Nehemiah Part One Dive
FROM PASSION TO PURPOSE
As I read Nehemiah, I am overwhelmed by how God puts specific gifts and specific burdens into people’s hearts to bring fullness to the work of God and the body of Christ. Just like in Ezra, He provides the right people at the right time, but this time it is the right leaders for the right move of God. I have an intense passion for God’s Word and it motivates me to do what I do here at Trash Your Bible. But not everyone has that passion; I chatted to someone the other day who has a passion for editing and we were so grateful to put that passion to work on our website (love you Mary!). Again, I chatted to another person who has a passion for designing clothes, another person publishing Bibles, another making money to support the Church – all valuable pieces of the incredible puzzle called the Kingdom of God!
Before we begin our journey of seeing your passions come to pass, let’s check out the cross-over between Ezra and Nehemiah. Did you notice that King Xerxes gives a quick appearance in Nehemiah 4:6? This is the same Xerxes that we find in the Book of Esther. Also, King Artaxerxes is the same guy mentioned in Ezra 4:7 and the Governor of Trans-Euphrates is also mentioned in Nehemiah 2:7-9. This is why we have chosen here at TYB to read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah together, so you get to see the cross-over of people and events. Nehemiah 4 even has the same title as Ezra 4: ‘Opposition to the Rebuilding’ – this is like de-ja-vu!
THE PERSON OF PURPOSE
From the beginning of this beautiful book, we are introduced to Nehemiah, not just as a character in the story but in first person – these are Nehemiah’s words. We want you to notice and highlight from the beginning Nehemiah’s passion for the Walls. If you are reading Ezra and Nehemiah together, we have walked through Joshua and Zerubbabel and their passion for the Temple, Ezra and his passion for the Law of Moses and now the next large piece of the puzzle is being put into place: Nehemiah and his passion for the Walls of Jerusalem. Throughout the Book of Ezra the focus is on building the Temple and the Walls are not mentioned or considered until Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem. I love this, you bring your own passions and your piece of the puzzle to the body of Christ. Others may not understand or share your passion but that is only because it’s yours.
As you read Nehemiah, write in your margins what your passion is, start to dream and imagine how to outwork your passions just like Nehemiah did. Now, as mentioned in the Snapshot video, this book is written by Nehemiah, so we get to hear his heart, his passion exposed, his prayers and his frustrations. You are going to love this as you really feel like you are involved in the story.
BEGIN WHERE YOU ARE
Did you notice what Nehemiah does for work in the second chapter? He is a cupbearer; he was serving the king wine when he got the chance to tell him his passion for the Walls of Jerusalem. You are positioned for a purpose. Today, you might not know why you are serving where you are and you might be frustrated in being a servant, but when the passion and call of God comes on you, you will realise just like Nehemiah that you have been positioned for this very purpose. So stay planted and stay serving.
What struck me the most about reading Nehemiah was the specific things that fuelled Nehemiah’s passion and I think we can learn a thing or two from how he brought those passions to reality. This cupbearer had a passion and burden. Now let me show you some things to help you activate the call of God in your life, as we walk through the journey of Nehemiah fulfilling the burden of God on his life.
Nehemiah begins with seeking God’s wisdom, favour and counsel over all that he did. He didn’t just act on the burden but he took the burden to God in prayer and got Him involved.
Take the first step
Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king and even though he was terrified (Chapter 2:2), he stepped out in faith on the foundation of prayer (Chapter 2:4) and asked the king for help. There has to be action with your prayers.
Be bold and prepared
Nehemiah didn’t just ask the king to go and help build the Walls, he asks the king for letters to the Governors of Trans-Euphrates to provide safe conduct. If you have just read Ezra, you might remember these guys as they are the same enemies that stopped the building of the Temple (Ezra 5:3). Nehemiah strategically deals with these guys before he even gets to Jerusalem.
Step into your calling
The next thing Nehemiah does is go to Jerusalem. He puts his passions into practice, not just praying but putting his prayers and favour into action. He gets to see the reality of his heart passions as he walks at night and checks out the Walls.
Overcome the enemies taunts
In Chapter 2:19, Nehemiah had to overcome the taunts of the enemy and his response is awesome! ‘The God of heaven will give us success’. He knows where his help comes from and who is wanting these walls built, even more than him.
God will provide the people
After dealing with the mockery, they start building and God provides the people for each section of the Gates.
Keep building no matter what comes against you
Nehemiah had to overcome the people, enemies and discouragement to keep going. Notice that he keeps his faith in God and keeps reminding the people that God is with them. I love Nehemiah’s strength in the midst of persecution, he prays and recognises every attack to intimidate their plans.
Use your favour for good
The last point that I want to make in this post is that Nehemiah used the favour God gave him, not just to build the Walls – his original passion – but to help others and to set things in right order.
You are going to love journeying this book with Nehemiah as we get a front row seat into the leader’s life and thoughts as he steps into all God calls him to be. Be encouraged and inspired today that your passion is your piece of the puzzle needed in the Church, marketplace and community. As you take the steps that Nehemiah did, God will open the doors and give you influence to do things that you never thought or imagined possible. So be bold today in the passions God has given you and continue in these life lessons as you read of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the Walls of Jerusalem.