E-Message Bible/Commentary

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." --- Psalm 119:105

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Do Your Part!
They replied, "Let us start rebuilding." So they began this good work. (Nehemiah 2:18b)

Do you believe that if you did your part, world hunger could soon be a thing of the past? Do you believe that if you did your part, teenager pregnancies would be nonexistent, the spread of the AIDS virus would cease? Do you believe that if you did your part, social injustices was not take over the major part of the world? If you said "No" to any of the above questions, then perhaps that's why these things exist in our world today. We see a problem, but then we think nothing can be done about it. We think we cannot make a difference. So the problem continues. What if you were the one to take a stand against one problem of the world, and someone else would take a stand against another and someone else would take a stand against another? If everyone pitched in to help, then the world would be a better place starting with you with one project at a time.

If you think it cannot be done, let's look at one person who saw a need and did not feel comfortable until he did something about it. The walls of Jerusalem had been in ruins for many years. When Nehemiah heard about the condition of the walls, he went to see for himself. Once there, he did something about the walls. While working on the walls, Nehemiah and his crew were harassed and called fools for undertaking such a monumental task. To the taunts and tricks of his enemies and those who said it couldn't be done, Nehemiah remarked, "I am doing a great work, so I cannot come down." (Nehemiah 6:3)

Once you begin to do your part, others will see your good work and will be willing to join you. There are 38 different people and 42 different groups of people recorded in just one chapter of Nehemiah. People are willing to help once someone else starts a project. While everybody else is sitting back complaining about what needs to be done, why don't you take the lead and do your part?

Nehemiah and his helper finished rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem in just 52 days against overwhelming odds. Since Nehemiah was so successful with rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, he went on to do other great things such as leading many social and political reforms among his people, including a return to true worship and serving God.

Do you see a need among your people? Do you see a problem that needs to be resolved? Do you see a project that needs to be undertaken? Perhaps you are the one God has shown it to so that you can be the one to do something about it. Remember Nehemiah HEARD about the problem. Then he SAW the seriousness of the problem himself. He could not rest until he DID something about the problem.

Let Nehemiah's command to "rise up and build" (Nehemiah 2:18) be an inspiration to you to complete some major project to the glory of God.

O God, Strengthen My Hands"
But now, O God, strengthen my hands. (Nehemiah 6:9)

Nehemiah was burdened about the conditions in Jerusalem. He was burdened because the walls of Jerusalem still lay in ruins long after they should have been restored. Several groups had preceded Nehemiah to rebuild the walls. Each time a group started to rebuild the walls, they became discouraged and quit. Some got so far as laying the foundation, but they gave up their efforts. Nehemiah saw a need, and he sought to fill it.

From the very beginning Nehemiah had to overcome opposition from people within his group as well as from people outside his group. Nehemiah and his men worked with construction tools in one hand and weapons in the other (Nehemiah 4:17). People mocked him for his building efforts reminding him that others had tried and failed. Each time this happened, Nehemiah prayed the short sentence prayer: "O God, strengthen my hands."

Despite continual opposition, the walls were completed in only 52 days. This great task was accomplished because Nehemiah never left God out of his everyday tasks. He prayed for God's direction and guidance. Nehemiah is an excellent lesson on the power of prayer for all believers. When you get a chance, read some of the powerful prayers in Nehemiah (1:5-11; 2:1-20; 4:1-14; 6:9-14). But for now pray that short sentence prayer: "O God, strengthen my hands." You will be amazed how quickly God will respond.

God's Specific Grace
What a gracious and merciful God you are! (Nehemiah 9:31)

Sometimes we take God's grace for granted. Sometimes we overlook God's grace. Sometimes we forget about God's grace. Sometimes we don't even see God's grace operating in our lives.
Throughout the Bible, we see how people sinned and rebelled intensely against God. When they repented and returned to God, God accepted them back because of His grace. God doesn't put a limit on His grace. The grace He showed to His chosen people, He can show to us as well. God's gives general grace to all. However, in order to receive God's specific grace, we need to go to Him and ask Him for help for specific situations.
If there is a recurring problem or difficulty in your life, ask God to be gracious toward you. Then be willing to make the necessary changes in your behavior that will correct the situation. Before long you will be able to say emphatically like Nehemiah, "What a gracious and merciful God you are!"
There is nothing wrong with asking God for specific grace. Ask and you shall receive! (Matthew 7:7)


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