Scripture: Nehemiah 2:17-18
Then I said to them, "You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach." I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king's words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, "Let us arise and build." So they put their hands to the good work.
Insights: Nehemiah had spent time in solitude with God and allowed Him to put thoughts into his mind. Now, it was time for the city council meeting. Notice three very important words used in verse seventeen: we, us, we. Keep in mind that Nehemiah had been living in the palace of the king, he personally had not created the situation in which the Jews in Jerusalem were living, and he was, in many ways, an outsider. Yet he came in an identified with the people and the need of the people. Chuck Swindoll wrote regarding this verse, “When you cast blame and criticism, you squelch motivation. When you identify with the problem, you encourage motivation. But even though Nehemiah identified with the people and was personally concerned about the problem, he did not try to hide the hard facts. He did not plead or threaten; nor was he negative in his approach. He simply said, ‘We've got to do something about this problem. Let's rebuild the wall.’” When we walk into a situation that has gone badly we are either blamers and criticizers or we are come-along-siders and encouragers. Encouragers quickly identify themselves with the problem and work alongside the people to fix the situation. Nehemiah was obviously a part of the latter group of people. As soon as he heard God’s will he surrendered quickly and said, “Let US rebuild this wall.” Tomorrow we are going to look at the manner in which Nehemiah motivated the people as well as the people’s response. Are the people going to surrender to God’s will? Are they going to blame someone else for their troubles? Are they going to get to work and rebuild? Come back tomorrow and find out.
- Are you a blamer and criticizer?
- Are you a come-along-sider and encourager?
Prayer: Father, it is within us all to respond to things in a negative and critical fashion. Help my heart to not respond in such a way. Rather, Lord, let me be an encourager to people. Amen.