Lessons in Building from Nehemiah
Preached by Apostle Aje Pelser
Harvester Reformational Church, Cape Town, June 2018
As one studies God's Word's, it sharpens the spiritual senses of discernment to single out men and women who had the ability to break and destroy the enemy and who could build a stronghold for the people to be secure. Although there were many, I have chosen Nehemiah, Ezra, Jesus, Paul as focal points. Other reformers have also been mentioned in the chapters dealing with God's principles.
(Strong’s # 5166 Hebrew.) "Consolation of JAH"
Son of Hachaliah (Strong’s # 2446 Hebr.) "Darkness of JAH".
Nehemiah was known to be responsible for rebuilding the walls, repairing, and hanging the gates around the city. Whereas his father had truly experienced the darkness of JAH during his exile, Nehemiah entered the consolation of JAH as God's judgement had reached its fullness of time. Nehemiah was also a loyal cupbearer to king Artaxerxes. A great reformer who was humble enough to serve a foreign king.
Neh 1:3 describes the state in which Jerusalem was found:
"The survivors left from captivity are in great distress and reproach."
The wall of Jerusalem was broken down and its gates were burned with fire. Some churches are in the same situation.
Nehemiah's reaction to this terrible news was absolutely Godly. When he heard the words, he sat down and wept and mourned for many days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. There are some principles of prayer in this heart's cry of man.
(Neh 1 :5-11)
- Remind God of His covenant with you.
- Remind Him of His mercy to those who keep His commands.
- Ask Him to hear and see your prayer - which you continually pray day and night for those in distress.
- Confess the sins of those in distress, if you are convicted of something, include yourself.
- Remind God of His Word and be accurate; don't just choose the parts you like. Include judgement and blessing.
- Take the Word of prophecy and implement it in your present reality.
Nehemiah asked God to remember what He commanded Moses:
"If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me. and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast into the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there. And bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling place for My Name."
Nehemiah used God's Word, prophesied by a man, to help him to sort out a city in ruins. This is an earthly type of the New Jerusalem which is to come spoken of in Revelation.
- Ask God to grant you mercy in the sight of those with whom you have to do.
Nehemiah shows some endurance. He was fasting and praying before the God of heaven regularly for about four months as Nisan was four months after Chislev. It took four months to receive a breakthrough!
The king asked Nehemiah what his request was. Immediately, he prayed to the God of heaven. The Spirit of the Lord is the Spirit of wisdom. Them when he asked the king, he did so respectfully. His request contained five topics:
- For the king to send him to Judah.
- That he may rebuild it.
- in a set time.
- for letters to kings and governors beyond the river, and a permit to pass through until he reaches Jordan.
- For a letter to Asaph - keeper of the king's forest - to give him timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, for the house he will occupy.
As the requests were granted, all glory was given to the good Hand of the Lord upon a man.
Applying this to our situation as a church will comfort and console us too and allow us to finish the work.
All reformers need opposition to the call of God upon their lives, because it's only when you squeeze an orange that orange juice will flow. Apostle Dr. Andre Pelser preached on “Suffering." and explained how when you squeeze an apostle, apostolic juice flows; so much so, that when Paul was put in jail, he wrote half of the New Testament. Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the Ammonite official, heard of Nehemiah's plans and were deeply disturbed that a man had sought the well-being of the children of Israel. That is a demonic reaction.
God gave Nehemiah wisdom to arise at night and to tell no one immediately.(Paul did not confer with flesh and blood.) He saw the broken walls and the burnt gates.
Only then did Nehemiah tell his people: "Let's rebuild the wall of Jerusalem." Notice how even the greatest of reformers can do nothing by themselves. Reformers need co-labourers, just as we are co-labourers with Christ Jesus.
He testified of God's hand on him and they said: “Let us rise up and build." They had to say it and only then could they have the faith to go ahead and set their hands to this good work.
Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem, laughed at Nehemiah and despised the people with him; they accused them of rebelling against the king. The accuser of the brethren is at work here - Satan. But God empowered the reformer and gave him words to answer any opposition: “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you [the opposition to God's intent and purposes] have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem."
God's Word enlightens the meanings of the gates that were repaired and built.
- The Sheep Gate: We are His sheep, He is our Shepherd - Jesus.
- The Fish Gate: "I will make you fishers of men.." Indicating a harvest of souls who will believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God.
- The Old Gate: That old salvation message which has been forgotten will return and bring many to repentance and into God's Kingdom.
- The Valley Gate: Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for His rod and His staff comfort us. This speaks of correction and guidance of the Holy Spirit through God's Word.
- The Refuse Gate: Speaks of deliverance, removing the rubbish of demonic oppression.
- The Fountain Gate: Jesus said, if we believe in Him, out of our belly will flow rivers of living water. The issue of God's Holy Spirit from our lives is a fountain that refreshes our own lives and the lives of others.
- The Water Gate: Living water is water Jesus offers. If we drink from His water, we will never thirst again but He will keep satisfying our souls with His refreshing and nourishing water, which also washes and cleanses or lives.
