Hey there BCU Family!
As usual, you have two options for this post! Listen in by clicking the icon, read through the text or both! Whatever you choose, we pray God’s word blesses you!
So we are back with another study on one of my favorite books–Nehemiah! What I love about Nehemiah was his fortitude and steadfastness in doing the work of the Lord in the face of adversity. Last time we were together, we looked at Nehemiah chapter 1 to get our background story and basics on Nehemiah. Let’s continue talking about how we can overcome people approval/disapproval starting on Nehemiah chapter 2.
v1)And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. (This was about a 4 month period from chapter 1 in the month of Chisleu and the month of Nisan).
v2Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,
v3And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?
v4Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.
BOOM! This was the king—his employer and Nehemiah said he was SORE afraid (emotion). Rather than letting his emotion overtake him, he prayed—this was his time to put God’s plan given to Nehemiah 4 months prior (end of chapter 1–we find out about it later) into action.
v5And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.
v6And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
v7Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;
v8And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.
Nehemiah calmly asked for time off and then asked for letters to let him pass through to Judah, a letter for timber to make beams for the gates, walls and the house where he would stay. God touched the king’s heart to give him what we wanted. The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, and just like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wants (Proverbs 21:1). Let’s ask God to touch people’s hearts.
v9)Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.
Nehemiah did not ask for captains of the army or horseman at all–it was extra. When we do whatever job God gives us as unto Him, and not unto men, because we serve Christ, He rewards us (Colossians 3:23). When we serve the Lord with gladness as Psalm 100 commands, (yes, even on the job that is trying, but that we should be thankful to have), He will bless us with extras. Ask me how I know? He has done it for me!
v10When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.
While God gave Nehemiah the plan, the enemies came with it. The weapon would be formed—yet not prosper (Isaiah 54:17). All things would work together for good, to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose— but all the individual things that are happening may not good. My cousin Tanyel once said that the ingredients that go into a cookie, raw oatmeal, eggs, flour, sugar, baking soda a stick of butter—individually are not good. I’m not about to sit down to a good bowl of flour! Yet that flour when added to other ingredients and baked, it makes up a delicious confection. Our fiery trials, temptations, rough patches and valleys are a challenge!! They try your faith!!!! But when we mix all those things up and “bake” them we’re a confection for Jesus!! We have to go through the baking process!!!!!
As we look again at verse 10, notice when these folk HEARD the news, they were grieved.
The Horonites and Ammonites were two of the people groups God had driven from the Promised Land for the Israelites. Sanballat (meaning bramble bush—enemy in secret) Tobiah, (meaning God is good) were regional governors serving under the king of Persia. Generations after Israel had first possessed the Promised Land, some of their old enemies were back, seeking to keep Jerusalem in ruins.
If you were around for our study of Ruth we talked about the Moabites—they were enemies from way back.
“An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever:
Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.
Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee.
Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.”
Additionally, Judges 3:12-30 says, the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord strengthened King Eglon of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Here are a couple of key verses:
13In alliance with the Ammonites and the Amalekites, he went and defeated Israel; and they took possession of the city of palms.
14So the Israelites served King Eglon of Moab eighteen years.
Why bring this up, you say? Because typically, you don’t have “new enemies.” Oh sure they may come in a different disguise, but under the surface, it’s the same enemy from out in the world. And it’s usually linked to all that’s in the world—the lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and the pride of life.(1 John 2:16)
Back in the day did you liked the men/women? Lust of the flesh. Coveted/schemed after nice things in a lustful way? Lust of the eye. Like to show-off new things? Pride of life. Lying to save face? Pride of life. Still upset with Kee-Kee for belittling you in 1972? Pride of life. Know your old enemies and stay alert to fight them in the spirit!
These two men were “exceedingly grieved” [to cause great distress to (someone)]. Some other synonyms are: sadden, upset, distress, pain, hurt, wounded, soured, pained dissatisfied, unhappy, all because they HEARD a man came to see about the children of Israel. Not that the walls were broken down or the people were in danger. They were upset because they HEARD Nehemiah came to take care of things. What spirit is that? Pride of life. Pride says:
Why are you helping them?!
You are not good enough. Why are YOU here?
Why should ANYONE look after them?
I’m not helping them—neither should you.
I don’t want to see them prosper. I don’t want to see them better.
Whatever happened it’s good for them.
Who sent you?
Pride is what goes before destruction. Pride is what kicked the enemy and 1/3 of the angels out of heaven. The spirit of pride works through people in subtle and big ways. For example, awhile back, a mechanic asked me what type of gas I put in my car. I KNEW I was all about riding on the cheap, so I’m putting in 87. I MIGHT have put in 93 once or twice. This was a long time ago, so I don’t recall my exact answer, but it was something like sometimes 91, sometimes 87. Immediately the Lord said “pride of life”—you didn’t want to look “cheap” or bad in front of the guy. Did that make sense? Like how would that help? I cleared it up and repented afterwards, but see how fast that spirit works IF you let it? 2 Thessalonians 2:7 says the mystery of inquity does already work in who lets it. Sure, I had the power to resist the spirit, but I gave in and wasn’t trying or intending to. Just.that.fast. So imagine that spirit working through someone is willfully and a practicing sinner.
Folk will be grieved when the Lord gives YOU an idea and the mind to carry it through. Folk will be soured because you preach/teach the Word. People will be distressed because you have a talent to sing and use it to the glory of God. Someone will be pained because you are striving for perfection. Another will be dissatisfied because the Lord blessed you. It’s NOT the person—those adjectives…grieved, soured, sad, upset, dissatisfied have their roots in PRIDE. It is the spirit of PRIDE we have to pray against and guard our hearts against. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
We are SO busy snarling, growling, avoiding, talking about and looking at the person—or fighting them in the flesh, we FORGET as Holy Ghost filled believers, that we have the power of Jesus on the inside to fight that spirit in the spirit. When you fight in your flesh, you’ll get wounded in your spirit. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go to verse 11.
v11So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.
v12And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.
Nehemiah took a few men with him that he trusted, but he kept quiet about what God told Him. Some of our people addiction/fear is because we TALK TOO much to the WRONG people. Why are we telling people we know that won’t support the work we are called to do and get upset when they don’t embrace it?
In Luke 2 around verse 13, after the birth of Jesus, ANGELS came praising God saying glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward men. The shepards were the ones who made it known ABROAD what was said, but Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Did God lead you to share it on social media? When you don’t get likes or shares will it bother you? When someone questions you on the inbox, you get upset—talking about, they won’t let me be great! Isn’t greatest in the kingdom is the one who serves (Matthew 18)? Does the servant tell everyone I’m making moves? Watch out because I’m going to… With God’s grace, do what you are called to do without calling everybody.
BCU Family, did The Word of God bless you? Was there a bit of conviction that came along with it, too? I know it did for me, but that is what the Word of God is designed to do, right? Along with blessing us, it corrects and reproves us as well in order for us to be more like Christ. With God’s grace, let’s take what we learned today and start taking the necessary steps (prayer, fasting, accountability partner, etc.), to stop letting people stop us from doing the work God gave us. Amen? Amen.
Lord will, join us next time as we continue to study chapter 2–the enemy is lurking and God blesses Nehemiah to deal with it beautifully, so do not miss it! Thank you SO much for stopping by, Family! May God bless, keep and, make His face to shine upon you–and until we are together again, #StayOnTheWall!