“Since there are many things that increase vanity, how is man the better? For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? And who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 6:11-12)
I see three difficult questions. How is man the better? I think everyone knows this: when time is gone and nothing is done – you’ve just wasted the time. It is written that there are many things that increase vanity. How is man the better? – Good question. Where to get away from the hustle and bustle? – Of course, the first answer is God – better than vanity! Second question: What is good for man in life? – Of course, it’s God. And the third question: Who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun? – And the third answer: God! And no one can say anything anymore.
Ecclesiastes is an amazing book, mystical. Don’t neglect it. Someone says that it is meant for the initial knowledge of God. It’s a delusion! All Scripture is inspired by God, and this book requires understanding, as does the Song of Songs. It is no weaker in its mystical immersion in depth and knowledge.
The Book of Nehemiah. Rebuilding the City of the Lord.
Let us reflect on the book of Nehemiah, how the ministry that the Lord prepared for His people was carried out.
At that time, there was a great need in Israel to rebuild the city. And it was done by the ministry of the Spirit.
It is very important to understand the difference between the city and the house of the Lord. We meet in Scripture when there is a restoration of the city, as it was in Nehemiah, and the restoration of the house of the Lord, which was under Ezra. We must understand that the city of the Lord is the Apostolic ministry. It was Nehemiah who rebuilt the city. And the house of the Lord is the local church.
The book of Nehemiah teaches about the Apostolic dimension of ministry.
We, as the church of Christ, have major goals in heaven. The church of the Gentiles has a purpose – it is written that we should praise. When she is joined with Israel in heaven, she will praise. She is also called to overcome, in order to sit on the Throne of the Father. The Lord wants to have us sit on the Throne of the Father. Overcomers will sit.
And here on earth, the major goals of the church are to enter into the holiness of God. Without holiness no one will see the Lord, so we need to live a sanctified life. On earth, we need to worship in order to increase worship. It is said in Malachi that incense shall be offered in every place.
On earth, one must comprehend, accept, and manifest the love of Christ. Our purpose on earth is to evangelize the nations, the lost people.
These are the major goals. Keep them before your eyes so as not to lose focus, so that nothing can divert us and lead us astray. Don’t buy anything!
Continue undistracted from the main purpose for which we are called.
Nehemiah has come a long way. There were the steps he made as he built the church of Christ. The first thing that Nehemiah experienced, being far from Jerusalem and carrying out the work of the king’s cup bearer, was contrition for his people. Even the king saw this change in Nehemiah’s face.
The first thing the Church of Christ needs is to identify with the heart of God – about the state of the city of God. It’s to contrite and identify.
“And they said to me: “The survivors who are left from captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please, let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that you may hear the prayer of Your servant, which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned.” (Nehemiah 1:3-6).
Lord, grant us to identify with Your heart today, so that we can feel our churches, to see them the way God sees them.
The second thing Nehemiah experienced was accepting a call to the great work of God. He was a cupbearer, a servant, a small man, a captive.
“But the king said to me: “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing, but sorrow of heart?” So I became dreadfully afraid, and said to the king: “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned by fire! And the king said to me: “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven and said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Juda, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may build it” (Nehemiah 2:2-5 ).
He accepted the call to the great work for himself small. He accepted responsibility. Choosing yourself to such a great cause – to rebuild the city! He believed, accepted the calling of a man who believed that he would become a restorer of the ruins. Choose yourself! Don’t think you’re too small for a big deal. Nehemiah accepted the call to rebuild the ruined city in Israel’s great captivity.
Number 3. Nehemiah received the commissioning when he received his election . It is important to have assurance of commissioning and value this dimension.
And the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him): “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time” (Nehemiah 2:6).
My prayer is that our King may be pleased to send us. He said: “Go!”. Be blessed! Let’s focus on the main goals of our life and let’s not be distracted, confused. We must overcome and rejoice, triumph in the Lord Jesus. Because God has chosen for a certain purpose.
Number 4. Nehemiah examined and assessed the condition of the city.
“And I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. Then I rose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was there any animal with me, except the one on which I rode. And I went out by night through the Valley gate before the Serpent Well and the Refuse Gate, and I viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down and its gates which were burnt with fire” (Nehemiah 2:11-13).
