I recently had the honor of reading the book of Nehemiah. I heard bits and pieces of the story, but not enough to know the book. Man oh man! We need more people like Nehemiah in the world. We need people who have a desire to do better in the world.
We all have desires, visions and dreams of things we want to achieve and accomplish in life. Some of them are for our own personal agenda, while God places some desires in us. Since God dwells and live in us, we start to know His secrets and thoughts.
I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart. - Psalm 40:8 (NIV)
1. Have the desire
Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. - Nehemiah 1:2-4 (NIV)
In the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah had a deep concern for Jerusalem. The walls were broken down the people of displays. Others didn’t care about the walls being broken down. Others did care, but not enough to do something about it.
His desire was to rebuild the walls and bring back the people to the Jerusalem. David Wilkerson has called Nehemiah’s concern for Jerusalem a ‘baptism of anguish’. The desire was inside of Nehemiah and it was burning inside of him, waiting, wanting to come out. Every great plan, event, revival, program, whatever you can imagine, started from a desire one had to bring forth change. A desire gives birth to change. A desire gives birth to something that can progress and change the way of life.
2. Pray to the Lord for guidance and favor
Then I said:
Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’
“They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.
I was cupbearer to the king. - Nehemiah 1:5-11 (NIV)
The fact that Jerusalem was there in ruins, really pained Nehemiah. So he took the matter to God. He cried out to God to ask for favor in the matter. He asked for provision. He understood that only God could help achieve what he desired to accomplish. That he needed the favor of God to move in the matter.
A lot of time when we try to create something or do it, we don't ask God for provision. We don't ask for the Grace to do it. So because we don’t ask for Grace, we then start to rely on ourselves. Relying on your strength can be a bit overwhelming and you will soon find out that things start falling apart in the process.
The king said to me, “What is it you want?”
Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 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 ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
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.
I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. - Nehemiah 2:4-8 (NIV)
When you trying to bring your desire to life, you have to seek God in every matter of the situation. Not just the beginning and not only when things are going bad, but every step of the way. This ensures that the desire is not in vain and gets accomplished.
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.” 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. - Nehemiah 2:17-18 (NIV)
Because Nehemiah has sought God about the matter, God gave him favor throughout the reconstruction process, from favor from the King to supplying the resources plus workers and also protection from outside intruders.
3. You will always have haters
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?”- Nehemiah 2:19 (NIV)
When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones! - Nehemiah 4:1-3(NIV)
A lot of people heard what Nehemiah was planning to do. Some were elated that there was someone taking responsibility to rebuild the city and restore hope to the people. However, others were not pleased at all. It made them boil at the thought that someone had the desire to restore what was already destroyed. They threatened Nehemiah and the workers. They tried to trick Nehemiah.
But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.
It is a sin to entertain fear. Fear and faith can't occupy the same space. Nehemiah stood his ground and his faith didn't waiver nor relent. - Nehemiah 4:9; 14-15(NIV)
They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”
But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.”
But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me. - Nehemiah 6:9-13(NIV)
4. Never give up because it’s not about you, but others.
Nehemiah had many trials and tribulations thrown his way to discourage him to restore the city. He had so many obstacles. He could have easily stopped from going any further with his plans. However, he continued to keep his eyes on the end goal. He stayed determined on his desire and didn't give up the dream.
It is God's will to have earth, reflect heaven. Its God desire to have the same things happening in heaven, happen here on Earth.
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. - Nehemiah 2:12 (NIV)
God places his desires in our hearts. He gives us dreams, vision, and goals that give birth to something that will establish the kingdom of God on Earth in a territory or place.
The enemy is scheming to steal the plans the Lord has placed in our hearts. The devil only desires to steal, kill, and destroy. The devil knows that if you accomplished what God called you to do, that many souls will benefit from the end product. Why do you think he tried to tempt Jesus? Because when Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn and man was the reconciled with the Father.
Because Nehemiah was able to succeed in rebuilding the walls, thousands were able to come home and the city of Jerusalem was able to be established again.
Our desires are not for us. They are for others to benefit from. Although you are the one who initiated the desire into reality, it was to change the life of others, whether small or tremendously. Whatever you desire is, keep in mind, it is going to impact the lives of others for the better. Your family’s future generations can benefit from your actions and desire. If there are generational curses, then you can be certain there are generational blessings. Because of you and your legacy, future generations in your family will have a greater advantage in life from it.
5. All the glory belongs to God, not you!
Moreover, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when I was appointed to be t heir governor in the land of Judah, until his thirty-second year—twelve years—neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor. But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels[a] of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land.
Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.
Remember me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people. - Nehemiah 4:14-19 (NIV)
There will always come some sort of recognition or fame, when someone is striving to achieve something out the normal. It causes people to look at you in a different light. This can cause people to forget who really gets the glory. We have to remember God gets all the glory and He definitely will not share His glory with anybody.
Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God. Standing on the stairs of the Levites were Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Kenani. They cried out with loud voices to the Lord their God. And the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah—said: “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting”
“Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. - Nehemiah 9:2-6 (NIV)
Although we make these desires come to life, God still gets the glory. We need to realize that we are just the vessel God favored to use. It wasn’t by your might or power that the desire came to life, but by the spirit of the Lord.
When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. - Nehemiah 6:16 (NIV)
We are here to establish God’s will here on Earth; to establish His kingdom is various different parts of the world. The desires placed in our hearts are waiting to be manifested into the physical. It’s up to us to start it and it up to God to finish the good work. Let stop allowing the enemy to steal what the Father has given us. He is robbing the kingdom and inhibiting it from progressing on Earth.
Is there a desire that God placed in your heart that you let life’s discouragement rob you of? Pray to the Father to restore the passion of the desire back in your heart.