And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work … why should the work stop…?” Nehemiah 6:3
Nehemiah asks a tremendous question in Nehemiah 6:3 as we come to our final Sunday in this series on the book that bears his name. Sit and ponder with me the work of restoring, renewing, and rebuilding that God has called you to engage in. Ponder the truth that while this series is coming to a close, God is always working.
Jesus was confronted one day for healing a man on the Sabbath. As He was being pushed to the brink by the religious officials, Jesus gave this rebuke to them, which is such encouragement to us:
“My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17).
It is a statement like this from the mouth of Jesus that brings about the final lesson from the book of Nehemiah that we will unpack this weekend. That lesson is simple: Jesus is a better Nehemiah!
Nehemiah was a tremendous leader. He was passionate, courageous, obedient, humble, assertive, well-planned, God-focused and faith-filled. But he was also human and in the end, as we saw last weekend when Nehemiah traveled back to Babylon, Jerusalem wandered back into disobedience.
So the book closes with a prayer: Remember me with favor, my God (Nehemiah 13:30). And in the final historical account in the Old Testament of the spiritual state of the Jews, they are rebellious. New walls, new temple but void of new hearts that passionately follow Yahweh.
As you ponder this book, place yourself in the story, but not necessarily as Nehemiah.
Identify with the Jews sitting in rubble in desperate need of a Nehemiah to renew, rebuild, and restore what is broken all around you, what is broken within you. Only then, friends, will the next two Sundays be filled with passionate worship for Jesus who rode into those restored walls on a donkey on Palm Sunday and who walked into the rebuilt Temple, turning over tables, only to be led out of the walls to die and rise from the dead so that you and I could be forever renewed!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
With renewed hearts, as people of the resurrection, we can walk with hope that our always working God invites us to join Him in His eternal restoration plan for the hearts of people around us and for what is broken throughout our community!
This Sunday, we will wrap up the series with a “lessons learned message,” reviewing what God has impressed on us during the series. We will also give you a chance to share what you have learned throughout the Nehemiah series with the church. Finally, we will worship Jesus, remembering His triumphal entry on Palm Sunday.
Sounds like an incredible experience for us all! I look forward to being together.
I love being your pastor!