It’s very important to explore. Some come to cities and nations, but don’t explore the place they have come to. Some simply fear the people. But when you are sent, you don’t go to write memoirs, you don’t go to earn money, you go for the people’s sake. And when you forget the main goal – people – you lose it. Therefore, it is very important to assess the condition of what we are doing today, to examine the matter. Assess the true state of your cities and peoples. So that you are not any statistician, but have spiritual prayer, you are informed how to pray correctly.
Number 5. Nehemiah elects the faithful ones for the work.
It is very important to have faithful people around us. This we have learned – that the unfaithful fail us. But be wise! Lift up your faces and don’t fight people – fight the devil. Get engaged in choosing the faithful of God for the work.
“And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work (Nehemiah 2:18).
Nehemiah chose the faithful for the work. What a pleasure and happiness! But this isn’t born out of nothing. And what a disaster when you work with a traitor – who smiles in face, but behind back “forges intrigues.” This is a terrible disaster! The Lord wants to purify us so that we can be blameless in love, faithful to Christ and to each other.
Number 6 – Nehemiah sets the strategy.
“Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They built as far as the tower of the Hundred, and consecrated it, then as far as the tower of Hananel. Next to Eliashib the men of Jericho built, and next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built. Also the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gat; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars. And next to them, Meremoth, the son of Urijah, the son of Koz made repairs. Next to them Meshullam, the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs. Next to them Zadok, the son of Baana,made repairs. Next to them, the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles did not put their shoulders to work of their Lord. Moreover Jehoiada the son of Paseach and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with their bolts and bars. And next to them, Melatiah the Gibeonite, Jadon the Meronothite, men of Gibeon and Mizpah, repaired the residence of the governor of the region beyond the River. Next to him Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs. Also next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, made repairs; and they fortified Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall.
And next to them Rephaiah, the son of Hur, leader of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs. Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph made repairs in front of his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabnia made repairs. Malchiah, the son of Harim and Hashub, the son of Pahath-Moab, repaired another section, as well as the tower of the Ovens. and next to him was Shallum, the son of Hallohesh, leader of half the district of Jerusalem, he and his daughters made repairs. Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They built it, hung its doors with its bolts and bars, and repaired a thousand cubits of the wall as far as the Refuse Gate. Malchijah the son of Rechab, leader of the district of Beth Haccerem repaired the Refuse Gate; he built it and hung its doors with its bolts and bars. Shallum, the son of Col-Hozeh, leader of the district of Mitzpah repaired the Fountain Gate; he built it, and covered it and hung its doors with its bolts and bars, and repaired the wall of the pool of Shelah by the King’s garden as far as the stairs that go down from the city of David . After him Nehemiah, the son of Azbuk, leader of half the district of Beth Zur, made repairs as far as the place in front of the tombs of David, to the man made pool, and as far as the house of the Mighty. After him the Levites, under Rehum the son of Bani, made repairs. Next to him Hashabiah, leader of half the district of Keilah, made repairs for his district. After him their brethren, under Bavai the son of Henadad, leader of the other half of the district of Keilah, made repairs. And next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, the leader of Mizpah, repaired another section in front of the Ascent to the Armory at the buttress. After him Baruch the son of Zabbai carefully repaired the other section, from the buttress to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest. After him Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, repaired another section, from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib. And after him the priests, the men of the plain, made repairs. After him Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs opposite their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs by his house. After him Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah to the buttress, even as far as the corner. Palal the son of Uzai made repairs opposite the buttress, and on the tower which projects from the king’s upper house that was by the court of the prison. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh made repairs. Moreover the Nethinim who dwelt in Ophel made repairs as far as the place in front of the Water Gate toward the east, and on the projecting tower. After them the Tekoites repaired another section, next to the great projecting tower, and as far as the wall of Ophel. Beyond the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house. After them Zadok the son of Immer made repairs in front of his own house. After him Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, made repairs. After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah made repairs in front of his dwelling. After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the Nethinim and of the merchants, in front of the Miphkad Gate, and as far as the upper room at the corner. And between the upper room at the corner, as far as the Sheep Gate, the goldsmiths and the merchants made repairs. (Nehemiah 3:1-32).
