Finding Restoration After Seasons of Neglect

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

fixing brick wall
Nehemiah was given a challenge by God to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls and gates of the city that still lay in ruins. The Temple had been rebuilt and was back in operation, and the people's homes had been repaired. But the walls and gates had yet to be fixed leaving the city vulnerable and open to attack.

This story has much to speak into our personal lives today. For us, the walls and gates represent those things we build into our lives that protect us from attack from the enemy and the infiltration of ungodly influences of our culture and the world around us. These walls represent our character, lifestyle habits that maintain healthy spirituality, personal boundaries, corporate worship, etc. There will be times in all of our lives when God will challenge us to address breaches in our walls as he did with Nehemiah. Meeting this challenge is not easy. It takes hard work and humility to look at the weak and exposed areas of our lives. It takes considerable time and courage because there will be obstacles and opposition along the way. To ensure our ability to go the distance in meeting the challenge, we find some principles from Nehemiah's life that will help us.

To receive God's promise of restoration requires that I be willing to sacrifice something. (1:4)

When Nehemiah discovered the condition of the city walls, his first reaction was to spend considerable time fasting and praying before God. He was willing to sacrifice his comfort to fulfill God's challenge. I wonder if the reason why we don't see breakthrough in our lives today is because we aren't willing to sacrifice for him.

The level to which God speaks to me personally is equivalent to the time I'm willing to wait patiently on Him. (2:1)

From the time Nehemiah first heard about the walls to the time he was released to act, four months had passed. This wasn't because he procrastinated or took his sweet time. He spent four long months doing nothing but waiting for God to speak before he made a move. This is so important. Too often we get ahead of God before he has a chance to give us direction and we end up trying to deal with the situation in our own strength and understanding. We must learn to wait upon the Lord.

The level of spiritual authority God grants me with others is dependent upon my willingness to let him do the talking. (2:4-5)

Nehemiah took great care to make sure that when he spoke, he spoke exactly what God has spoken directly to him. As you read the story you will notice that Nehemiah doesn't give his opinion. He simply speaks the words of the Lord. When we are facing challenges in our lives it is important that we discipline ourselves to filter out all the voices around us, including our own, so that we are focused on his voice alone. If we don't, we get off track.

I can't expect God to go the distance for me unless I'm willing to go the distance for him (2:14-15)

During the process, Nehemiah encountered a major obstacle. He could have given up thinking it was just too hard or too much work. But he didn't. He found a way around it and kept going. Too often we find ourselves turning back at the first sign of resistance. When it gets difficult we quit.

Real success only comes when I put the fear of God above the fear of man. (2:20)

When you decide to rise up to the challenge to address brokenness in your life you will surely find opposition from others. Unfortunately, that opposition usually comes from those closest to you. This is because your attempt to fix the broken areas in your life will only expose the broken things in their lives and they won't like it. They will try to stop you from going any further. Nehemiah was able to not let that stop him because he was more concerned with what God thought about him than what his friends and colleagues thought. I am convinced that if we would follow this simple principle every day, then we would have far less troubles in life.

Always give God the sole credit for the outcome. (2:20)

Nehemiah never once took the credit for anything along the way. He was always quick to give God the honor and glory for his success. Once we take the credit, God begins to withdraw from the process. Give God the glory and he will always keep you covered.

If we will follow these six principles we can rest assured that God will always carry us through whatever challenges we may face. We will then be able to say what David said in Psalm 23: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me."
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