DAY 3: STUDY TIME!
Today I want to look a little more at the character of Nehemiah, not that chapter 3 isn't chalk full of good stuff to talk about, but because it seems the Lord is really highlighting the man behind the great task of chapter 3.
Donald Campbell, in the book Nehemiah, Man in Charge, identified 21 principles of effective leadership that Nehemiah demonstrated in chapter 2:
He Established a reasonable and attainable goal
He had a sense of mission
He was willing to get involved
He rearranged his priorities in order to accomplish his goal
He patiently waited for God's timing
He showed respect to his superior
He prayed at crucial times
He made his request with tact and graciousness
He was well prepared and thought of his needs in advance
He went through proper channels
He took time (three days) to rest, pray, and plan
He investigated the situation firsthand
He informed others only after he knew the size of the problem
He identified himself as one with the people
He set before them a reasonable and attainable goal
He assured them God was in the project
He displayed self-confidence in facing obstacles
He displayed God's confidence in facing obstacles
He did not argue with opponents
He was not discouraged by opposition
He courageously used the authority of his position.
What a man! I don't know about you, but I see the maturity of how he operated with both God & men through these character traits. This is the character of a man God could trust for His task. Lets now take a minute and look at the "task".
1. Read Nehemiah Chapter 3
If you haven't used www.soniclight.com before, it is a great commentary I suggest.
(Reference: http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/nehemiah.pdf - There is also a nice map of the walls there)
Here are a few things from Dr. Constable over at Sonic Light in regards to the building of the walls:
“Construction was an act of consecration because this was a project that God had ordained. Archaeologists continue to study the exact location of the wall at many places, as well as that of towers and gates. There is debate among them regarding various sites, as well as the total extent of the wall. ” Dr. Constable.
A while back I had been spending time studying the building of the Tabernacle of David and the Modern-Day House of Prayer. I was so impacted by the Spirit of God that God chose to partner with men for a house on the Earth to host His presence. The picture the Lord dropped in my heart was that of a husband and a wife, a bride and bridegroom, working together to prepare their home. There were certain parts of the preparation the bride would be doing and the certain parts the groom would be working on. They shared a unified vision for their home.
As I meditated on this, I saw how intimate and personal it is for God, our bridegroom, to have us work together with Him to build with Him. The real work of building the House of God, and here, the Walls of Jerusalem, it something so close to His heart, there is deep intimacy in working with Him to build this.
Because this is such a personal task to the heart of God, it is not just "work". This work, this "Holy Task" was quite sacred. What about our work before God? Do we consider what we do "sacred"? This kinda breaks the box of sacred vs. secular. The work of the heart, the character and devotion to God inside the heart of the man akes the work sacred.
Reflections for Today:
- Take a minute and look again over the list of character traits we see in Nehemiah. Is there anything that the Lord is highlighting to you about your own heart? Take time to pray into the development of godly character in your own heart, and repent where necessary.
- What character traits do you carry that stand out to you in your own life? These are often things the Lord has designed in you to carry out the sacred plans He has for you. Just consider that for a minute. For example, my husband has this ridiculous patience for people. I mean out of the park patience. Seriously, I can't even compete and Im a pretty patient person. So I ask the Lord, "Father, what is the deep purpose You had in mind that Johnny was going to need such patience for?" OH SHOOT! It was to deal with me!! HA! Well.... um, next...
- OK! Lastly, here's what Im feeling like God is saying to us right now from this chapter I would ask you to receive and consider. Have you lost joy in your "work"? Did you set out for something and get lost along the way? I believe the Lord wants to restore the Joy of the "work of your hands" to you today. I believe He wants to give you new eyes to see your assignment- whatever that may be- as sacred unto Him.
Read this aloud and declare it over your life today:
Father, I thank You for the plans and promises You have for my life, that You created me with a divine purpose in mind. That Your plan for me is to prosper me, to give me a hope and a future (Jer. 29:11) I thank You that from the beginning of time you had a plan which included me. Open up my eyes that I may see wondrous things. As I read Your Word each day, renew my mind, my character, my perspective, and my vision to be aligned with Yours. I declare today that my life is sacred to You and I will bless You with the work of my hands. In Jesus Name, Amen.