Nehemiah’s determination

Nehemiah is an inspiring book to read. Let me give you a background, Nehemiah was one of the Jews taken captive by the Persian country. He was a slave who happened to work as a cup-bearer in the Royal Palace of the King of Persian. Being a cup-bearer, it is unquestionable that Nehemiah was a trustworthy, loyal, compassionate, dedicate and hardworking individual.

He had a chat with one of his brothers who informed him that the family home, Jerusalem, was in total ruins. Nehemiah was unmistakably  upset and decided to go home to champion the course of rebuilding the walls. He sought leave of his master (the King) and asked for supply of building materials.

But hang on a second, was it really Nehemiah’s responsiblity to rebuild those walls? So why should he take it upon himself? Nehemiah would not have been blamed if he had not risen up to the challenge after all there were men living in Jerusalem who could have taken up this task! He did not join the band wagon singing ‘Oh, Jerusalem was such a lovely place’, ‘The walls and buildings used to be so tall”, “I remember my siblings and I ran around the walls playing”, “Jerusalem can never ever be same again”, “Surely, it was a forgotten glory”,If only the labourers had built it so well and strong at the outset, the enemies would not have been able to demolish it! Who were those builders? What were their names?”  Nehemiah made a choice – to be the barrier breaker, not to follow the status quo, to be the game changer.

And so with that positive and ‘can-do’ attitude, he journeyed to Jerusalem. I am certain that he had a specific aim in mind – to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He spent three days observing the people, the city, and the ruins. As he looked into the citizens’ faces, despair stared back at him. The more he surveyed the land, the greater the extent of damage he realised. “Seeing is believing” as they say. Perhaps, he imagined the ruins while on his journey but had not fully comprehended it until he saw things physically. Initial reactions could be: “No wonder it laid in ruins, no one in his right senses would own up to this responsibility!”, “Unfortunately, I told the King the purpose of my leave of absence, how do I go back to say I chickened out?”, “Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?”, “Really why should I bother, none of the citizens sent for help or complained about the state they were in!”

But he chose to pursue. Neh 2:17-18, “Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work”.

Though the work was daunting, Nehemiah was determined. His enthusiasm won the citizens over to cooperate with him.  Jerusalem was rebuilt within as a short period of time – very successful project due to sheer determination and concerted efforts.

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