Archive for the ‘Building the Wall’ Category

Do you recognize a miracle when it has happened?  We can be so caught up in doing the God-task that we miss the miracle it took to make it happen.  Hear me out on this because, just like me, you are going to need to stretch your faith to believe in our God who still does miracles today.  Since He has positioned you to the God-task, He is going to work with you to its completion.  I want you to pause for a moment and think about this…

Nehemiah 6:15-16

So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days.  And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.

Most of us know that the wall was completed, gates hung, doors in place in 52 days.  52 days!  That is less than 2 months time. How many God-tasks do you know can be completed in 52 days, especially the hearts of the people turned back to God?   They got a wall and doors, God got His people back.  Their enemies heard of the completion of the wall.  Your enemies will NEVER rejoice in the establishment of God’s power in your life.  Once you have a knowing of God’s love for you personally, the enemy knows he must go back to the drawing board, he has been defeated.

When “all the nations around us saw these things, they were very disheartened in their own eyes”, why?  Because if they ever thought to invade, Jerusalem was an “easy” win.  No walls to protect and the people had nothing to fight for.  This made them easy prey.  But now that they had restored dignity, lands returned, families back together, they had everything to fight for.

But do you know the real reason why they were disheartened?  “For they perceived that this work was done by our God.”  It wasn’t just that the people had a wall again, their lands returned, or their families back together, BUT GOD had returned to His people and done a great work for them and through them.  Their enemies and all the nations around them perceived what God had done.

Why is it that our enemies recognize what God has done in our life and for our future, before we do?

When the work is done, why are we so quick to miss the miracle God has done for us when it is so evident to others?

Think about all Nehemiah had to do to get this God-task up and off the ground, let alone completed in 52 days.

  • He had to mobilize the work force of people he had no connection with
  • He empowered them to work with less than adequate material; old burnt, broken rock
  • He had to keep their focus on God while facing treachery all around
  • He had to encourage them to work with one-hand while the other was holding a weapon!
  • There was no time for a break only a bath and then he rationed sleep!  How many of us use the excuse, “I must have my sleep!!!!!”?

I am not sure if we can truly understand what happened here.  The enemy just says, “Boo!” and we skitter away.  But not for Nehemiah, when it is all said and done (in 52 days), he had faced the enemy nose to nose and won.  He won, the people won, and God won!  Let’s not confuse the issue, God ALWAYS wins when His people will unite under one who has a heart for God and for His people.  Look at what He won.

  • His people were no longer in great distress and the reproach has been removed.
  • The army against them disbands.
  • He establishes Nehemiah as their governor so families and their lands will be restored.
  • He is worshipped by the people of Jerusalem again.
  • He gets His city back!!!
  • He has a people who re-establish Him as their God.

Can you imagine?  A city that once was a place where God’s presence rested but turned from Him, forgot about Him, embraced sin and pagan gods, exiled to foreign countries, and now He has called them back, restored the people to Himself, and reminds them who He says they are…they are His.  His to love, His to protect, His to prosper.

And when others hear of what God has done, they will be disheartened.  Through one man, with a passion for the people of God, to rise up and embrace the fullness of what God has for them, God will deliver a miracle.  One person plus God is ALWAYS a majority!

Your city is waiting.  Will you be the one plus God?

The people had no idea who Nehemiah was, they had no plan for getting free, they were clueless to what the problem was.  They needed one, one who would be moved by the compassion of God for their distress, mobilize, empower, and treat them justly.

Why do you go through your day and not see the distress of the people?

Why do you not know the need of the people?

Why can you not mobilize, empower and treat the people justly?

Why can you not tell the enemy to GO! and keep working?

God is looking for one who will be the one, the Nehemiah, who will mobilize the people, empower them to rise up and take part in restoring their city, and seek justice for the people.  Are you that one, or does He look for another?  Be the miracle God uses  to restore His people to all He has for them.


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And if you think “that”, telling the enemy “No” and Good-bye”, will end his attack there are two other tricks up his sleeve.

#1 The enemy will try to discredit you with lies, slander and gossip.

#2 The enemy will try to turn your people against you.

Lies are just that, they are lies.  So don’t get bent out of shape when the enemy lies about your intentions.  You can’t expect the Father of Lies to tell the truth!  That is absurd.  And the only way to deflect a lie is…to not give it the time of day!!!!  If you try to defend yourself it then becomes your word against the lie.  You keep doing what God has put into your hands to do and let God defend you.  When you try to defend yourself you are only digging the whole deeper.  How?  Because it makes you people-focused rather than God-focused.  When you get tangled up in trying to convince people of the truth they should already know about you, you are placing them as judge over you and the liar.  Instead turning to God as Judge and let Him deal with your accuser.  You will ALWAYS come out better when you keep focused on what God has for you to do instead of trying to prove the enemy wrong.  It is just another tactic of the enemy to get you to stop accomplishing the God-task.

