Nehemiah 2:10-20

Planning to Build


A) There are 3 major movements in the book of Nehemiah – Ch.1-2 Nehemiah the man with a Burden ……………………


B) Ch 2v.10- Ch6 Nehemiah the Builder / leader / Ch. 7- 13 Nehemiah the Governor


C) Today we are starting that 2nd section – We see Nehemiah moving into that role as Builder & Leader .


D) This section starts off with kind of a side note in v.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.


Nehemiah hasn’t met these guys yet – his first encounter with them will be at the end of this Chapter

A) However at this moment – he lets us know that a storm is brewing the climate is changing


B) Things had been going well up to this point – God’s hand was upon him / King Artx. Was behind him

1) He had safe passage for his travelshe had provision


C) But now he is letting us know that – there would be opposition – notice how he puts it - they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel.


Think about for a moment what’s broken in your sphere of influence.

A) It could be a relationship with a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend.

    It could be that something is broken in your career or ministry.


B) Know this the Devil is never happy – when you or others in your life decide it is time to Changetime to rebuild – time to work on this

1) Time to get serious about doing what God has called us to do –

C) When ever we are seeking to see things Change in our lives for the better – Get on target with what God WANTS

1) The Devil is always Disturbed – The troops of the enemy get riled up and ready to RESIST – that work of rebuilding


D) But any time you are content with the Status quo – Any time you are thinking – this is never going to change – always be this way

1) The enemy is content – he has you just where he wants you – No hope no desire – no vision – Where there is no vision the  people parish


E) We will see the various ways that the enemy seeks to come against us as we make our way through this book

1) But in the Beginning of this new section Nehemiah is letting us – Know the Clouds of warfare are rolling in.


V.11 So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days.                                                                                     


There are three kinds of people in the world:
* People who watch what’s happening!

* People who afterwards - wonder what happened.

* People who make things happen!


A) With the help of the Lord – Nehemiah is going to be in that last Category


B) Now in this section – we gain some great insights into what is needed when planning to Build or rebuild in any situation

1) Any Area of our Lives that our broken down / Marriage / friendship / Parenting / Ministry.


C) Notice 4 things that we can learn from what Nehemiah does here:


1st thing: Rest & Refocus 

A) V.11  tells us he didn’t start anything for 3 days


B) Finally they reach Jerusalem after a 1,000 mile trip that took 2 months

C) Now a lot of people today would have sent an advance team to let everyone know – the Calvary was coming – PARADE

1) Extreme makeover – Home Addition – Ty & the gang is on the way

     Everything is about to kick into high gear –


D) Nehemiah doesn’t do that – In fact he comes in very low Profile & doesn’t do anything for 3 days !!!


Now There was good reason for this

A) Such a LONG journey through such HARSH terrain would require a REST.


B) Some people don’t know how to REST – how to slow down – they equate spirituality with being busy seven days a week


C) But even Jesus took time to Rest – from ministry!!!

1) God established a day of Rest -   I am worthless – if I don’t weekly take a day to Rest be refreshed – give the mind a break


D) Nehemiah knew what God had sent him to do. But he also knew that a work started in haste would lead to a work done slowly.

1) So Nehemiah gives himself 3 days to Rest from his long Journey but also to Refocus for the work that was a head !!


Now, we are not given any details of what Nehemiah did during those 3 days

A) But we do know this about the pattern of Nehemiah’s life from the rest of the book.


B) Nehemiah’s rule of action seems to have been: first pray, then act, then pray, then act, then pray again.

1) It’s safe to say that he spent the time resting from the 2 month 1,000 mile trip and that he prayed.

Abraham Lincoln said on one occasion: “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of those about me seemed insufficient…”


“Charles Swindoll set this of Neh.    ‘A Leader—From the Knees Up!”


2nd thing we learn from Nehemiah is to Investigate before you Initiate{Rd v12-16

A) A good leader doesn’t rush into his work but patiently gathers the facts firsthand and then plans his strategy


B) Before Nehemiah began, he was determined to know the worst. So he makes a careful probing examination of the whole situation


C)  Sometimes, we don’t do a very good job or rebuilding or getting the right kind of help because:

1) we put on the rose colored glasses and don’t want to see how bad things really are in the marriage/ in the family or w/ the business or in the ministry.

