The early chapters of the book of Nehemiah are about rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem in spite of heavy opposition (including threats of violence), political hurdles, and other obstacles.
The wall is EVERYTHING to Nehemiah.
Nehemiah is living in exile. He’s done well for himself and directly serves the king of the current ruling empire. He receives a report that the walls of Jerusalem are broken down. Nehemiah breaks down in weeping for his people, he prays, and then he jumps into action.
The early chapters of Nehemiah are all about rebuilding the wall.
It’s all hands on deck and literally working round the clock. The potential threat from the outside, from Israel’s enemies, is too great to stop the work.
Getting the wall built is EVERYTHING. ……….until it isn't.
In chapter 5 he stops the work. He stops the work because he’s facing something worse than an outside threat. It’s an inside threat. There’s now the possibility of getting the wall done and ending up with something not worth protecting.
So this weekend, as we study this passage, we'll take time to think about some of the projects or goals in our lives that are EVERYTHING to us right now, the things that are absorbing our time and energy and life right now.
Let’s call whatever this is in your life your wall. It’s the wall you need to complete. It is of absolute importance.
It was for Nehemiah. It could be an issue of life or death for the Israelites.
Today’s passage is about recognizing that it's not all about the wall.
It's not all about the wall!
As important as your wall is, it’s not all about the wall. There are more important things than the wall. There are higher priorities.
Of course, you know this. But how often do you forget while building your wall?
I do. Frequently!
We need to stop (often) and remind ourselves that’s it’s not all about the wall because we may get the wall and lose something greater, more significant, more important if we’re not careful.
I hope to see you see you on the weekend. Take time from your wall and worship with us! And invite a friend who, like you, might need this message.
(Spoiler alert: Nehemiah finished the wall. Above is a picture I took last week in Israel. It's a part of that wall. I almost missed it because I was preoccupied with a toilet. Yeah, sorry, but I'll explain this weekend. Pray I make it in time for services because our flight out of Israel has been delayed 24 hours, one more connection has been added to the itinerary, and I see a snowstorm is expected on Saturday in the Twin Cities. On the bright side, I'm getting to write this from a hotel in Jerusalem!)