Nehemiah 6:5-14

Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand.  In it written: It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king.  And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, “There is a king in Judah!”  Now these matters will be reported to the king.  So come, therefore, and let us consult together.  Then I sent him, saying, “No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart.”  For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.”  Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.  Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah…, who was a secret informer; and he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you.”  And I said, “Should such a man as I flee?  And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!”  Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.  For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might gave cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me.  My God remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid.

When you turn to God He will reveal the “snitch”, the “pot-stirrer”.  There was no reason for Nehemiah to go hide in the temple.  God would defend him and remind the people all Nehemiah had done.  Once again, if Nehemiah had gone into the temple he would have appeared in fear rather than a force of faith that he had demonstrated to the people from the time he arrived.  Not once, during the threat of war, when Sanballat had gathered an army against the people of Jerusalem, did he instruct the people to tuck-tail and run.  Nehemiah wasn’t about to do it now when the enemy was directing his threats toward him personally.

When God reveals the pot-stirrer you will need to confront him with the “advice” he has given or lies he has told and release him into God’s hands.  He is then the one who needs to run into the temple and get things right before the Almighty who called you, positioned you, and empowered you to the task before you.  Nehemiah has a great relationship with God.  Over and over again we have seen him deal with an issue, a conflict, a threat, a lie, inherited problems and after addressing the problem with a plan of restoration he petitions God to remember him.  That is some kind of relationship with God.  He is confident that he has dealt well with the conflict the way God would want, so much so, that he asks God to remember what he has done.

Can you imagine that?  Most of the time we left something out that we know we should have done to be completely honoring toward God and His ways that we hope God will not bring this up again.  But Nehemiah is so bold in his dealings with the problems that he asks God to remember what the problem was and what he did.  That is a leader who is more concerned about what God thinks than the people who are not led by God.  In his mind he has nothing to lose if he totally honors God in all his dealings and everything to lose if he doesn’t!  The most important person you honor is God.  When you honor God, He will direct your path, He will position you, He will protect you, and He will make sure you will finish what He started in and with you!

Do you honor God in all your dealings?  Do you withhold what you know He has directed you to do and say?


Do you try to plead your case or do you keep your hand to the plow and let God be judge and settle the matter?


Do you honor God knowing that He will direct your path, He will position you, He will protect you, and He will make sure you finish what He started in and with you?


The only way to defeat the enemy from these two attacks are to keep your hand to the plow and petition God to work on your behalf.  When doing this, the truth ALWAYS has a way of surfacing and the pot-stirrers always leave!


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Maybe the next verse should say, “Now it happened again…”  As if the enemy doesn’t know when he has been beat he has got to just continue to be that irritating pebble in your shoe.  If he really had the power to stop you, trust me, he would have stopped you!  But God, Christ is you is strong enough to give you wisdom to defeat your enemy and God empowers you with the same power that raise Christ from the dead.  Therefore, if you will stand, if you will not be enticed by the enemy, if you will resist the enemy…he will flee from you!!!  I have read the Bible and found James 4:7, Submit to God, resist the Devil and he will flee from you!  When you believe this, you will act on this and the enemy will will not be able to stop you from completing the God-task.

The problem is not that the enemy is stupid.  He is actually very smart.  Too many of us give up because we can’t see how very close we are to accomplishing the God-task.  Not many of us will ever have to build a wall around a city so there is not a gage by which we can measure how close we are to completing the God-task.  But know that when the enemy comes to lure you specifically that the end is almost near.  We could go back through Nehemiah and just look at the strategy of the enemy to see his tactics.  Sadly, they work all too well which is why he doesn’t have to come up with new ones.  For Nehemiah, the enemy has come again when there are no breaks in the wall.  The doors had not been hung but the wall had been rebuilt.

Nehemiah 6:1-4

Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuild the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm.  so I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down.  Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?”  But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.

I don’t know if Ono has the same meaning in Hebrew as it does in English.  But if anyone tries to lure you to a place called Ono, take my advice, “Don’t go!”  There is a whole lot of trouble waiting for you in a place called Ono.  The name itself should give you a clue that you are not to go.  You don’t need God to write the answer in the sky.  I would say it is pretty clear.

