in quiety in Bethlehem but to the servants of the King, they knew what a big deal this was. The shepherds saw angels and wisemen a star. A remnant of David’s people, his family kept the Way set forth from Moses’s time for sacrifice and dedication. Jesus came to inspect, erect, protect God’s Kingdom and told the servants first. Jesus and God the Father knew of the detractors. An angel told the wisemen to not go back to scheming Herod. An angel told Joseph to get out of Herod’s fury, killing baby boys. Jesus Himself started His ministry only when the time was right.
Let us be like Nehemiah and do our legwork and calmly sometimes quietly do our work for God and because we have His protection, let us satisfy the Lord who needs us in the right time and the right place. We have the King’s ear, let’s make sure He has ours.
It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time. I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me.
When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.
Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem’s Walls
I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on.
By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate. The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work.
Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.
They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.
But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?”
I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”