Nehemiah 2:20A I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding…
We are a community of people being restored and called to be restorers! That identity is what I am praying will seep deep in us these next 80 days as we study the book of Nehemiah.
What does it look like to be a restorer, to rebuild the walls of a life or community? The book of Nehemiah is the account of the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was originally God’s dwelling place and means in Hebrew “rain of peace.” In an individual life or community, then, the rebuilding of the walls would be a symbol of re-establishing the shalom of God.
PCC, I’m going to play my cards right now: here are the four objectives I gleaned from the book of Nehemiah that I am praying over us as we live into this identity as restorers. Join me in praying for these four attributes:
- Restorers walk humbly, expectant of Providence. In life, God is an active agent, leading and directing. This is evident in Nehemiah’s prayer life as well as in how He moves in the king’s heart and elevates people to do his bidding. This is seen in both the lives of Nehemiah and his contemporary, Ezra. The book of Nehemiah demonstrates the indisputable role of Providence in a life yielded to Him. This is still true today.
- Restorers prepare to work hard at what God has called them to. Restoring anything is challenging. Nehemiah exemplifies the interplay between prayer, planning, and hard work. These work in tandem. Andy Stanley sums this up well in his book Visioneering: “This [the book of Nehemiah] is a tale of hard work, prayer and (behind the scenes) divine intervention. Nothing out of the ordinary here.” There are no shortcuts in God’s restoration process.
- Restorers are consumed with two priorities: God and people. The projects are simply platforms for their priorities. Although Nehemiah faced a daunting project of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, this project was secondary to the plight of the people. One commentator put it this way: “Nehemiah is regarded as the wall builder in Jerusalem, and this is the theme that resonates in the book. But his story is not only about building the physical walls of Jerusalem for physical protection, it is also a story of building spiritual walls around the people with the Word of God and thus building up the people as well.”
- Restorers are called to long-term faithfulness. Nehemiah faced adversity and conflict in the midst of building the wall. It was a task that required perseverance to see to completion. When the wall was built, he continued to persevere as a governor. New challenges emerged, but the call was the same: Remain steadfast and faithful. The book of Nehemiah concludes with a prayer regarding Nehemiah’s legacy: “Remember me, O my God, for good” (Neh. 13.31). Nehemiah’s heart bled for a legacy of faithfulness. Restorers recognize their mortality, so they have both an urgency about them as well as a desire to be involved in something longer lasting than their mere breadth of years.
This Sunday we’ll dive into the book and will enter into the prayer closet of Nehemiah in Nehemiah 1. I can’t wait to see what God does in this season. Read up, pray up, and come looking to serve this Sunday!
I love being your pastor!