D) Not Nehemiah. He investigated the situation.

1) While others slept, Nehemiah was wide-awake, burdened, conscious of desperate need and shame and ruin all around him.


E) He diagnosed the situation, surveyed the ruined walls, and thought about the magnitude of the task to which God had called him.


Before he INIATES his vision with anyone: Nehemiah INVESTIGATES thoroughly the situation : We can Learn this from Nehemiah

A) Do your walking before you do your talking. { Go to God – before others


B) Take inventory of the situation. Do some fact-finding. { Don’t be afraid to see things as they really are!!


C) Don’t let yourself be driven by the emotion of the moment. – Good to see the whole picture –be aware of the details but not get lost in those details

1) You’re excited about your vision? That is Great. But keep a level head.

3rd Thing we learn from Nehemiah: How to Motivate people to Cooperate:

A) This would be Nehemiah’s greatest Challenge: Morale was at an all time low – Discouragement permeated the ranks of Israel.


B) His greatest challenge would be to convince the people to tackle this project & to stick with it – when the going got tough

1) Toughest Challenge for any leader – whether you are trying to rebuild your family / your business / a ministry.


C) There will always be 3 types of people who will be a Challenge to rebuilding

1) #1 Those who are content with the Status quo – I am sure there were those in Israel who would deny the need for the wall to be built


D) Might have said “You know, we have gotten along without those walls for a hundred years now! After all, we already have the temple!”

1) Question to that Mindset: DO you really only want to “get along”?


E) Doesn’t God have more for you, and isn’t now the time to enter in?


So #1 There will always be those who are content with the Status quo

#2 Those who are skeptical

A) Those who will say: That is never going to work we already tried that - & it didn’t work last time not this time either


B) Those who will say: Too big / too hard / never happen / never be done

1) Those type of people are always a challenge


C) Now it is Important to learn from History but just because something didn’t work the first time doesn’t mean that it wasn’t God

A) It could be an issue of Timing - / God’s timing is everything


D) When Ezra attempted this same Project yrs before – the reason why it failed was that the people became self absorbed – Stalled the process

E) God totally was into the Project happening – the problem was the people’s hearts – Self focused & Self absorbed –

1) Those type of people present another big Challenge for any leader

    # 3 Those who are Self absorbed


F) Whether it be ministry: Always those people who have a Myopic outlook

1) Focus is only on what they are into: Where their Passion is – they don’t see their ministry bent in the Perspective of the whole of the Church


Same Challenge in a family: They only see the problem as it relates to their needs – and not in conjunction with the whole family

A) The Challenge of any leader: My Biggest Challenge – is getting people to see the big Picture – whole perspective – not just from their isolated view pt


B) Those 3 things are challenges that any leader is going to have to deal with when trying to do something new / something fresh


C) S0 What did Nehemiah say that got their cooperation, that earned their respect and sustained them throughout?

1) How did he say it? Why was it effective?  - Not 4 things


1st the Problem must be clearly defined: V.17a Then I said to them, "You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire

A) The fact that the city which had once been the center of God’s dealings with His people lay in ruins was not merely a reproach to them, it was a reproach to the honor and to the name of their God.


B) That was to be the inspiration and the power behind all this work of revival. It was not simply a disgrace to them, it was a shame to Him.

C) We who call ourselves Christians need to know that a broken-down marriage, a broken-down family life,

1) a broken-down business or ministry is not only a reproach to ourselves, but to God! That’s the main problem. That’s what people need to see.

Nehemiah asked them to notice the obvious: You see the distress…..;

A) Sometimes, the obvious is the hardest to see.


B) Nehemiah owned the problem - He didn’t criticize the leaders of Jerusalem.

1)He simply identified right along with them regarding the problem.


C) That is where you need to Start – the Problem must be clearly defined.


2nd The solution must me simply stated v.17b  Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.

A) Nehemiah figured if God could move upon the heart of a pagan king to partner in this work,


B) He certainly could move upon the hearts of His own people to join in!

1) Nehemiah wasn’t there to do it for them, but to partner with them in

the job of restoring Jerusalem and its people.


C) SD Gordon: Cooperation increases efficiency in amazing proportions – Two working together in perfect agreement have fivefold the efficiency of the same two working separately- a united Church is an unconquerable Church but the moment that cooperation is sacrificed as an essential, real power is at the disappearing point.”


