A late night reconnoiter

December 8, 2011

Nehimaiah was a man living in exile.  But he heard about the trouble his homeland was facing, sought the king’s permission, and then went to see what he could do about it.  He prayed when he heard, prayed when he spoke and prayed when he went.  Good advice.  Pray often.  (Without ceasing?)

So I’m going to keep looking at the book of Nehemiah for a bit, there is sooo much to glean from this story.

In Chapter 2 Nehimiah returns to Jerusalem and does a late night reconnoiter to see how bad the problem really was. Let’s pick up the story in verse 11.

 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.

If God calls you to go in secret, go in secret.  Bring trusted friends.  Always bring a trusted friend.

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.

Is this true or just speculating on my part? If we are following God, seeking his glory and the restoration of his kingdom, we should be able to see clearly the trouble we are in.   There are no guarantee that there won’t be trouble, but we should see its source.  We should see the work ahead, and know what to do.  We may or may not find our way out of the trouble, but we will be guided.

They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.

People of God will want to join the work when they see clearly what needs to be done.  If God has given you his vision, you should be able to clearly articulate it to others, and that clarity will help make the point that it is indeed God’s vision.  And I have never seen God’s people, when given the opportunity, not want to get on with the rebuilding, restoring, renewing and repairing that he sometimes calls us to do.

I am encouraged by the response of the people of Jerusalem in this story.  I am not is a position to have to repair or restore something that has been attacked and neglected.  Just the opposite.  I come into a new ministry position following in the footsteps of one who heard and obeyed God.  Someone who strove to not only build but to maintain a world-class children’s facility.  But that does not mean that God does not have some new ideas, some changes, some work to be done.  And I am grateful to know that when the vision is clearly articulated, that I will be working alongside a group of people who want to be about the business of the Father, and the work will be done.

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?”

Mocking and ridicule should be expected.  But from enemies, not co-laborers.

 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.”

Anyone involved in listening to God, hearing what he says, and then obeying God is Guaranteed something.  The God of heaven will give us success”  It may or may not look like the world’s picture of success, but God’s purpose will be accomplished.

I want to be on that team.

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