I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I studied the book of Nehemiah. It’s a good possibility I have never even read it in its entirety. Hearing my friend share how Nehemiah had captured her heart and God had given her a new mission, sat me up in my chair. I knew in that moment I needed to study Nehemiah immediately.
Within moments of our Zoom meeting, the three amigos had a new mission: a prayer movement. With everything going on in 2020, the answer seemed simple. It is time to pray. Together. As ONE.
It took me about a week to read through Nehemiah. Here is a brief synopsis of the book:
The book of Nehemiah gives us an autobiographical and biographical view of Jerusalem during the reign of Artaxerxes around 430 B.C. The main character, Nehemiah has been informed of the depilated state of the wall surrounding Jerusalem.
Seeing the despair of Nehemiah, Artaxerxes questions his sadness. Nehemiah then petitions him to be able to survey the wall and rebuild it. The King grants his request and Nehemiah sets out on a mission. Despite naysayers, those in opposition, and incredibly challenging work, Nehemiah and his team complete the wall revision in 52 days. Throughout the process, he positions those to guard and protect the wall and instructs the people to pray and renew their faith in God. There was a great celebration among the people of God at the completion of the wall. Worshipping, reading of the word, prayer, celebration and feasts, confession and repentance, were found among God’s people.
If you are like me, you can probably easily quote Nehemiah 8:10, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” When you further examine this common phrase, you will find the connection with 1 Chronicles 16:27 and Ezra 6:16. Nehemiah and 1 Chronicles use of joy comes from the Hebrew word chedvah meaning joy and gladness. This word is only used in these two verses and has origination from the Chadlee verse of Ezra 6:16 (And the people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy).
The use of “strength” in 1 Chronicles translates to might, strength (`oz). In Nehemiah “strength” translates to a place of safety (ma`owz). As Nehemiah and Ezra led the exiles into the great reconstruction of the wall and temple, we read of their overwhelming joy and gladness. The same joy that God had in their worship, rejoicing, and celebrating. God has joy, God is joy, God gives joy!
The completion of the wall was symbolic of God’s protection around them. The JOY OF THE LORD is a strength/might and place of safety. In His joy we find refuge. It doesn’t matter what is happening outside the walls, we are safe. God finds joy in protecting His children. His joy is so spectacular it provides protection. There are several things that bring God joy, and we are one of them!
Zephaniah 3:17 is a reminder that God rejoices over us with gladness:
The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
After reading Nehemiah I can’t help but ask myself what example should I be following from this leader?
- Unity. Nehemiah was quick to organize the “remnant” and those in exile with a mission. It was a simple mission: rebuild the wall and gates surrounding Jerusalem. Why was this important? These walls would ultimately serve as protection to the people and the temple.
- Rededication to God. As the wall neared completion, exiles returned. Soon the priest, Ezra, began reading The Law. The Israelites confessed their sins and returned to right standing with God. Our above mentioned verse comes in play at this point in the story: And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
- Worship and Celebration. The joy found in returning home, hearing the words of God, and knowing that you were finally in His safety naturally led to worship and celebrating. The goodness of God moves us to worship; in our own private times as well as with our brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s a natural outward reflection of what we are experiencing inward.
In time of uncertainty, fear, anxiety, and danger life can feel overwhelming. As our country and the world is searching for answers, we know that God is the ultimate place of refuge. Nehemiah writes in verse 8, “for the good hand of my God was upon me.” As I point back to my intro story, my friends and I felt strongly that God was leading us to organize a prayer movement. In doing so we believe we will witness unity, rededication to God, and worship and celebrating in the body of Christ.
On The Wall Prayer Movement is looking for men and women of God who are ready to take action in the spiritual realm: utilizing the Word as a reference, and petitioning God through daily prayers. “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:18-20.
I am hoping that your heart is racing to join us and you are now yelling at your computer screen to tell you more!
- You can sign up to be a prayer partner: http://eepurl.com/gP7B2f
- Each week you will receive an email with instructions for prayer. The weekly blog will include scripture focus as well as 3 key points of prayer for the week.
- Prayer will be held at 12pm EST everyday. If you are unable to pray at that time, please set up your own daily reminder/alert. The purpose is to have everyone praying everyday AS ONE.
- Our first prayer blog will be published next week, August 17. This gives us 3 days to invite friends and family!
- Stay tuned for updated social media accounts on Youth Pastors Coalition. Facebook and Instagram will give weekly updates of prayer points. You can share these and invite others to pray with us!
Brick by brick and prayer by prayer, we desire to honor God and bring Him joy. It is in His joy we will find strength and a place of safety. So come on brothers and sisters, let’s become ONE.
Nehemiah was a man of action; he got things done. He knew how to use persuasion but also force. One may properly call him the father of Judaism. Because of Nehemiah, Judaism had a fortified city, a purified people, a dedicated and unified nation, renewed economic stability, and a new commitment to God’s law.
– D.C. Martin