D) In looking to motivate them to cooperate – Nehemiah states the solution simply – we need to rise & build – we need to do this –

1) So God is no longer DISGRACED !!!


E) A great leader will take a complex problem and boil it down to a simple and easy solution.

1) See later in Chapter 3 how the Work was evenly shared – everyone pitched in: Priest / Levites / leaders / goldsmiths/ blacksmiths / merchants




3rd The Lord must be Clearly Seen. V.18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king's words that he had spoken to me.

A) This was encouraging to them -  This wasn’t Nehemiah’s Project it was God’s Project – He was orchestrating this whole thing


B) They saw God’s hand at work. They knew Nehemiah had to be telling the truth.


C) What other explanation would there be for his presence in Jerusalem? Furthermore, he had evidence—official letters signed by the king himself.

1) And somewhere a group of military men were stationed—the king’s horsemen who had escorted him all the way to Jerusalem.

D)  Words are OK but unconvincing. Nehemiah told of the risks he took: how he put his job at risk to follow God’s prompting,

1) how one day the king started the conversation, and how he got the king’s understanding, permission and help.


E) Nehemiah’s confidence was infectious, the crowd caught the vision, and hope suddenly soared. Negative-thinkers turned positive.

1) Despair turned to hope. They believed Nehemiah and trusted him. Vision confirmed. All systems go. This is a God thing!


               WED NITE – JEFF DORMAN – SHARE


The Response of the leaders: V. 18b So they said, "Let us rise up and build." Then they set their hands to this good work.

A) There was a Willingness to go for it – They saw the big picture – they caught the vision & set their hands to do this great work


B) Note: For God to be able to do the Rebuilding that He wants to in your life – in your home / in your marriage / in a relationship / w/ this Church

1) There has to be a Willingness on your part to Partner with Him in the work – You have to be Willing { Not Force it !!!!

What if someone took a tour of your life the same way Nehemiah took a tour of Jerusalem?

Proverbs 25:28 : Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.


A)Would your life be like a city with broken walls - making you live with a constant sense of fear, poverty, and insecurity?


B) Don’t hide your eyes from the broken down places; God wants to change them – But you need to be willing

1) You need to admit – where the problems lie and allow the Lord to work


C) You need to say like the leaders of Israel – Let’s rise up and Build

Until you do, God is not going to work, He is not going to violate your will

1) But if you take that step and are willing to let Him work He will do amazing things !!!


4th thing we learn from Nehemiah is how to deal with the Opposition

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, "What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?"

A) As soon as the people say let’s rise up and build – the enemy says lets rise up and oppose – ALWAYS THE CASE ……..


B) The first form of opposition here is Mockery & Slander

1) They laughed at us – accused us of rebelling against the king


C) 2 Cor 5:18 – Given to us the ministry of Reconciliation

1) When you set about to be used by the Lord in the work of REBUILDING broken lives, the enemy will FIRST LAUGH at you


D) “YOU witness to your boss?”-     “YOU lead a Bible study?”

                  “YOU pray for the sick?”

1) The enemy LAUGHS at us hoping that we will back away out of fear of looking foolish

Nehemiah says 3 important things to the opposition:

#1 We can count on God -  20 So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us

A) Nehemiah understood – that if God was in it – if He was behind it there was nothing they could do to stop the work { God’s work would succeed


B) #2 God can count on us ! V.20b therefore we His servants will arise and build,


C) Nehemiah didn’t put the work on hold while a crisis response team could figure out the best way to answer Sanballat and Tobiah.

1) He wasn’t going to let them sidetrack them – There was a work to be done and they were going to do it – Because they were serving God


D) Nehemiah proclaims who they are  and what they should do: we His

servants . . . will arise and build. .


First We can count on God / 2nd God can count on us - #3 Get lost

What really – I don’t see that – V 20c but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem."

A) This is what Nehemiah is Declaring: You have no say in this at all – You have no part with us – non of your business or concern


B) We can say they same to our spiritual enemies: “You have no heritage or right or memorial in me.

1) I belong to Jesus Christ. You don’t belong here. You may as well

move on because I’m not going anywhere!”


C) So  IN Jesus name take a Hike –