- The Horse Gate: On a white horse He'll come riding when we meet our King at His coming.
- The East Gate: Ezekiel 44 :1,2. This verse refers to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces East, but it is shut.
“The Lord said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut."
John 19:34 tells of how Jesus' side was pierced. We can enter His temple through there. From His side, blood and water flowed. Blood for our cleansing and rightstanding with God. Water of life for those who do not love their lives to death.
- The Miphkad Gate: Literally the name means inspection or recruiting. We must realise that to be faithful soldiers of Christ, we need to be inspected by our Superior. He recruits us and expects us to recruit others into active service.
We need these gates to be strengthened and where need be, inspected and looked after. This same principle applies to the church as well as each home church, family and individual.
When Tobiah heard of the rebuilding of the wall, Nehemiah prayed to God. But the wall would never have reached even half it's height if the people did not have a mind to work. This is a will's decision. You decide to have a mind to work, it is not something given, it is something decided; "make up your mind" is the phrase that rings in my heart. The difference between single-and double-minded people, is that the former have made their choice, the latter have yet to decide. Reformers have decided and thus their decision WILL BE.
The result of having a mind to work is threefold:
- i) Wall is restored
- ii) Gaps are gradually closed
iii) The Sanballats, Tobiahs, Arabs, Ammonites, Ashdodites will hear of it and get angry, conspire to attack you, and try to create confusion.
In return we must make our prayer to God, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood; we must set a watch against the enemy day and night. This implies watching in the spirit, for those who hear.
Nehemiah positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall at the openings; he set the people according to their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.
He preached to them:
"Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, Great and Awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, your houses."
The enemy's plot brought to nothing by resilient, God-fearing people.
Firstly the leaders were behind all the house of Judah. But how this physical labour was done shows divine wisdom and aggressive endurance. Those who built on the wall and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves, so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. The one who sounded the trumpet was the alarm announcing strategy.
If you are a reformer, you need the strategy of General Jesus or you'll fail your people. The trumpet was an unifying agent which brought the leaders together from the distant parts of the wall, so that they could discuss strategy. Nehemiah ends his sentence with : "Our God will fight for us."
The work continued.
Neh 4: 21 - 23 shows the level of work the building teams put in.
Verse 21: While work was going on, half of the men held spears from day break until the stars appeared.
Verse 22: Nehemiah tells each man and his servant to stay at night in Jerusalem, that they could guard by night and be working party by day.
Verse 23 : Neither Nehemiah, nor his brothers, nor his servants, nor the guards, took off their clothes - except for washing!
A reformer must have a heart for the oppressed and help them. There were wealthy people involved in usury.
Usury - lending money to people with unfair interest rates. Nehemiah dealt with that one by rebuking those responsible and admonishing them. He advised and urged them, scolded them and told them to :
- Walk in the fear of God.
- Stop usury.
- Restore to those from which they gained unfair profit.
- Nehemiah shook the fold of his garment and said :
" May God shake out each man from his house, and from his property, who does not perform this promise."
What a response!
All the assembly said AMEN, praised the Lords, and the people did according to the promise.
Sanballat sent Nehemiah a message to meet together in the villages of ONO and Nehemiah exercised discernment :
" I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?"
Note, they sent him the same message four times and he answered the same - four times! Sanballat sent another message with some horrendous yet empty accusations to bribe Nehemiah and Nehemiah still chose the truth and used it. In fact he bluntly stated:
" No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your heart."
But once again Nehemiah taps into the source through prayer and says:
“God strengthen my hands."
A study of how to combat and destroy deception from any opposition is a recommended subject. Apostle Andre Pelser has a tape series on how to eradicate deception.
Apostle Dr. Andre Pelser has a tape series out on "Developing a Finishing Mentality". He explains that apostles have to develop this inherent quality to an extent where they can say: "This is that!". He says that we must reach a stage when we can "earth" prophetic words spoken over our lives and implement words that originated in God's heart for us. With this in mind, have a look at Nehemiah's apostolic finishing attributes.
- The wall was finished - and furthermore the job was done in fifty-two days!
- The enemies who heard and all the nations around us, who saw these things, were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.
This must be the testimony of a reformer.
- The wall was built.
- Nehemiah hung the doors.
- Gatekeepers, singers and Levites were appointed.
- He gave charge of Jerusalem to faithful men who feared God more than many.
- Included in the charge were instructions concerning the gates, guards and watch station, and then Nehemiah registered the people by genealogy to keep track of Christ's genealogy - because God placed it in his heart to do so.
- Nehemiah made many reforms which brought the people to a closer relationship with God - a study on it's own is found in Nehemiah 13:4 onwards. I want to concentrate on the Reformer's involvement in the building process. For this principle will remain:
“First build the wall, then the inhabitants can be secured and reformed."
We accept the recruitment of the Lord to rise and build and His hand is upon us too – just like Nehemiah!