Rebuilding the Walls (Facing the Challenge)
Last week, we began a study in God’s word, in the book of Nehemiah. We learned that Nehemiah was a man who was chosen by God to do a great work that had been neglected for many years in Jerusalem. Nehemiah was a man of God and a man of action. He saw a need and he prayed to God for a solution and then he acted. Through great opposition Nehemiah sets out to rebuild the walls around the city of Jerusalem, a task that had gone undone for 90 years after the people returned to Jerusalem after being taken into captivity and enslaved in Babylon for many years. In this study we will see how God was with Nehemiah and the people as they began to rebuild the walls around the city, and how what seemed impossible with man, was very possible with God. It is my prayer that we can take the lessons we learn from Nehemiah, and apply them to our own lives seeing just how important it is to keep the walls strong around ourselves so that the enemy cannot defeat us. We are children of God! It is time to rebuild and make strong the things that have been worn down and made weak. Through Christ we can do all things!
Handout: Rebuilding the Walls
Teachwer's Guide: Rebuilding the Walls
Last week, the first part of our study in Nehemiah, was Recognizing the Need. Like Nehemiah, we must recognize the need before we can rise to action. If we are going to be successful in building or rebuilding our spiritual walls, we must follow the same basic steps that Nehemiah followed when rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem.
Let’s go back for a moment and review. Why was it necessary for walls to be built around Jerusalem? Why is it necessary for us to have Spiritual walls?
Remember, the people of Israel had been taken over, and enslaved in Babylon. Many years later, the exiles began returning to Jerusalem, they started to begin life here again; however they met with great opposition as they began to rebuild the Temple. So they laid the foundation, then they stopped and started to settle into their own homes and they forgot about what God wanted built. (Haggai 1:1-8)
We know that strong walls around a city represent strength and protection. Without the walls built up, the people were very much at risk on every side of attack from their foes, meaning that they risked being enslaved and oppressed yet again by their enemies.
Just like in the days of Nehemiah where they needed a physical strong wall, we today need a Spiritual strong wall to protect us from our enemy, our adversary which is the devil and his workers of darkness. We know that he will always attack the places in which we are weak, those places where the wall is broken down or vulnerable.
1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
Once we have recognized the need for Spiritual walls to be built up in our lives, next we must do as Nehemiah did. We must get on our faces and seek God on the matter. We must seek counsel from God so that He will show us what we need to do. NEVER take action before going to God in prayer and reading His word.
Proverbs 19:21 “There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.”
After we go to God in prayer, seeking His will, then we must take action and obey what He has told us to do. There are so many people who say, the Lord doesn’t speak to them. This is wrong! If you are a child of God, He has spoken to you. Look in His word! God has spoken to us in the written word. This is our instruction guide. God speaks to our hearts, through His written word which is The Bible. We must have this blend. Reading God’s Word and prayer, this combination is our weapon against the enemy. These are what keep us alive and strong, Spiritually.
Luke 11:28 “But He said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”
2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
Nehemiah understood that only through prayer and seeking God, could this immense need be met. He understood that he could not rebuild these walls alone. If God didn’t do it, then it would not be done!
Nehemiah 1:3-4 “3And 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. 4And 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 was a man that was very serious. He knew that God was the only hope for Jerusalem. He did not say some half hearted prayer about this, NO; He opened up his heart to God. He poured it all out there. (Nehemiah 1: 5-11)
It wasn’t just one time, notice in verse 4 it says “I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.”
Nehemiah took some time. He fasted for several days and He prayed, seeking God about this for several months. In fact about four months passed from the time of Nehemiah chapter 1 verse 1 to the events in Nehemiah chapter 2 verse 1.
Nehemiah 1 began in the month of Chisleu or Kislev (November-December). Then in Nehemiah 2 it began in the month of Nisan (March-April). So Nehemiah spent some time in prayer about 4 months he prayed about this issue. He knew that answers would come from God if he would humble himself down through fasting and time with God. In the book of Matthew, the disciples had just tried to cast out a demon from a person and they could not do it. Jesus came and cast out the devil, the disciples ask him why they were unable to do this. Why did we not have this power with God in other words, Jesus tells them that this kind of faith and power with God comes only through prayer and fasting.
Matthew 17:17-21 “ 17Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. 18And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.19Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 20And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 21Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
Like Nehemiah, if we are to rise to live in the plans that God has for us, it will not be without some sacrifice. We are servants of the MOST HIGH GOD and that means that many times we must do things which is hard for our fleshy natures, however God is with us and gives us strength to do those things. As servants, our sacrifice to God is on a voluntary basis. If our hearts are right and pure before God, we understand the need to serve Him and to seek Him because we belong to Him. We know that anything we give up, anything we sacrifice will not be in vain when we do it with correct motives to and for God’s glory! To be a living sacrifice, that is just our reasonable service.
Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
If we are going to build up strong spiritual walls around this temple of God, we must spend some time in prayer and fasting. These things are hard for us to do on our own but do not lose heart Dear Child of God, because He is with you and He will give you strength, courage, and faith to do those things which are pleasing to Him if you earnestly want to obey.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Galatians 5:16 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
Nehemiah 2:1-6 “1 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before; 2 so the king asked me, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart. I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?"4 The king said to me, "What is it you want?" Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, "If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it." 6 Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, "How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?" It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.”
Nehemiah was willing to spend time in prayer and fasting, to sacrifice himself as a servant of God with a burden, a need to be met of God alone and after four months of seeking God about this, God opened the doors for Nehemiah! Please note that the king brought up the matter! God prompted the king to take initiative. What is it that you want, the king asked Nehemiah. Praise the LORD our God, our FATHER is all powerful and when we obey Him, when we seek Him, He will make Himself known to us! God will begin to open doors to us that no one can close when we spend time in prayer and fasting, seeking Him for the things that are lacking in us. He will begin to open the doors we need to build up those strong walls that will protect us against the enemy just as through prayer and fasting He opened up doors for Nehemiah! What God does for one child, He will do for all! What a good God we serve.
Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Praise the LORD, HE IS FAITHFUL
Jeremiah 29:13 “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you:”
This is a promise of God! When we seek Him, when we want to build up those walls so that we are protected against oppression from the enemy, God is faithful and He will open the doors that we need and He will make a way so that we can be successful in the work that He has called us to do!
Just like Nehemiah, when we seek God first, spending time in prayer and fasting, as well as spending time in His word, God begins to bring the opportunities that we need to begin to take action and face the challenge of building the wall. That is when we then can go to the next step in building up those spiritual walls around the temple. It is a process, and just as God was with Nehemiah, He is with you Dear One; He will guide our steps as we continue Facing the Challenge of Building the Wall. God bless you all!
Dear Righteous, Heavenly Father…