Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Nehemiah was such a planner. In November/December BC 446, he hears of the troubles of Jerusalem. Over the next 4 months, he prays about the problem and works out what might work. In March/April BC 445, Nehemiah's king (Artaxerxes, also his boss), asks him why he's so sad. Nehemiah answers, and the king comes back and says, "What do you request?" This tells me that either the king knew that Nehemiah would have a plan or that the king just wanted to do something for someone. The latter is basically a nonfactor, considering he was not afraid to kill whomever he wanted (Nehemiah was afraid [2:2-3], see also Esther 4:11 and 5:1-3). So it must have been the former: Artaxerxes knew that Nehemiah would have a plan--after working for years for the king, Nehemiah had established his reputation.

Nehemiah answers the king's question with a plan including traveling to Jerusalem, a set time to be gone, and a request for letters to specific people for specific materials. The king granted everything he asked for (according to the good hand of the Lord upon them).

Once Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem, he rests (plans), surveys the land (alone with his mount), returns, approaches the city leaders with a plan to rebuild, and receives their approval and agreement. Despite the opposition, Nehemiah's planning pays off, and with the help of his subjects (he was the governor), they rebuilt the wall in 52 days! The good hand of our God was upon him the whole time.

That is the most important thing. I can plan all I want, but if what I plan isn't in the will of God, I likely wouldn't succeed. Not that the outcome couldn't mirror what I had in mind, but the success wouldn't bring glory to God.
  • It came to pass in the month of Chislev
  • I asked them concerning the Jews
  • When I heard these words, I sat down...I wept...I mourned for many days...I was fasting...I was praying
  • It came to pass in the month of Nisan
  • Now I had never been sad in [the king's] presence
  • The king said to me, "What do you request?"
  • So I prayed to the God of heaven
  • I said to the king, "I ask that you send me that I may rebuild it"
  • I sent him a time
  • Furthermore I said to the king, "Let letters be given...and a letter...and timber...
  • And the king granted them to me
  • The good hand of my God [was] upon me
  • Then I went to the governors and gave them the letters
  • So I came to Jerusalem and was there 3 days
  • Then I arose in the night
  • I told no one what my God had put in my heart
  • I went out by night
  • I viewed the walls and its gates
  • I went to the Fountain Gate and the King's Pool
  • I viewed the wall
  • I turned back
  • I entered by the Valley Gate
  • I returned
  • The officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done
  • I had not yet told the Jews, priests, nobles, officials, workers
  • Then I said to them, "Let us build the wall."
  • And I told them of the hand of my God
  • They set their hands to this good work
  • I said to [the enemies], "God will prosper us"
  • So we built the wall up to half its height
  • The people had a mind to work
  • We made our prayer to God
  • We set a watch against them
  • I positioned men according to their families
  • And I looked...and arose...and said to the people, "Do not be afraid...Remember the Lord...Fight for your families"
  • God had brought [the enemies'] plot to nothing
  • All of us returned to the wall
  • Our God will fight for us
  • So we labored in the work
  • There was a great outcry of the people
  • I became very angry when I heard these words
  • After serious thought (I took counsel with myself), I rebuked the nobles and rulers)
  • Then they were silenced
  • Then I said, "What you are doing is not good...Please let us stop this...Restore [them] now to them"
  • So they said, "We will restore it...We will do as you say
  • Then I required an oath from them
  • All the assembly said, "Amen!"...praised the Lord...did according to the promise

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