I used to be a camp nurse. On Sunday afternoons a couple of hundred kids would show up. Some were nervous, some were just plain scared, others wouldn’t let you know what they were feeling. Happily, most of them were excited to be there. The energy level at a camp full of kids is off the charts. I was reading through Nehemiah 3 this morning and a picture of camp came to mind. We had the place, the dining hall, the chapel, the bunk rooms and the beach. We had counselors, a program director, registration staff, cooks, maintenance guys, a nurse and lots of campers. However, left alone that energy level, even with all the right “pieces” would just be chaos. Chances of someone getting hurt, lost, or sick would be high, higher than the energy level I would venture to guess. But from the moment of arrival on camp grounds we had a plan. We registered each camper and sent them to their assigned cabin. The dinner bell rang and everyone went to dinner where they received their first set of instructions on the next phase of their week at camp. At the end of the week lives had been changed, new friends made, lessons learned both physical and spiritual. Alot of this happened in my opinion because of two things.
1. The staff had been called by God and looked for God for the plan of what to do.
2 The campers were focused on being campers.
At the end of chapter two of Nehemiah he had finished his private evaluation of the situation. He personally looked over the entire wall. He knew what needed to be done. Now remember he started this whole project with 4 months of prayer and waiting on God to give him the way in. But with that phase behind him he gathered the “Jews, priests, nobles, officials and any others who would be doing the work.” (Neh. 2:16-17) Then he started with what we like to call talking about the “elephant in the room.” Verse 17 says, “You see the trouble we are in;” – Dah, they are living in an unprotected city because the walls and gates are literally all broken down. Then he calls them to action. “Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem.” Now to my simple mind this also seems like a “dah”. They were living there completely infiltrated with foreigners and foreign culture. Why did they not fix the wall a long time ago. I’m thinking it was just like camp would be if the kids were dropped off and just left to wander around, find their own place to stay and do their own thing. They (campers) knew they were left there for a purpose but till someone draws them together and tells them the plan they don’t know how to carry it out, or they are too scared to try it on their own. It looks to overwhelming. (ie. Nobody else is rebuilding the wall. How/why can I?) Then Nehemiah puts the stamp of approval on the plan. He tells them of the “gracious hand of his God upon him and what the king had said to him.” (Vs. 18) The gracious hand of his (my) God – a personal testimony of the God he knows well and how his God put this plan together, opening the way for Nehemiah to come and to bring supplies. Hearing teaching from God’s word from leaders is one thing. Hearing how it has played out in their lives is another thing. Just a side note, I think that is one of the reasons Weekend on the Farm is so powerful. The direct teaching of God’s word is interlaced with personal testimonies of His working in real peoples lives.
So what was the response? They said let’s start rebuilding and they began this “good work.”
Then begins a long list of people who began to work and where they worked. This is important. Check it out. Did you notice the list of people Nehemiah spoke to? The only requirement was that you were a Jew. All walks of life were there, with all kinds of talents and occupations and social status. There were priests, goldsmiths, perfumemakers, rulers,commoners and even women noted working. It also notes that some of the nobles didn’t work. No matter those that would work, worked. It says more than once that they worked opposite their house and next to the next group. It makes sense. They worked on the wall near their home. The area they would most like to defend and they worked right up to the next group. Suddenly the overwhelmingly huge job of repairing the wall around the city was a whole lot simpler. Repair the wall outside your home right up to where your neighbor is working on it. They had a vested personal interest even beyond the over all protection of their city, their own home and family. What a great plan!
Do you see the application to our life? Our world has been infiltrated with lies and deception. Our testimony collectively as Christians is often not good. To try to “fix” the whole world is a daunting, overwhelming task to say the least. But, if we start with ourselves and rebuild our walls of protection. We will then be able to live God’s way individually which will enable us to strengthen our family. As we do we’ll run into our neighbor and then look out! Pretty soon our town, state, country will be surrounded by God’s wall of protection. But it starts at home in my heart. Will I be a leader to get the ball rolling?
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