The enemy sent letters saying, “Come, let us meet together…”.  First of all, you NEVER meet with the enemy, you take the enemy out!  If you are trying to explain yourself to the enemy then you have opened yourself up for discouragement.  He doesn’t care one bit about what God has called you to do or the “authority” God has given you.  But anyone who will talk to the enemy will find themselves questioning their call and authority.

Nehemiah was smart enough to realize that if he left the work to go down and meet with the enemy that work would stop.  This is so very important to understand and probably the best reason to keep on, keeping on.  Work will stop when the enemy can entice you to meet with him.  When you stop working others stop working.

And here is your victory, the enemy sent the message four times and Nehemiah responded the same way four times.  Don’t waste your words!!!  When the enemy comes to your door with a message, don’t open the door!!!  Tell him two things, “No!” and Good-bye!”

Do you weary when the enemy summons you to meet with him?


Do you abandon your God-task to go meet with the enemy?


Do you leave your work to another so you can go meet with the enemy?


When the enemy asks the same request of you, answer the same way, “No!” and Good-bye!”  Get ruthless with the enemy and continue more steadfast in the God-task!!!

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Do you see what you do as a job or placement?  When you look at what you do as a job you are seeing it for how it can serve you, what you are going to get out of it (i.e. benefits, pay, vacation time, etc.). You weigh whether what they are asking/requiring of you is what you are willing to give. However, when you look at what you do, where you are, as being placed (by God), you are looking to invest what you have where you are and learn from others to better the whole.  

Viewing yourself as being placed in a position also lends to the idea that you realize you may not be there permanently so you have a certain time period of giving/investing what you know to the people around you and learning what you will need for the next place you will be.  I don’t know that Nehemiah ever thought he would be anything other than the king’s cupbearer or go anywhere other than where the king went, however, he obviously had a pretty clear understanding on successful leadership.

Nehemiah 5:14-16, 18b

Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year until thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the governor’s provisions.  But the former governor who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver.  Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God.  Indeed, I also continued the work on this wall, and we did not buy any land.  All my servants were gathered there for the work…I did not demand the governor’s provisions, because the bondage was heavy on this people.

Because Nehemiah was a cupbearer to the king of Persia, he would have seen the lavished provisions of the king being thrown away.  Have you ever made a judgement on someone else’s lavished provisions and then later you were in a similar situation and you made the same waste?  There is something that makes you respond with entitlement toward making life difficult on others to make yourself feel more important.  Nehemiah had that chance but instead of being wasteful with the provisions allotted to him as the governor he refused to continue as those who held the office before him.  He did not put heavy burdens on the people, he worked the wall, and did not buy land.

Now that you are a leader in the God-task, do you put heavy requirements on the people who serve with you, the ones you are supposed to be helping to make their life easier?


Are you leading in the God-task as those before you or have you learned from your previous placement how to accomplish the God-task without stressing the lives of the people around you?


Nehemiah went from being the servant of the king to governor of the people.  Nobody starts out as a leader.  At some point we were all in a position of serving with the option of learning from those we served with.  Who would have thought that Nehemiah would know how to rule a people when he was only a cupbearer.  After being a servant you would have thought he would relished in the opportunity to live-it-up as the governor.  Rather than having his meals rationed he could indulge.  This is the difference between job and placement.  In a job you are there to get everything you can out of it but being placed you are there to make it better than it was before you arrived.  Nehemiah embraced being governor as a placement not a job.  Therefore, he held the position as to what he could do to better the “whole” rather than looking at it as a job which would lend to getting out of it what he could.

If Nehemiah would have seen being a cupbearer to the king as a job instead of being placed by God he would have missed out on being in the king’s inner circle.  He was the cupbearer, this means any time the king wanted a drink Nehemiah had to be there. So when the king was in court, Nehemiah had to be present, when the king summoned his generals for war council, Nehemiah had to be there, and when the king entertained foreign guests, Nehemiah heard it all.

Nehemiah would have seen the shrewdness of the king and watch strategies unfold.  He saw which things worked and which ones didn’t.  Not that he would have ever given council to the king but with all he saw, he could have been prepared if the king ever asked.  Preparation for the God-task generally lies in the balance of what you have contributed and learned in where God had you placed prior.  You can’t think, one day when I get my opportunity, God will teach me what I need to know.  Sure, He will teach you, but He expects you to come to the table with things you have already learned from where you have been before and what you have already done.

Do you see yourself as placed in the position or your position as a job?


Even if you are never asked to give your input, are you watching to see how others are leading?


Every placement sets you up for the next God-task.  Even though you may not have a clue as to what it will be, are you listening, watching, and investing where you are at?

