God is in the business of working through his people to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. God often shapes people with personality traits, experiences, and training that prepare them for his purpose, and usually the people have no idea what God has in store for them. God prepared and positioned Nehemiah to accomplish one of the Bible’s “impossible” tasks.
Nehemiah was a common man in a unique position. He was secure and successful as cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes. Nehemiah had little power, but he had great influence. He was trusted by the king. He was also a man of God, concerned about the fate of Jerusalem.
Seventy years earlier, Zerubbabel had managed to rebuild God’s temple. Thirteen years had passed since Ezra returned to Jerusalem and helped the people with their spiritual needs. Now Nehemiah was needed. Jerusalem’s wall was still in ruins, and the news broke his heart. As he talked to God, a plan began to take form in Nehemiah’s mind about his own role in the rebuilding of the city walls. He willingly left the security of his home and job in Persia to follow God on an “impossible” mission. And the rest is history.
From beginning to end, Nehemiah prayed for God’s help. He never hesitated to ask God to remember him, closing his autobiography with these words: “Remember me with favour, O my God.” Throughout the “impossible” task, Nehemiah displayed unusual leadership. The wall around Jerusalem was rebuilt in record time, despite resistance. Even Israel’s enemies grudgingly and fearfully admitted that God was with these builders. Not only that, but God worked through Nehemiah to bring about a spiritual awakening among the people of Judah.
You may not have Nehemiah’s unique abilities or feel that you are in a position where you can do anything great for God, but there are two ways you can become useful to God. First, be a person who talks to God. Welcome him into your thoughts and share yourself with him – your concerns, feelings, and dreams. Second, be a person who walks with God. Put what you learn from his words into action. God may have an “impossible” mission that he wants to perform through you.
Strengths and accomplishments:
- A man of character, persistence, and prayer
- Brilliant planner, organiser, and motivator
- Under his leadership, led the nation to religious reform and spiritual awakening
- Was calm under opposition
- Was capable of being bluntly honest with his people when they were sinning
Lessons from his life:
- The first step in any venture is to pray
- People under God’s direction can accomplish impossible tasks
- There are two parts to real service for God: talking with him, and walking with him
- Where: Persia, Jerusalem
- Occupations: King’s cupbearer, city builder, governor of Judah
- Contemporaries: Ezra, Artaxerxes, Tobiah, Sanballat
Key verse: “I told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, ‘Let us start rebuilding.’ So they began this good work” (Nehemiah 2:18).
Nehemiah’s story is told in the book of Nehemiah.
©Dodgsons KingsWay 1973.