I pulled a friend aside at church last week and told her I had a secret to tell her. God had shown me something and I was about to explode with the news, or so I thought. When I got home I realized that out of my excitement I had shared the information prematurely. Have you ever opened your mouth too soon and wished you hadn’t? Fortunately for me, my friend is a woman of integrity. The lesson was not about her; it was for me. When I later read Nehemiah, I began to understand the importance of timing and keeping my mouth shut.
Last week we learned Nehemiah had asked the king of Persia for permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. In chapter 2:11-20, we discover his PLAN OF ACTION once he arrived at Jerusalem:
1. He waited three days before he did anything. We need to be still and allow God to speak to us.
2. He got up at night. He acted when God showed him to move, not when it was convenient and not when others could see you.
3. He only took a few “good” men with him. Some people can’t go where God is taking you. They’re just not ready.
4. He checked out the Valley Gate, the Serpent Well, the Refuse Gate and the Walls of Jerusalem. He also examined the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool. In our own lives, we’ll have some valleys, we’ll get bitten by events, we’ll need to let go of some trash and our walls will seem broken down from time to time. But “there is a Fountain, filled with blood, born from Emmanuel’s veins, and sinners plunge beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains!” Hallelujah! We can wash in the King’s Pool!
5. The officials–Jews, priests, nobles, officials, or others–did not know where he had gone or what he had done. Are you a secret agent, C.I.A? Are you CALLED IN ANONYMITY? Or do you want to be seen?
6. He finally went to his people, gave a report and invited them to join the cause. A passionate leader imparts vision after assessing the situation.
7. He faced opposition from three enemies: Tobiah, Sanballat, and Geshem and answered them with confidence in God. WHEN THE ENEMY COMES IN LIKE A FLOOD, GOD IS OUR DEFENSE!
Memory Verse: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jer. 29:11, NIV).”
WEEK FIVE ASSIGNMENT: Read Neh. 4:1-9 and answer:
1. What were the enemy’s tactics?
2. What was Nehemiah’s prayer?
3. What was the result?
Until next week, stay on the wall and GROW!