The Wisdom of Unity
(Proverbs 30:27) The locust never moves alone. They have no king but they understand the value of unity and advance in ranks. The word “ranks” is a military term which shows they understand unity. Nehemiah realized the destruction of Jerusalem was based on selfishness and division. He found a way to unite them in a common cause by giving them a vision of a better future.
The first thing Nehemiah did when he arrived in Jerusalem was to secretly review the destroyed city at night. He knew he must get his facts straight before attempting such a big project. (Nehemiah 2:15-16)
The second thing he did was to identify with their problem. He didn’t say, “You see the distress that you are in.” No, he said, “You see the distress that we are in.” (Nehemiah 2:17) He realized he couldn’t rebuild the city as an outsider.
The third thing he did was refocus the people’s attention on what could be done. (Nehemiah 2:18) Don’t spend too much time talking about the problem; instead, refocus their attention on the vision of a better future. “So they said, ‘Let us rise up and build.’ Then they set their hands to this good work.” The wall can’t be rebuilt unless we are united.
Opposition from without
Nehemiah quickly discover why the walls had not been rebuilt. There’ll always be critics. They’ll do everything in their power to stop us from building the wall. They laughed at them. (Nehemiah 2:19) They mocked them. (Nehemiah 4:1) They conspired against them. (Nehemiah 4:8) They wanted him to argue with them. (Nehemiah 6:2-4) We must stay focused on what God has called us to do.
Division from within
(Nehemiah 5:1) This was a greater problem than the attacks from without. Nehemiah listened carefully to their complaints and gave serious thought to the accusations before answering them. (Nehemiah 5:7) Sooner or later every leader will face this type of problem and only God can help us find the right answer. Nehemiah used the example of his personal life to correct them. (Nehemiah 5:8) Without integrity we cannot solve this type of problem. The leader’s life is his greatest message and he must be prepared to use it wisely. (Nehemiah 5:14-16)
Attacks on leaders
“I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.” (Mark 14:27) This is one of the devil’s favorite strategies. Nehemiah continually prayed for God’s protection. We can’t afford to become careless or the enemy will attack us. Nehemiah wisely armed the people. (Nehemiah 4:13) If we surround ourselves with weak people, when the enemy attacks, they won’t be able to help us.
Nehemiah never did anything alone. He understood the value of unity. “The king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.” (Nehemiah 2:9) Even when Nehemiah was secretly reviewing the destroyed walls he took people with him. “I and a few men with me.” (Nehemiah 2:12) Nehemiah delegated authority to men he could trust. “I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hanahiah the leader of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.” (Nehemiah 7:2) Good leaders surround themselves with quality people of integrity.
“So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. (Nehemiah 6:15) It’s at this point that many leaders make a serious mistake. The work isn’t about building walls, it’s about the people of God. Building the church is about people, not temples. Nehemiah knew the work wasn’t finished until the city was full of people. The walls were built to serve the people, not the people to serve the walls. Nehemiah developed a plan to repopulate the city. (Nehemiah 11:1) They celebrated the people who volunteered to move into Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 11:2) We should “bless” those who “willingly offer themselves.”
At this point the enemies of God were forced to admit this was God’s work. “They perceived that this work was done by our God.” (Nehemiah 6:16)
The people of God celebrated what God helped them accomplish. (Nehemiah 12:43) “They offered great sacrifices and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy.” The work isn’t finished until we celebrate a job well-done.
“And the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.”