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Building the Wall Day 48

Facing a reality bigger than our understanding can be a tremendous challenge.  Nehemiah 5:14-19 seems out of place because it is either not chronological with the happenings of building the wall or there was a change in government offices a the same time.   

God’s timing is impeccable!  There was a reason Nehemiah went at that specific time.  There was a greater problem than the lack of wall around the city.  God used what Nehemiah “saw” as the need to position him to be the source of restoration to the people, their families, and their future.  Nehemiah probably never saw himself more than a cupbearer to the king, but God saw him as governor to the people of Judah.

Nehemiah 5:14

Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah…

I can hear him now, “Where did this come from?  I am just a cupbearer.  What do I know about policies, leading people, holding an office?”  Nehemiah thought he was there to lead in rebuilding the wall, the king and queen wanted him to return asap and now God steps in and reveals “His” agenda.

How would Nehemiah have responded if God had shared with him from the beginning that he would not be returning as cupbearer to the king for 12 years because God was positioning him as the governor over Judah?

Sometimes we can’t handle knowing God’s full plan because we wouldn’t agree to it, the cost would be greater than we wanted to give or we would disqualify ourselves because we wouldn’t feel capable.

When God reveals more than you can handle do you find yourself unwilling to move forward with God?  When the God-task doesn’t go as planned, especially when it requires more than what we had originally agreed to give, there is a tendency to feel we are justified in getting ourselves out of it and telling God, “No”.

When God reveals more than you can handle do you find enough excuses to prevent you from stepping into the position He has called you to?

When you are already in the midst of the God-task and He reveals more do you struggle with feeling, “You didn’t tell me this…this is not what I agreed to.  I am only here to help rebuild the wall.  I am headed back, the king and queen need me…”?  It can seem so sneaky of God to wait until we get there and involved when He opens our eyes to a much bigger plan something our mind could not conceive.  It dawns on us, “You have positioned me for so much more than motivating the people to rebuild the wall.”

Do you get “put off” by God when He pulls a Jehovah Sneaky on you?

Now, we have a decision to make.  Are we in it for what we thought we were to do or are we willing to see it through according to God’s plan?

When God assigns you a task it generally comes with problems that were already in place BEOFRE you arrived.  The caution when accomplishing the God-task is to see that “it” positioned you, “it” is what got you there to do the greater reality of God’s plan.

When we are singularly focused on the “what” of the God-task we tend to miss the real reason we were positioned to the God-task in the first place.  The God-task will always be about the people.  The task just gives you the reason you need to agree to be positioned where God wants you.

Are you willing, wholeheartedly to fulfill the God-task according to all God positioned you to do?  Even the hidden things you cannot see and do not know?

The God-task is always bigger than what you can see and will require more of you than what you agreed to give.  When Nehemiah went to Jerusalem, he planned on leading the people to rebuild the wall, set the gates, and hang the doors.  His heart ached for the people to no longer live in reproach or in great distress.  This ache is what made him the leader for the God-task.  God needed a leader who would care about the people and make the sacrifices to bring restoration to the people, their families, and their future.  Would He use you?

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Nehemiah had asked the people to give and give some more, and the people obliged.  However, it would seem the people were getting concerned he might follow in the footsteps of those before him because he was asking so much.  Nehemiah didn’t hold a position over them, yet, but he did have the authority to get them to do something.  Their current and former authorities had abused their authority, would Nehemiah?

There were a number of problems the people had been facing for years and the biggest one is that they were in the middle of a famine.  The famine had led to them having to sell their land and vineyards, and their children were being forced into slavery.  They needed Nehemiah to do something for them.  Besides, what good is a wall if you no longer have a home, your family is starving or slaves in different households?

Their own brethren had taken advantage of them.  They had exploited their own instead of working together to get through the famine.  As a leader, Nehemiah had to address the situation.  He could let this pass under the bridge and continue to push the people to fulfill the God-task he had been called to or he could see that the God-task revealed another problem he could help with.  As a leader called by God, we have a responsibility  to see to the personal needs of the people who serve with us.

Have you ever been hung out to dry?  The leader over you should have defended you, should have set the record straight, but didn’t.  I don’t know what is worse, when a leader ignores the wrong done to you or is afraid to deal with the problem-maker so they ask you to take the “high road” and rise above the injustice that was done toward you.  Either way, as a leader, we would be in the wrong.

As a leader, it is NEVER okay to let an injustice take place no matter who the offender is or how important you think it is to complete the God-task.  If you hang your people out to dry, you just might never get the God-task finished!  The offender will never give you their loyalty and you will have lost the one you deemed as unimportant, less than and of little value because, as the leader, you could have made right on the injustice done.  A great leader will fight for the injustice being done to his people!

