Nehemiah was called by God to oversee the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem. It was a daunting task, no doubt, but in Nehemiah’s example we see how to navigate our own new beginnings. Last time we saw how the seed was planted. In this post we’ll consider a key element in any new beginning: resolve.
In chapter 2, Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem and inspected the wall under cover of darkness so as not to draw too much attention. Then he calls all the local leaders together and tells them of his ambitious plan to rebuild the wall.
Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. Nehemiah 2:17-18.
The leadership immediately responded with resolve and commitment to Nehemiah’s new beginning. Why? Because it sounded easy? Hardly. Because it needed to be done? If that was their motivation, it should have already been taken care of. Why did they jump on board? Three reasons stand out.
They understood there was a problem. Jerusalem was vulnerable to attack and would never recover and rebuild as long as its wall lay in ruins. They needed help. They needed something new. Whether it is in our personal lives or in the life of our church, we have to clearly identify the problems that keep us from growing, from moving in the direction God wants us to move.
They understood Nehemiah’s plan would solve the problem. Granted, this solution was pretty obvious. Sometimes in our situations we grab on to plans that may be great by themselves but don’t really solve the issues we need solved. For example, if I’m consistently late for work, buying a new car won’t solve that. Getting a new car is exciting. I may need a car, but it doesn’t address the problem. Things like going to bed earlier and setting my alarm earlier are more likely to help. When it comes to our churches, this can be the most difficult step. We can spend a great deal of time, energy and resources on plans that sound great but don’t actually accomplish anything long term. That’s why the third reason is the critical one.
They understood God was in it. Nehemiah said, “The hand of my God had been upon me for good.” The favor of the king was evidence of that. The fact that Nehemiah was there in the first place was evidence that God was doing something. It’s not recorded, but Nehemiah, no doubt, told them of his prayers and fasting, of his burden for them and for the city. When it was clear God was behind the plan to rebuild the wall, notice there weren’t any complaints or any negativity, just resolve backed by action. We should have that very same resolve when we know God is in our plans.
Next time, we’ll discover another key factor in a successful new beginning – courage.