Nehemiah spent months in patient prayer planning out his move to Jerusalem. He was not sure about how he would get there. He was not quite sure when he would get there. However, he was prepared. When Nehemiah finally gets the opportunity to discuss what was on his heart with the king he is ready. Nehemiah lays out a great strategy in regards to his ministry for Jerusalem.
What happens is utterly remarkable when we consider all that Nehemiah gets from the king to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. He gets the king to change the previous foreign policy (see Ezra for the context), he gets around 13 years off of his job (which was being responsible for the king not getting assassinated_—kind of a big deal!), he got to rebuild a city that would not worship the king as a god, he got a blank check to rebuild the city, he got a promotion (becoming the governor), he got official documents stating that the king supported this work, he got access to the kings private building supplies, he got a new house, and even got a military escort all the way to Jerusalem.
This is almost unbelievable. Almost. Nehemiah understood something that we must remember in ministry: “the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me” (Nehemiah 2:8). We at NAMB believe that God truly wants to restore churches. We believe that God wants to see churches become gospel-centered local expressions of the church. We also believe that God wants to use replanting to that end. We also believe that God is doing an amazing work with replanting. Replanting is beyond difficult. But so was rebuilding a wall that had been destroyed for over 140 years.
Three things need to be considered here. One, in Jerusalem and in replanting contexts there was a history of defeat. Jerusalem lied in ruins. Often, our churches do as well. God can use you to change that. Second, the task was overwhelming. No one had dared to rebuild the wall showing us that if it was easy someone would have already done it. If replanting a church was easy, someone would have already done it. Third, the workers were discouraged. This is something that must be considered because just as the Israelites in Jerusalem were discouraged about the state of their city, so too, are people discouraged in your church.
Nehemiah does something incredible. He is able to get a discouraged group of people, who had a history of defeat, do an overwhelming task. And he did it in 52 days! He was passionate. He was prayerful. He made a good plan. All of these things are needed in replanting. But the most important thing that we see is that God was good and his providence was manifested in the people of God. This is our goal. This is our mission.
Published July 7, 2016