Nehemiah Part 14: Finishing and Celebrating

Nehemiah Part 14: Finishing and Celebrating

Unfortunately, there were technical difficulties during the audio recording of this lesson. There is no podcast episode for this post. You can still read the blog post below.


This morning I want to talk about finishing, being a part of a team and celebrating. We will be reading Nehemiah 6:15-16, 12:17, 31, and 40-43.

The Re-entry in Apollo 13 is one of my favorite movie scenes. I love the different reactions. Just seeing it makes you want to stand up and cheer. Six intense days of trying to bring three men back to Earth.   How about Gene Kranz (Ed Harris)? Notice his reaction, he just sat down. I wonder if that was Nehemiah’s reaction after 52 days.

Nehemiah Finishes (6:15)

So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. – Nehemiah 6:15

Remember, Nehemiah’s heart was broken for his people. Those living in Jerusalem were living in shame and danger. When Nehemiah heard the news about his people, he experienced holy discontent. He risked everything by boldly asking King Artaxerxes for time off and part of his wealth to go and rebuild the wall. He walked 500 miles from Babylon to Jerusalem and built a team to build the wall. He had to persevere through external threats from his enemies, internal threats from his team, and his own self-doubt.

There are no overt miracles in Nehemiah, just a leader inserting himself to be part of the solution. Now, we get to the end of the task. Nehemiah finished in 52 days, from the first brick to the last.

Finishing well is a great theme throughout the Bible:

Jesus: John 19:30 – “When Jesus had received the drink, he said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

Paul: II Tim 4:6 – “The time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

The word “departure” in the greek was most commonly used in reference to a boat, loosening its ropes at the dock.

How do you rate yourself as a “finisher?” Think about your efforts in Spiritual Disciplines like: Bible reading, prayer, and serving others. How about finishing in commits you make in relationships: wife, children, & friendships? How about finishing well with projects at work? 

Reaction to Finishing (6:16)

16 And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God. – Nehemiah 6:16

This is an important verse!  When all the enemies heard of it….they fell greatly in their own esteem.” This means they fell much in their own eyes. Their high opinion of themselves received a serious setback. The group who had been so cocky, intimidating, and threatening — all that came to an abrupt halt. God used Nehemiah’s tenacity and courage to expose these men and put them in their place.

But before that cockiness shifts to Nehemiah and his team (which can happen very easily), “they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.” Nehemiah and his team did something remarkable. They built the wall, which built up a depressed people group (the Jews) and at the same time made appropriate adjustments to the pride of their oppressors. Yet they did it in such a way that everyone recognized the credit goes to God.

You see, the ultimate point all along, was to have both friends and foes confront the power and presence of the living God. What’s the first question in the Westminster Confession of Faith?

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

The penultimate point (second to the first point) was rebuilding the wall. The ultimate point was for people to give glory to God.  So whatever your “great work” is, whether the penultimate point is to provide: finances, web-design, medical care, accounting, or products, the ultimate point is to bring the full force, weight, and glory of God into your place of leadership. This allows God’s reality to be seen and confront those who don’t know Him. This is so important.

How do you work in such a way that those who work with you or witness your accomplishments give glory to God?   What kind of Character would need to be on display?

Celebration! (Ch. 12)

Here is the Chapter with explosive joy!

12:27 – And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres.

12:40 – So both choirs of those who gave thanks stood in the house of God, and I and half of the officials with me; (there were two choirs)

12:43 – And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.

Sounds strange doesn’t it? God makes them rejoice? When you are partnering with God on a project and it gets done, God wants to throw a party. God loves to take time to sit back, look at, and enjoy what has been accomplished. God loves a party!

In Genesis 2, God finishes creation and takes time to enjoy and rejoice. In Exodus 15, a party breaks out when God rescues them from Egypt. In Nehemiah, God makes people rejoice with great joy at the building of the wall.

Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding to keep a party going. (John 2 – Water to Wine.)

Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? When he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

-Luke 15:3-7

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy…..

-Galatians 5:22

This world’s timeline terminates in a wedding party! (Revelation 19).

Are you good at celebrating? What would those you work or live with say about you in regards to your joy? What’s one concrete thing you can do to celebrate or enjoy?

 

Questions

  1. How do you rate yourself as a “finisher?” (Think about your efforts in Spiritual Disciplines like: Bible Reading, Prayer, Serving others) How about finishing in commits you make in relationships: wife, children, & friendships? How about finishing well with projects at work? 

  2. How do you work in such a way that those who work with you or witness your accomplishments give glory to God? What kind of Character would need to be on display?

  3. Are you good at Celebrating? What would those you work/live with say about you in regards to your Joy? What’s one concrete thing you can do to Celebrate or Enjoy?

 


 

Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips Signiture

 

 

 

Paul Phillips
Pastor, Christ Community Church
www.ironleader.org
paul@cccwnc.com

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