by Steven Chan
During the recent Inter-Congregational church Camp at Genting Awana, bro Kwan exhorted us from the book of Nehemiah.
Here below are some lessons shared by bro Kwan:
We need to focus on God and involve God in the work.
“Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work. (Nehemiah 2:17-18 NKJV)
As the Bible says in Rom 8:31-32: “If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
Like Nehemiah, we need to pray fervently to God for His strength and His wisdom to help us in doing His work. We need to ask God to forgive us our sins so that God can use us (2 Tim 2:21).
We need to overcome discouragement by “being watchful and praying” to God as well as carefully and faithfully working out our plans.
“…and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night. (Nehemiah 4:8-9 NKJV)
We cannot compromise with our enemies:-
“So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.” (Neh 2:20 NKJV).
When we are faced with trials and challenges, we need to look to God for a way to bear with them or to overcome them (I Cor 10:13). God will work out a way for us (Rom 8:28) so that we may be able to overcome disappointments and not be discouraged. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”. (Rom 8:37)
Nehemiah rallied the peole in the face of the threats from their enemies, by asking them to remember our great and awesome God:
“Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. (Nehemiah 4:13-15 NKJV).
We need constant reminder of the power of God.
We must work together.
Nehemiah and the people were able to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem in 52 days because Nehemiah did the following:
He knew what needed to be done. He saw the need. The wall had to be rebuilt. He saw the urgency of the work. It has to be done now. He prayed for 4 months. He sought the king’s permission.
He presented his plans to the people and sought the co-operation of everyone. They worked together:
Neh 5:16: “Indeed, I also continued the work on this wall, and we did not buy any land. All my servants were gathered there for the work”. (Neh 5:16 NKJV).
He was courageous & strong; not fearful of his enemies.
He had great faith in God. So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3 NKJV) The work cannot cease. For the workers of the Lord, there is no retirement.
We must be revived spiritually.
“Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month.
Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and at his left hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. Then all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. (Nehemiah 8:1-6 NKJV)
We must do the work of evangelism and we must also work to build up the brethren so that we can all be strengthened to keep on serving the Lord faithfully.
Nehemiah led the people to pledge their loyalty and commitment to God:
“Now those who placed their seal on the document were: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah,” (Nehemiah 10:1 NKJV)
Are we fulfilling our pledge to serve God?