“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
A Success Story
(Please read Nehemiah 2:17-20 and 6:15-16)
Jerusalem had been sacked by the Babylonians, who took thousands of captive Israelites back to Babylon, where they were, for the most part, treated not as prisoners but as colonists. After many years some were allowed to return and start restoring their city and country, but progress was slow. The wall of Jerusalem had been broken down and its gates burned, so its more powerful neighbors could make successful raids on the city.
Nehemiah, an Israelite who worked as the Babylonian king’s cupbearer, heard a firsthand report of the sad shape of Jerusalem’s wall and obtained the king’s permission to return to his homeland and rebuild the wall of its greatest city.
As a leader, Nehemiah proved to be very effective. He obtained willing cooperation from the citizens, organized the work efficiently, faced down enemies who tried to undermine the work, and saw the project completed in only 52 days.
It’s interesting to look at the reasons for the success of this remarkable undertaking. Among the most important was that the people “had a mind to work” (Nehemiah 4:6, NAS). They believed God would bless their work. When war seemed near, some worked while others guarded and some even carried loads in one hand while holding a weapon in the other. Their leaders were just as dedicated, going for long periods without even changing their clothes. (You’ll want to read the entire story, no doubt.)
Was that the sort of dedication that we should bring to our lives as servants of the Lord? When we answer that question correctly, we’ll be on the way to great accomplishments for him.