Nehemiah 2:11-20

Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem’s Walls

11 So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 And I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. I did not tell anyone what my God was putting into my [c]mind to do for Jerusalem and there was no animal with me except the animal on which I was riding. 13 So I went out at night by the Valley Gate in the direction of the Dragon’s Well and on to the [d]Refuse Gate, inspecting the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were consumed by fire. 14 Then I passed on to the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was no place for [e]my mount to pass. 15 So I went up at night by the ravine and inspected the wall. Then I entered the Valley Gate again and returned. 16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; nor had I as yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials or the rest who did the work.

17 Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.” 18 I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite [f]official, and Geshem the Arab heard it, they mocked us and despised us and said, “What is this thing you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 20 So I answered them and said to them, “The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.”

It’s always been a bit of a mystery to me, as to why exactly Nehemiah toured the walls in secrecy. But perhaps the end brings a clue. For as soon as they set to rebuilding the walls, Sanballat and his friends begin their abuse.

Whatever the case, I appreciate Nehemiah’s response. He doesn’t remind them of what they already know. That is, he was sent by the king specifically to help the remnant rebuild the city. Instead, he tells them he answers to a higher authority. The same God who gave Nehemiah favor with the king would certainly be with them as they rebuilt the city.

When folks try to discourage us, it might be tempting to bring up the facts and logic behind our decision. But ultimately, if we are doing God’s will, that is the only thing that matters. Everything else is secondary when our mission is God’s mission.

So do not be afraid or discouraged, as the angel told Joshua, only do as God has instructed you, for He is with you always.

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