God is sounding an alarm in this hour, challenging people of His name to awaken, arise, and advance to action.
My faith is challenged by the story of Nehemiah. He gives up a lofty position as cupbearer to Persian King Artaxerxes I in order to identify with the plight of his people Israel.
God gives him a mission. A mission linked to His covenant, purpose, and promise to the people of His name. A mission that would start at repentance and would result in the rebuilding of the walls, which would lead to restoration, revival, and reformation.
It begins when Nehemiah receives word from from Judah in Nehemiah 1:3 KJV:
“And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.”
The remnant, the survivors left from captivity, are barely surviving. What was suppose to be a life of freedom and blessing had become a life of distress and peril as they became a reproach (object of scorn) to their enemies.
How could a people of promise become a people of reproach?
This was due in large part to the ruined condition of the wall. The wall of Jerusalem has been broken down and it’s gates burned with fire.
In the ancient Middle East, a city wall provided protection for the inhabitants. The condition of a wall was also seen as an indication of the strength of the people’s gods. The ruined condition of the wall of Jerusalem reflected poorly on God’s Name.The walls were meant to protect from the outside forces and false idol worship. But because of the ruined state of the walls, there was some worship of God but it was mixed with worship of foreign idols and influences as well.
Upon receiving this news, Nehemiah is burdened to the point of intense intercession and repentance on behalf of himself and his people.
"And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven," (Nehemiah 1:4 KJV).
Through the prayer of an intercessor, God’s promise, His word, that had seemingly been forgotten and lost by His covenant people, was brought to the forefront once again as Nehemiah humbly asked God to remember His promise.
"Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to SET MY NAME there," (Nehemiah 1:8-9).
The meaning for the original word for “set” means to settle down, abide, dwell, tabernacle, reside, establish, remain.
Just like the Lord chose the city of Jerusalem to set up His Name, He has chosen a body, a bride, a church to set up His name. A people that would abide in Him and He in them.
Just like God called Nehemiah to intercede and stand in the gap for the people of God and stand on His word to the point of fulfillment, He is still calling a people of His name to repent, and call upon Him and restate and reclaim His promises. He’s calling a people to rise up and through unified prayer and humility, rebuild the walls. We are in the world but certainly not of it. We must rebuild walls of protection and separation. We are His.
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you," 2 Corinthians 6:17 KJV.
I’m inspired by Nehemiah’s resilience despite the constant opposition he faced. This resilience was anchored in prayer and a desire to obey God. It was rooted in a word from God. He knew without any doubt that the hand of the Lord was upon him.
Because the hand of the Lord was on Nehemiah, God ordered that he would gain the approval and favor of the pagan Persian king to go and rebuild the city of his forefathers. (Nehemiah 2:4)
Not only was he given approval to rebuild Jerusalem, but he was also given letters containing rights of passage to be given to the governors of regions along the way. Nehemiah 2:8 KJV concludes saying, “And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.”
From the onset, the enemy is threatened and he will not give up easy.
"When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel," (Nehemiah 2:10 KJV).
Sanballat and Tobiah were Samaritan leaders. And the prospect of a restored and newly fortified Jerusalem imposed a threat to this Ammonite power.
Upon viewing the ruined walls of the city, Nehemiah explains to the people what God has purposed in his heart.
Nehemiah 2:17-18: "Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work."
Not only is there a mission but there’s a UNIFIED mission backed by God’s hand and the king’s approval. So who can stop it?
The enemy is trembling in fear by this point as this restoration effort begins to advance. Verse 19 of chapter 2, records the first of many attempts to shut down the people of God.
"But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?"
This is the perfect example of how the enemy, because of his own fear and knowledge of his utter demise and defeat, will oppose our kingdom efforts and advancement with mocking and intimidation in hopes that we will abort the mission and concede to fear and unbelief. The adversary also provoked him with a manipulative question. “Will you rebel against the king?”
He had already been given authority and rights of passage by not only the king but the King of Kings!
It’s Nehemiah’s response to the enemy that stirred an excitement within me.
"Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will ARISE and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem," (vs 20).
The Message version lays this out for us. "I shot back, 'The God-of-Heaven will make sure we succeed. We’re his servants and we’re going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of it. You get no say in this—Jerusalem’s none of your business!'" (Nehemiah 2:20 The Message).
He declares that the God of heaven is FOR them! And they WILL ARISE and BUILD!
And you (enemy...doubt, fear, intimidation, unbelief) have no right, no place, no say, absolutely no authority or bearing on the rebuilding and restoration that is destined for God’s people! This city belongs to people of the name! It’s none of your business!
Nehemiah continued to face opposition but He handled it as one who knew without doubt that He was moving forward in the will and favor of God. He remained prayerful and remained committed to rebuking, refusing, and discerning the lies of the enemy.
As a result of Nehemiah’s leadership, the people maintained a mind to work (Nehemiah 3:6) and were strengthened through every opposing force.
Because Nehemiah chose to rise up and be bold knowing God’s desire for his people and actually step outside of the comfort and ease of life in a palace to saying “yes” to the call. The call to revival and restored destiny. The call to victory for people of the name.
He’s still calling today.
Again, I hear Him asking His children, “What would you do for me if you were persuaded you could not fail?”
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31 KJV)
Esther 4:14 (KJV): "For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"