Surveying the Damage

And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon. And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire. Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king’s pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass. Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned. And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work. – Nehemiah 2:12-16

nehemiahamidtheruinsofjerusalemnehemiah2-13-15Some might think that Nehemiah’s next step is a bit unusual. I know I did, at first. With such a daunting task ahead of him, one would think he would immediately ask for help, at least to ease the burden of planning and preparation.  But Nehemiah tells no one his plan. But that’s the key, it was not his plan.  The plan was God’s, and HE put it on Nehemiah’s heart. Nehemiah knows that he has the responsibility of overseeing the entire work. He know that he needs to be intimately familiar with every detail of what needs to be done. What he found was a city in ruins.  Portions of the walls were destroyed to the extent that the donkey he rode upon could even pass through.

Nehemiah probably anticipated opposition to his plan both from the outside, with Sanballat and Tobiah, and from the inside with the nobles that liked their current way of life fellowshipping the heathen nations around them. Knowing that he would face such great opposition, he may have needed this time alone to inspect the damage. Not only so he could see what needed to be done, but so that he could be fully persuaded that it must be done and nothing could change his mind. He needed to become like Popeye when he had finally had enough, “That’s all I can stand. I can’t stands no more!”

When the Lord places a burden on our hearts to do something. It is our responsibility, not another’s. If you see someone in need and you have the means to help, you don’t need charitable organization or anything else. Just help them. Acting on faith does not require a committee. It requires a faithful disciple willing to take the first step.

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