Have you been trying to do something significant for the Lord – something challenging and big – something difficult and daunting? You accepted the challenge, not because it was your idea, or because of your personal ego, but because you were convinced it was God’s will!
But there are so many challenges! Every day it seems like a new problem! And the adversaries just seem to “come out of the woodwork!” You’re facing criticism, ridicule, lack of funding and resources, those you’re working with or leading are dispirited and dog-tired! The question that comes to your mind every day is, “will we ever succeed?” The temptation is to just throw in the towel and give up!
Nehemiah faced some of those very challenges as he sought to lead a group of exiles who had returned from Babylon to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (and ultimately to rebuild the temple). It all seemed like an impossible task! All they had to work with was a pile of rubble that had once been Jerusalem. And adversaries were everywhere!
Here’s a taste from the Bible of the challenges: “Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at us… He said, ‘What are these feeble Jews doing? … Will they revive the stones out of this heap of rubbish, and burned ones at that?’ [Nehemiah cried out to the Lord], ‘Hear, O our God, for we are despised! Turn back their taunt on their own heads!’ … So we built the wall! And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work… And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night. But it was said, ‘The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing! There is too much rubble! By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall! … And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them! Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!’ And we all returned to the wall, each to his work.” (from Nehemiah 4)
And they didn’t give up! They continued to work, they continued to trust God, and despite the problems and adversaries finished the task! (Read Nehemiah 6:15-16) But don’t fool yourself, it took more than simply quality leadership… it took more than just cooperation and hard work… Zechariah, the prophet, indicated it took divine enablement – the help of the Holy Spirit!
He prophesied and said, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel [the Jewish governor, charged with the direct oversight of rebuilding the temple]! ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts! Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the cap stone amid shouts of grace! Grace to it! … The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the found of this house; his hands shall also complete it! Whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hands of Zerubbabel!” (Zechariah 4:6-10)
Take my word for it, my friend… It will be the same for you! Work on! Depend on the Lord! Expect divine enablement! Don’t try to do it in your strength and wisdom alone!