Nehemiah 5: 1-13, in verse 6 Nehemiah records, “And I became very angry when I heard the outcry and these words.”  It is good when a leader feels the injustice done to the people he serves and addresses it.  Nehemiah doesn’t wait for those doing the wrong to fess up, he goes to them, addresses the problem, “Then they were silenced and found nothing to say” (verse 8).  That is some kind of chat and he got them to promise to make things right!  His boldness to address the people who were in the wrong did not end there.  In verse 13, Nehemiah is so bold, that he releases God to deal with their treachery if they should not fulfill their promise!  That is huge!!!  Thankfully, these people still feared God so they did as they promised.  But if he had not addressed it, they would not have made things right toward their brethren.

Is there an injustice you need to deal with?

Are you waiting to see if the abuser will feel convicted or do you see that God has given you the opportunity to confront the problem?

As bold as it may seem, Nehemiah was right to bring God into it.  This takes Nehemiah out of being the judge and having to make sure they do what they promised.  Their issue is not with Nehemiah.  Nehemiah had to remind them who they would answer to for their actions.

If you don’t deal with the injustice then you don’t really have God’s heart for the people he has sent you to serve.  Difficult words but we must deal with the truth.  The God-task is always about the people not the “doing” of activity.

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Flourish or fizzle in the God-task you have been given reminds me of the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22. He comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life?”  And Jesus gives him a list.  You can hear the delight in the rich young ruler’s response, “Jesus, I have done all these thing from my youth.”  Jesus looks at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack…

Most of us have to face, acknowledge, and overcome that “one thing” that continues to cause us to fizzle in the God-task we have been given.  Your time before the Father yesterday going over “the list” might have left you feeling confident that you are an encourager like Nehemiah, listening well and responding in wisdom, that you keep God before the people who are with you in the God-task, you follow through with the strategy that you have given the people, and you give clear communication.  So what is it?  Why do you see the God-task fizzling instead of flourishing?  What is that “one thing” that holds captive the fulfillment of the God-task?  Why can’t you ask more of your people as Nehemiah continues to do?

Here is the kicker, this is why Nehemiah can ask so much…

Nehemiah 4:23

So neither I, my brethren, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me took off our clothes, except that everyone took them off for washing.”

It is easy to follow the leadership of a person who has the complete support, dedication, and hand-to-the-plow of the people he brought with him.  “So neither I, my brethren, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me”, they did not come and just give direction and tell the people what to do, they were doing everything they were instructing the people to do.  This is so very important to understand.  A leader must fight against taking advantage of the the people and the position he has been given.  When it is time to do the God-task, it is time to “do” the God-task.  We, as a leader, can fall prey to the deception that we are elite, we don’t have to be a part of the “doing” since “we” are the leader.  The best leaders come under and serve, they get their hands dirty with the work of the God-task, assisting everyone in the God-task with completing their part without taking it over.

Nehemiah had given up palace living, soft hands, good food, cleanliness, and regal clothes as he served the king of Persia, to be in a dirty, stinky place doing hard work.  His hands probably bled the first week until calluses replaced the scabs of the blisters that had formed the first day.

This is difficult to face, we as a leader of the God-task are responsible to the people to “be an active part” of assisting others in fulfilling their task to complete the God-task assigned to the “whole”.  When a leader comes under and helps everyone else succeed  in the task, the section of the wall they are rebuilding, the leader succeeds as well. God doesn’t assign the leader just because he was given the “what to do” but because God knows the leader can handle the extra responsibility of being the leader by helping everyone else succeed in what they do.  The God-task you have been given will always require more of you than those you are leading.

Ask God to reveal to reveal your heart of superiority over the people you lead.

Seek forgiveness for your ignorance or pride in thinking you didn’t have to “do” the work “with” the people you lead.

Ask God to give you the wisdom and strength to know how to help others succeed.

Ask God to change your heart so you are willing to give everything you have to see others succeed and when you feel like you do not have more to give ask God to give you more.

Nehemiah and those he brought with him from the capital, didn’t change their clothes except to take a bath.  It is easy in the mindset of our world today to shortchange ourselves of success because we are convinced we need a break and can let others do the work.  A leader of a God-task cannot afford to be deceived into thinking they can take a rest while others do their job.  If so, fizzle of the God-task will lead to it’s incompletion.  But if you will rise early and seek the Lord to give you strength when you feel you do not have any more to give you will see a miracle happen in you and the fulfillment of the God-task flourish to completion!

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