NO PLACE FOR LONE RANGERS
Consoling God, I pray for those who feel alone today. Remind them of Your presence and bring into place those who can lift them up.
Read Nehemiah 2:11–20
Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem’s Walls
11 I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days 12 I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on.
13 By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal[a] Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; 15 so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate. 16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work.
17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.
They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.
19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?”
20 I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”
a Nehemiah 2:13 Or Serpent or Fig
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIf you are isolated and feeling alone, know that today people are praying for you and asking God to meet your needs.
These first chapters of Nehemiah could be a Hollywood film script, couldn’t they? We’ve had the opening scene: obscure servant hears of a crisis and decides to fix it. Scene 2: he makes his plans and is commissioned by the king. Now in scene 3 we find him assembling a band of brothers and giving his inspirational speech.
God rarely calls us to be lone rangers. Even great pioneers, who seem to be striking out boldly alone, know that they need the prayer, support and counsel of others. Leaders need friends and they need disciples. Nehemiah knew he could not complete this great task alone; it was going to take teamwork.
Look again at his patient, wise approach: “after staying there three days…” (11), “I set out… with a few others” (12), “I had not told anyone…” (12), “as yet I had said nothing to [those] who would be doing the work” (16). What can we learn from his methods?
Another Hollywood-style moment is the introduction of the “bad guys” in yesterday’s passage and again today in verse 19. We’ll hear more of them tomorrow…
Where do you see yourself in this story? Are you a visionary leader, a supporter, one of “those who would be doing the work,” an opponent? What is God saying to you about the role you are playing?
Lord, show me how to do my best in the role that You gave me. I just want to honor You.
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