Monday, April 16, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge "Lessons from Nehemiah"

"Lessons from Nehemiah"
by Shelly Burke 

(The photos in this post are
photos of the walls of
Nehemiah was the governor of Jerusalem in 445 BC. . He wanted to spur the people into action in rebuilding the protective wall around Jerusalem (which had been destroyed in 586 BC).

The rebuilding was tricky because many enemies of the Jews did not want the wall rebuilt. Their armies marched against Jerusalem to try to prevent the rebuilding. When Nehemiah heard of the plot to cause confusion and prevent the rebuilding, he took proactive action; some of the people worked on the construction of the wall, and some “held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail” and protected the others (Nehemiah 4:16).

Later, when the wall was almost rebuilt, Nehemiah’s enemies tried to distract him by asking him to meet them to talk. They tried four times to distract Nehemiah, but he refused to leave his work. (Nehemiah 6:4)

Later another enemy tried to scare Nehemiah into retreating to and living in the temple so he wouldn’t be killed. Nehemiah wisely saw that God had not sent the man, but Nehemiah’s enemies had, hoping to scare him. (6:10-12)

Once the rebuilding started, it took only 52 days to finish.

I’m always amazed at how the narratives (not stories; to me the word “stories” indicates non-fiction, and I believe every event recorded in the Bible happened) in the Bible give us lessons thousands of years later. We can take several messages from Nehemiah’s examples.

  1. Be on guard. We don’t need "spears, shields, and bows” like the people in Nehemiah’s day did, as we go about our daily work,  but we can and should “put on the full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11-17) to guard us against the temptations of today. 
  1. Avoid distraction. Our lives today are full of distractions; work, work at home, the internet, Facebook, cell phones, sports, children, grandchildren, etc., etc., etc. Nehemiah realized that his enemies were trying to distract him from finishing the wall; today we are distracted from worshiping God, studying His Word, and praying. 
“Finally brothers {and sisters!}, whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

  1. Be discerning. Messages with the potential to scare us come from every side. Foreign nations threaten us. It seems a new “cause” of cancer is found every day. Things we previously thought were “healthy” are found to be harmful. The economy stinks. Politicians from both sides tell dire tales of what will happen if someone from the “other” side is elected. How do we know which messages of today are true? How can we live without constant fear? Look to the best source for guidance and reassurance. 
“But the wisdom from above {which you can find by reading the Bible} is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”            Romans 8:31   

  1. Be focused. It took Nehemiah and his men only 52 days to finish the rebuilding of the wall. The references I’ve looked at say it’s difficult to figure out exactly what parts of the wall were restored, despite Nehemiah’s detailed list. One of the maps I saw shows the wall being shaped as a rough triangle, about 3000 ft. long on the long sides and about 1000 ft. long on another side. Any way you look at it, there was a LOT of wall to rebuild! 
Nehemiah and his men were clearly very focused on completing the job—they had to avoid any type of distraction to get the wall done, especially considering their enemies could attack at any time.

When I’m working on a devotion or article or putting the Nebraska Family Times together, I have to be focused too. It’s difficult—I do much of my work on the computer so am tempted to check my e-mail or Facebook, or throw another load of laundry in or…I need to remind myself to FOCUS on the task at hand. I do this by praying—praying that I would find articles and information that would touch the hearts of my readers and bring them closer (or lead them for the first time) to God. I ask Him to guide my work.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Proverbs 16:3

How can you use the lessons of Nehemiah in your life today?

I’m also blogging at Home is Where the Mom Is
Read the entry today and learn how to “Never Run Out!” of anything. 


  1. I have a friend in a Nehemiah Bible Study. I am glad to have some idea what it's about. Sounds intriguing. Thanks for the post.

  2. Could I possibly be the friend in the Nehemiah study that the commentor above is talking about? Great post BTW!

  3. I am studying Nehemiah now. This is a great post


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