Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rise and Build

UV 536/10,000 Nehemiah 2 v 18 Rise and Build Nehemiah 2 v 18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work. It is the role of the leader in the church or God’s Kingdom to inspire and enthuse the people to build the church and God’s Kingdom. Nehemiah, the cupbearer to the king risked incurring the displeasure of the king but he looked for an opportunity to win his favour and petition the king to help him rebuild the fallen walls of Jerusalem. He moved out of his comfort zone and made personal sacrifices in order to do so. For the ancient Jews to rejoice when the temple was in ruins, when Jerusalem was overrun by enemies was apostasy. As the Psalmist wrote, “ How can I sing in a strange land?” When the city and the temple of God is in ruins, it is an open reproach to everyone. Nehemiah was moved in his heart and spirit to remove that reproach. As a royal official, Nehemiah enjoyed certain creature comforts in the palace of Susa but he was ready to forego all that and sought the king’s permission to undertake the long journey back to his homeland. But, he did not seek to undertake the task of rebuilding alone or merely with the king’s help. He enthused the people by sharing his experience of God’s mercy and grace He used it as an opportunity to glorify God and to build faith.. Building the church and God’s Kingdom on earth requires leaders with vision and people with commitment who share the vision to do something good or great for God who is the source of all goodness in our lives. It requires a strong sense of individual commitment as well as corporate effort of the whole house of God, the body of Christ, the people who know Him and love Him as Lord and Saviour. Nehemiah was intensely spiritual even as he was completely pragmatic. He knew he needed the king’s patronage not only in terms of raising the resources he needed for the project. . He needed the backing of the king’s authority to put off the formidable enemies of the Jews like Sanballat. He carefully took stock of the need. He secretly and confidentially surveyed the work to be done. Many of the Jews had been taken captive and taken away to distant lands, to the far reaches of the Persian empire. What remained in Jerusalem was a remnant of the race, of the house of Jacob, a demoralized people. Yet, God used Nehemiah to motivate them and take up the challenge of rebuilding from the ruins. It was the Lord who had stirred up their spirit. The people of the Jewish remnant responded by strengthening their resolve and contributing their mite. “ To rise up” means to draw strength and reserves of energy from deep within. Both the poor and the rich elite, the skilled and the unskilled, the talented and the not so gifted among them did not deem it below their dignity or above their means to contribute to physically re-building the wall apart from making contributions in cash and kind. They wanted to re-build a house for God that was even more glorious than before. The work to be done on different sections of the extensive walls of Jerusalem including the gates were divided among the different groups of Jews. From each according to their ability to each according to their need. When they faced opposition and even the threat of physical attacks and mortal danger, Nehemiah asked them to work with a sword in one hand and to build with the other. This is a metaphor in today’s world that believers need to strengthen themselves with the Word that is the sword of God on the one hand and with the other to do one’s calling or profession. The Lord once endorsed me saying, “ All year you have been doing My work as a police officer with one hand and with the other you have been carrying my sword.” When we do so, the Lord will open His hand of blessing upon us, our families and our land and we can testify as Nehemiah did, “ The hand of the Lord is good upon me.” When we move our feet in the direction of God’s will, His hand or His power, grace and provision will become manifest in our lives, families,work and ministry in ways we can neither expect nor predict nor imagine. When it comes to the Lord, expect the unexpected, do and give of your best and He will bestow His best on you. Prateep V Philip

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