Let’s pick up the story at Nehemiah 2:11-20
In verse 11, Nehemiah waits 3 days before he does anything. Why? And, why does he wait in silence? When faced with this huge task, Nehemiah spends time in solitude with Jehovah; the place to go to get our faith reservoir refilled! Last week we talked about Moses, and acting in haste. Have you ever acted in haste or spoken too soon because you put your feelings and your sense of rightness out "there" before you spent time with God to sort the plan out? The important concept here is to stay “prayed up.” Keep in touch with your prayer warriors, those who help watch your back even when you are too foolish, or in too much of a hurry to do it yourself.
So, what are our first cues?
---- Step back, spend some time with God
---- Stay prayed up, and stay ready
In verses 12 and 16, Nehemiah tours the walls at night. Why? He wants an honest assessment of the situation and the damage without a horde of people “helping” him and distracting him from the task. Have you ever been in a situation where everyone, even people not involved in the situation…everyone has advice, opinions and directive…but no one wants to step up front to take leadership or ownership? We must walk with our eyes open, looking at the problem with new and fresh eyes. Take ownership of the problem. These 3 days of silence was when God to put His plans into Nehemiah’s heart.
--- Look at the problem from a new perspective
Why fix the wall? Shoun't we do something about their deplorable living conditions and crumbling houses first? Nehemiah “attacked” the problem of the wall first because this was Jerusalem’s most important protection against their enemies and the missing wall made them essentially defenseless.
--- Figure out what the most important part of the problem…
--- What’s the linchpin?
--- What’s the tipping point ?
In verses 13-15, as Nehemiah returned home, his path led him through the Kidron valley or Valley of Hinnom. This is where garbage was dumped and the smelly fires burned constantly. It was later known as the Refuse or Dung Gate. Nehemiah was willing to walk through the worst, smelliest valley to reach his goal! And, notice that he is alone. He doesn’t have any cheerleaders or anyone to show this off in front of.
--- Sometimes you have to go through the valley and the muck before you can really move forward. This is the hard part of the journey. Few, if any will stand alongside you when the going is hardest.
In verse 17, after his time with God and his time of solitude, Nehemiah is now ready to commit himself to the task of helping the people. People will follow leaders that roll up their sleeves to join in on the hard task. When Winston Churchill addressed the House of Commons during the war, he said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Notice that Nehemiah’s only motivation in this was “to remove the reproach of Jerusalem.”
--- People will work best with and for us if we are willing work along with them