Sunday, 24 January 2016

Re-building the wall - Part 2 - A story of success

Nehemiah understood the importance of preparation and so should we. Preparation is important in our personal lives, our working lives, our Christian lives, everywhere

In Part 1 of this article (link), I considered the human desire for success and that each year a great deal of money is spent on books and other material to try to find the 'secret' of success, however this is not actually a secret at all, as the formulae for success is freely available in the Word of God. In order to demonstrate this I looked at the story of the re-building of the wall of Jerusalem, which can be found in the Old Testament in the book of Nehemiah. I explained that a few months ago whilst reading the book, God planted the following question in my mind; ‘How was it possible for the wall of Jerusalem to be re-built in just 52 days?’ Nehemiah 6:15 ‘So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days’. As I started to look into God’s Word for an answer to this question God showed me five factors that made Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem successful in completing the wall within just 52 days; Prayer, Preparation, Passion, Perseverance and Perception (The five P’s). In Part 1 I discussed the importance and significance of prayer and in this article I will consider two further factors, preparation and passion. Part 3 will conclude with perseverance and perception.

Preparation – Note that Nehemiah did not rush blindly into the task, in fact if you read Nehemiah 2:13-16 you will see that he took the time to prepare by inspecting and surveying the wall first; ‘By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. 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; so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and re-entered through the Valley Gate. 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’. Before embarking on the task ahead Nehemiah decided to work out the scale of the job and what was needed.  He kept quiet until he was confident that he knew what was required and he did not make any rash statements or make any promises he could not keep.
How many times have we started something without sufficient preparation only to end in failure? How much time have we wasted trying to get a new gadget or appliance to work because we have ignored the instruction manual? How many times have we got lost because we have not prepared for the journey ahead? Nehemiah understood the importance of preparation and so should we. Preparation is important in our personal lives, our working lives, our Christian lives, everywhere. There are numerous references to preparation within the Word of God including; Proverbs 24:27 (NLT) ‘Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house’ and Matthew 24:42-43 ‘Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into’. The old adage ‘if you fail to prepare then prepare to fail’ emphasises the importance of preparation and how this is important to success.

Passion (Love) - If we have a real passion, even love for something then we are unlikely to fail.  Nehemiah had a passion for God and for his people, a real love. Look at the words Nehemiah uses; Nehemiah 1: 3-6 ‘They said to me, 'Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire. When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. Then I said, 'O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel'. Nehemiah’s passion to re-build the wall of Jerusalem was motivated by his love for God and love for the people of Israel.  In our own lives, if any of our loved ones are in need and require our help we do not need to think about helping them, we just do it.  This is what love is and by demonstrating love we are following the command of Jesus who tells us to love; John 15:12 ‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you’ and the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us ‘So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love’. If we have a real passion or love for something then anything is possible, as Nehemiah demonstrated by re-building the wall of Jerusalem in 52 days.

It is worth understanding why Nehemiah was so passionate about re-building the wall and what drove his motivation;

1. The lack of fortified walls around the city left the people defenceless against enemies. Weather, wild animals, opposing people, and other opponents could easily enter and cause trouble for to the people.

2. A city with broken walls revealed a defeated people. The Jews who had returned to their homeland were both living in unsafe conditions and humiliated at living in a destroyed city. (Nehemiah 2:17).

3. Rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls would show God’s blessing upon His people again. (Nehemiah 1:9).

4. Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was an important sign to the enemies of Israel. Nehemiah told their enemies. Nehemiah 2:20 ‘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’.

5. Rebuilding the walls showed that God was with His people(Nehemiah 6:16)

In Part 1 I discussed prayer and in this article I have discussed preparation and passion. In the next week’s final part of this blog I will consider the final two of the 5 P’s (Perseverance and Perception) that contributed to the successful completion of the re-building the wall of Jerusalem.

Author: Gary O’Neill

May God bless and enrich your life

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  1. Wonderful Blog, thank you so much for sharing the Blessing. ALL the Glory to God ALWAYS Amen. Love Tina

  2. Thanks for the wonderful and encouraging words of God may the Lord bless you Gary and we look forward to the next one. Herbert and inie