Men that Matter: Nehemiah

Men that matter stick to it.

Nehemiah is known for rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem that were in ruins. Many of the Jews were living in captivity under the Persians during this time, but there was a remnant of the Jews who had been able to go back to Jerusalem and live. An extremely high-level overview of the Jewish captivity takes us to 2 Kings 25, when Jerusalem was overtaken and destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar.  Almost 50 years later, Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians, and slowly some of the Jews were able to go back to Jerusalem and live. When we meet Nehemiah, he is the cupbearer for King Artaxerxes of Persia. Nehemiah hears that the walls are still in ruins and the gates had been burned. God puts it on his heart to rebuild the walls. He actually gets permission from the King to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall, but like anything worth doing, it would have its challenges.  

After assessing the worksite and putting a plan in place to rebuild, Nehemiah started the project. Of course, there were enemies of Jerusalem that didn’t want the walls to be rebuilt. Nehemiah 2:19-20 says, When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard about this, they mocked and despised us, and said, “What is this you’re doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” I gave them this reply, “The God of heaven is the One who will grant us success. We, His servants, will start building, but you have no share, right, or historic claim in Jerusalem.’” God gave Nehemiah a clear vision and mission, and Nehemiah 3 tells us of the work he began on the walls and gates of the city, but the threats continued to come his way. Nehemiah 4:7-9 says, “When Sanballat, Tobiah, and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the repair to the walls of Jerusalem was progressing and that the gaps were being closed, they became furious. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw it into confusion. So we prayed to our God and stationed a guard because of them day and night.” 

As the threats continued to come, Nehemiah did not quit. In fact, at one point, we read in Nehemiah 4 that half the men did the work while the other half held swords. Some of the laborers worked with one hand and held a sword in the other hand. He kept building, kept working, and stayed on mission. That’s what men that matter do. They stick to it. They don’t quit. They determine what needs to be done, they put a plan in place, and they work until it is done. In the face of opposition, they adapt but don’t quit. In the face of threats, they don’t get distracted. We see this in Nehemiah 6 when the enemies ask Nehemiah to meet with them. Nehemiah says in verses 3-4, “I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” Four times they sent me the same proposal, and I gave them the same reply.“  He stuck to the mission God had given him until the job was done. Nehemiah spent 52 days rebuilding the walls, and the book of Nehemiah tells us that the Israelites were able to come back to the city.

Men that matter, like Nehemiah, work to become who God created them to become and do what He has led them to do. Men that matter, men like Nehemiah, stick to it. They stay on track in the face of opposition. They look at the enemy and shout, “I am doing a great work, and cannot come down!” They don’t get distracted. They finish what they start. So, what has God laid on your heart to do? It may be a task like building something, such as a business, an organization, or a ministry. He may be leading you to work on your character. He may be leading you to be intentional about being a godly Father, husband, or Son. He may be leading you to serve someone around you. He may be leading you to spend more time with Him. Whatever it is, rest assured that there will be opposition, and in the face of opposition, men that matter stick to it.

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