DETERMINATION – finishing a job even when it might be hard.
Nehemiah had a very important job. He was the cupbearer for the king. A cupbearer served the king his food and drink after he had tasted it first. That might sound strange to you, but in Nehemiah’s day men might try to kill the king by putting poison in his food or drink. So the cupbearer would taste everything first to see if it tasted good and was free from poison. If the cupbearer didn’t die, then the food was safe for the king. If the food was poisoned, well, then the king was safe but he had to find a new cupbearer.
So you see Nehemiah had a very important job, but it was also dangerous. The king fully trusted Nehemiah to keep him safe. Nehemiah also talked with the king about important things.
One day some Jewish men were in town who had just returned from visiting Jerusalem, the Jewish capital city in Judah. Jerusalem had been destroyed many years earlier and the Jewish people had been taken captive. God had allowed this because the Jews refused to worship Him as the only true God and instead they worshipped idols. Nehemiah himself was a Jew, but he had been born in captivity in the land of Persia and had never seen Jerusalem. Still Jerusalem held a special place in his heart and Nehemiah worshipped the true God.
“What does the city look like, friends?” Nehemiah asked the visitors. “Oh, it lies in ruin. The walls are all torn down, and there is garbage everywhere. The temple has been rebuilt, but the Jews living in the city have no protection from their enemies.” When Nehemiah heard this news, it made him very sad. He knew that God must be sad too for He loved the Jewish people.
Nehemiah began to fast (not eat) and to spend time praying. And as he fasted and prayed he asked God to let him get permission from the king to go back and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. You see Nehemiah was DETERMINED to do what he could to help his fellow Jews to restore the city of Jerusalem.
One day as Nehemiah was serving the king his food, the king asked, “Why are you so sad, Nehemiah? Is something wrong?” Nehemiah said a quick prayer and then told the king all that was on his heart. To Nehemiah’s surprise, the king told him that he could go to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls. The king also said that he would pay for everything. The king then wrote a letter to his chief woodsman, Asaph, to provide Nehemiah all the wood he needed. He also wrote a letter to the rulers near Jerusalem letting them know that it was okay for Nehemiah to repair the walls.
The trip to Jerusalem took a long time and, once he got there, Nehemiah waited three days before he did anything. Then on the third night, he took a ride on a donkey around the outside of the city. He saw that everything the men had told him was right … the big stone walls were destroyed and there was garbage everywhere.
This would be a very hard job! Soon after he saw this, Nehemiah called all of the Jewish leaders together and told them why he had come to Jerusalem. He said, “You see how bad things are here. Let’s rise up and build the walls! God will help us.” Nehemiah was DETERMINED to get the Jewish people to help him rebuild the walls.
The men began to work, each repairing the wall near his home. Several enemies of the Jews, men by the names of Tobiah, Sanballat, and Geshem, didn’t like the idea of the Jews having big stone walls around their city for protection. These evil men did all they could to stop the work on the wall. They began by making fun of the workers. They said, “What you are doing won’t last. That wall is so weak that if a fox ran across it, it would fall down.” But the Jews prayed to God and DETERMINED to keep building.
When making fun of the Jews didn’t work, these wicked men made plans to attack and kill the Jews. When word came to Nehemiah of their plot, he called the workers together and they prayed, asking for God’s protection. Then they carried their weapons while they worked and set watchmen to keep a look out for the enemy. The Jews kept building. They were DETERMINED to finish the job.
Sanballet and his friends tried a trick. They invited Nehemiah to come meet with them to make peace. They were lying. They wanted Nehemiah to come to them so that they could kill him. Nehemiah told them that he was too busy to meet with them (he really was busy, but he also knew that they were lying and wanted to kill him). They tried to trick him like this four times, but without success.
Then they told another lie. They wrote an open letter, one that everyone could read, saying that the only reason Nehemiah wanted the walls rebuilt was so that he could proclaim himself the king of the land. These evil men knew that if word of this got back to the real king, that he would be angry for letting Nehemiah go and that he would send his army to destroy Jerusalem once again. Nehemiah wrote back to Sanballet and told him that what they said was not true at all. During all of this, the workers kept working … DETERMINED to finish.
THE WALL IS FINISHED!
Even with all the ridicule, threats and lies, the garbage was removed and the big stone walls around the city were rebuilt in just 52 DAYS! With God’s help and their DETERMINATION to complete the job, the Jews now had a place that was safe from their enemies.
Are you DETERMINED? Are you determined to have a good attitude no matter how hard things may be as you stay at home during Covid-19? Are you determined to complete your on-line school work even though it is different than what you are used to? Are you determined to help with the household chores like washing dishes, weeding the garden or cleaning your room? Are you determined to tell your friends about Jesus even if they make fun of you or tell lies about you?
As you look at any job or challenge, ask God to help you keep at it until it is done. Ask Him to help you do your very best and to keep you from quitting, even when the job gets tough. Be DETERMINED to finish the job no matter what!
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might… Ecclesiastes 9:10
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
I Corinthians 10:31
Note: in the above verses the words “thy” means “your” and “ye” means “you”