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John Brown :: Nehemiah 2:1-10

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Luke 14:27-31 (NKJV) "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has [enough] to finish [it]-- 29 "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see [it] begin to mock him, 30 "saying, `This man began to build and was not able to finish.' 31 "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Last week in our study of Nehemiah we were challenged to, "rise and build!"

1. For any building project to be successful, we will need a bill-of-materials!

2. In other words, as we see in Luke, we must first sit down and figure out what it is going to cost to finish the project!

3. When one of God's children says, "I want to build or re-build in the Lord." He/she must do likewise.

a) If we approach the task with our eyes wide open, there will be less for the enemy to use against us later!

B. The Old Testament offering is good illustration of the heart and attitude we need as we re-build.

1. It was voluntary.

a) If we don't see the honor and privilege in "building or re-building" for the Lord, and only do it because we "have to", that's not a very sweet offering to the Lord!

2. It was all placed upon the altar.

a) If we realize going in that sacrifice is involved, it is harder for satan to make us feel sorry for our selves.

(1) In fact, it usually that part that we "hold back", that he will use against us!

3. It was consumed by fire.

a) A genuine sacrifice to the Lord must be set fire to!

(1) Meaning, if it is really to the Lord, LET IT GO!

(2) So many times we do what we do "with attachments."

4. And finally, the Old Testament sacrifice, when properly done, was a sweet smelling aroma to the Lord.

a) You remember the story of Cain and Abel.

(1) The Lord could only accept Abel's sacrifice because he did it the way the Lord had asked.

(2) Cain on the other hand wanted the blessing, but his was a work of the flesh.

(a) He knew what the Lord required, but did it his own way and was rejected.

b) When we approach the project with a pure heart, and build the way the Lord requires, we're blessed, He is blessed!

(1) Please keep in mind, that blessing most often involves sacrifice!

(2) Let's take a look at how Nehemiah prepared for the work ahead of him!

(a) His "bill-of-materials" if you will!

II. NEHEMIAH'S BURDEN (The first thing on the list)

A. Nehe 2:1-10 (NKJV) And it came to pass in the month of Nisan (March-April), in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes (444 BC), [when] wine [was] before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. 2 Therefore the king said to me, "Why [is] your face sad, since you [are] not sick? This [is] nothing but sorrow of heart." So I became dreadfully afraid, 3 and said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, [lies] waste, and its gates are burned with fire?" 4 Then the king said to me, "What do you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it." 6 Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), "How long will your journey be? And when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. 7 Furthermore I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors [of] [the] [region] beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, 8 "and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which [pertains] to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy." And the king granted [them] to me according to the good hand of my God upon me. 9 Then I went to the governors [in] [the] [region] beyond the River, and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me. 10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard [of] [it], they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel.

B. Four months time has elapsed between Chapter 1 verse 1 - and Chapter 2, verse 1.

1. As soon as Nehemiah heard what condition God's people and the Temple was in, he had sat down, wept, mourned and prayed, but:

2. He continued to pray for 4 months - so far!

a) There was much for him to pray about:

(1) He knew in order to be successful, he needed the Lord's blessing.

(2) He knew that in order for him to go to Jerusalem he had to have the king's blessing.

(a) To be sad in the presence of the king was punishable by death!

(b) And yet he was so sad that he couldn't hide it from the king!

(c) Four months gave him time to pray and ask the Lord to go before him.

3. After four months God opened the door!

a) Please notice that it was through weeping, fasting, and praying that the Lord opened the door!

b) Notice also, that the king brought it up!

c) God prompted the king to take the initiative!

C. Under this topic of Nehemiah's burden of prayer, I want to point out that realizing the need is not enough!

1. Nehemiah needed could have heard about the need to rebuild the walls and said, "I'm going to pray that the Lord will raise somebody to rebuild those walls!"

2. As we said last week, realizing the need is just the first step!

3. The realization must be followed by prayer and waiting upon the Lord until:

a) The great need becomes a burden of my own heart to rise and do the work that the Lord had called me to do!

b) You see, it is usually after we are willing to accept the challenge personally that the Lord opens the door for change!

c) There is an old saying, "Hey if it was easy, any body could do it!"

(1) The best offering to the Lord is one that costs us something!

(a) 2Sam 24:24 (NKJV) Then the king (David) said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy [it] from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

(b) Alan Redpath said, "God help the children whom any Sunday School teacher professes to teach who has never felt that load upon his or her heart."

(c) Nehemiah counted the cost and was willing to pay the price.

(d) Now he wanted the blessing!

III. NEHEMIAH'S BLESSINGS

A. He wanted the King's blessing to go! Nehe 2:5 (NKJV) And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it."

1. He got it!

B. He wanted and received the blessing of safety! Nehe 2:7 (NKJV) Furthermore I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors [of] [the] [region] beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah,

1. He got it!

C. He wanted and also received, supplies from the king! Nehe 2:8 (NKJV) "and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which [pertains] to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy." And the king granted [them] to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.

IV. CONCLUSION

A. Every Christian, when he/she begins to "arise and build", needs to know that they have the blessing of their KING!

1. John 20:21 (NKJV) So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."

a) Alan Redpath: "...The true source of inspiration for service is always behind me and never in front of me."

b) The challenge and the resources to meet that challenge will always be in front of me.

(1) In other words, I don't know what lies ahead! I must trust.

c) But the Power and the Motive for re-building cannot be in what I see ahead.

(1) I must settle that in prayer before I start!

(2) If I let circumstances determine my success, then when the task gets hard, I will determine that God is not in it any longer!

(3) I / we must have the assurance that it was the Holy Spirit that called us, therefore we will finish the walls!

(a) Alan Redpath: "We are sent out to be exceptional in ordinary things, among sometimes mean people, in frequently sordid surroundings. Only the man sent by the King of Kings could take that, and only a man with a true burden will ever accept it."

B. Every Christian soldier, when he begins to "arise and build", must know that his King will keep him safe!

1. Notice that I didn't say, "secure."

2. If fact, in any spiritual service that counts often our security is the first thing to go because the Lord wants our security to be in Him!

3. This "safety" that our King provides is more in the spiritual than in the physical.

a) I have found it to be true that when we decide to "arise and build" anything for the Lord, trials get upgraded!

b) But, I have also found that the Lord usually raises up others to pray for us as we serve Him!

C. Every Christian, when he/she begins to "arise and build", must know that their King will supply what they need to be successful!

1. Ephe 4:7 (NKJV) But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.

2. Phil 4:19 (NKJV) And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

3. Alan Redpath: "He promises grace for everything that is within His will for you, but for nothing that is outside His will for you."

a) That is why it is imperative for me to know that God has called and sent me!

b) Because if it is the Lord, then I know He will keep me safe!

c) And I can be assured that He will not allow me to be tested beyond my capacities!

(1) 1Cor 10:13 (NKJV) No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear [it].

D. Remember that there is no battle until a Christian gets involved. But as soon as he/she says, "Let us arise and build," satan says, "Let me arise and stop him!"

1. Here are a couple of questions that we can ask ourselves to determine if whatever we have "risen to build" for the Lord is effective!

a) Does our service to the Lord cause satan any worry?

b) Does he have to burn the midnight oil because we are fighters and re-builders?

c) Alan Redpath: "A hundred people with a burden are better than a thousand without!"

(1) So, let us first allow our hearts to be broken for the Lord!

(2) Then let us count the cost of rebuilding the walls!

(3) And thirdly, "Let us arise and build," knowing we have the Lord's blessing!

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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