Nehemiah is one of those characters in the Bible that is an unsung hero. We study about Joseph, David, Abraham, and these giants of the faith tend to get top billing, but good old Nehemiah often falls through the cracks. Years ago, I began reading through his story and I was fascinated with him and learned a few things I thought I'd share.
1. Ever had to go to your boss and ask for something big and potentially scary? Nehemiah approached King Artaxerxes with a big request (to return home and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem) and this is how he approached it. He "mourned for some days and fasted, and prayed before the God of Heaven" (ch 1 v 4) THEN he took his request to his boss...fortified by knowing he had laid his needs before the Lord first. Standing in front of the king, having to finally spit out the words, Nehemiah "prayed to the God of Heaven and I answered the king." I learned to pray first, answer second.
2. I'm am not that good at delegating tasks. It's not a control thing ( I think) just more of an unorganized thing. Nehemiah was the master of delegating. Rebuilding the walls of an entire city would be crazy overwhelming, but the Lord gave him the wisdom to assign portions of the wall to the families along that same portion. Every family working side by side soon got the job done. I learned I CAN'T do it alone, and working alongside others makes for a happier me and a well done task.
3. We often meet with obstacles as we set out to do our work, but the right attitude often makes the difference. Nehemiah saw opposition all along the way, including saboteurs who tried to tear down the walls as the people were building them up. I often felt like that when my boys were small and I had cleaned one room, only to come back and find that they had pretty much destroyed it. I would give in to tears and frustration, but not Nehemiah. HE DIDN'T DESPAIR. HE BEGAN TO REPAIR. I learned perseverance and determination from good old Nehemiah.
4. Have you ever finished a job and forgotten to thank those who worked with you? I know I have and later felt so horrible about it. Chapter 8 of the book of Nehemiah shows us that they had a big party to celebrate their finished work. The people were instructed to "enjoy choice food and sweet drinks" and to make the celebration "sacred to our Lord". He knew hard work needed to be rewarded and in his wisdom made provision for that. I learned to remember to take care of my helpers.
One final thought.... it only took the people of Jerusalem 52 days to rebuild that wall. God can do BIG things when His people work together.