Priests, and silversmiths, and merchants, doorkeepers repaired – it is very important to release a strategy when all members of the church can serve, not just one shepherd comes to babies, but when all members serve in the church of Christ. Today we need to develop recovery strategies.
Number 7. Nehemiah rebuffs the intrigues of the enemy.
But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?” 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.” (Book of Nehemiah 2:19-20).
Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm. (Nehemiah 6:1-2).
Many times in life people plotted evil. But it makes builders stronger. Sometimes you don’t stand up for yourself, but you stand for the people of God. You can bear reproach, but you can’t allow the enemy to reproach the people of God – weak, poor, fainthearted. Therefore, the Lord calls us today to be ready to rebuff the enemy’s schemes. Scripture says this was the environment in which Nehemiah ministered. Right under pressure and a hail of attacks, he continued to serve. Make your circumstances an environment for strengthening. Let all the pressure and attacks become our strength.
Number 8. Nehemiah had a sense of purpose and triumphed over his enemies.
He was a сupbearer, a peaceful man. But what wisdom Nehemiah had!
“So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, “From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.” Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, “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. So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah. Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me. Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” So we labored in the work, and half of the men held the spears from daybreak until the stars appeared. At the same time I also said to the people, “Let each man and his servant stay at night in Jerusalem, that they may be our guard by night and a working party by day.” So neither I, my brethren, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me took off our clothes, and each man had his sword and water at hand. (Nehemiah 4:12-23).
Brothers and sisters, prayer and the Word! Let’s get encouraged! When we pray and read God’s Word every day, we come to ourselves, we gather our inner man together. When we stop reading God’s Word, we lose ourselves – we lose the understanding of who we are, we get lost in space, in time, we begin to wander in weightlessness. When you keep reading even with no understanding, you put yourself in order – you cleanse yourself. Try to read the Word every day and pray to God in private, because then you are on the path that leads to eternity. It is very important. It is written that they always had a sword and water at hand.
When you have the Word and prayer, you will not be confused, afraid, because you have the Lord in your heart, the fire of 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?”But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.” (Nehemiah 6:3-4).
Don’t leave the wall! Do your work!
“But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. In it was written: it is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, “There is a king in Judah!” Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together. Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart.”For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.” (Nehemiah 6:4-9).
A spiritual person will never persecute anyone. A man of God does no harm to anyone in life, doesn’t take revenge.
“So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath. Then I posted some of my servants at the gates, so that no burdens would be brought in on the Sabbath day. Now the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. Then I warned them, and said to them, “Why do you spend the night around the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you!” From that time on they came no more on the Sabbath. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should go and guard the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of Your mercy! In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people. So I contended with them and [e]cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved of his God; and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin. Should we then hear of your doing all this great evil, transgressing against our God by marrying pagan women?.. Thus I cleansed them of everything pagan. I also assigned duties to the priests and the Levites, each to his service, and to bringing the wood offering and the firstfruits at appointed times.” Nehemiah 13:19-27, 30-31
Nehemiah completed the cleansing of all Jerusalem, all the people. Let us cleanse our lives of every impurity that we can only have! Some habits, laziness – someone said that the scourge of the mind is inactivity – we need to cleanse ourselves. Our mind must be pure, because without holiness we will not see the Lord.
Nehemiah went to act and instill strategies – he served, gathered the heads of generations, fed people, offered great sacrifices. The law was lifted.
“Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.” (Nehemiah 12:43).
It was the apogee of glory. Nehemiah continued to develop paths to the glory of the Lord. Later, the temple of the House of the Lord was restored, and Ezra restored it. The prophets began to rise – Haggai, Zechariah.
The main message today to the people of God is that we should not be distracted. Do not be weak in spirit, like those of the soul, do not be discouraged. Rise higher, be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. Stop, lift up your faces! Shine!
Don’t let yourself get off the wall! Nehemiah is a great example of the valor, the courage of a man of God! Let this spirit of Nehemiah rise up so that each of us can defend his part of the gate, part of the wall, so that we are not a weak point, but that we stay faithful, strong, like the wall of the Lord, so that we will not be ashamed when the time of retribution comes!