I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem.” – Neh 2:11-12
I can’t keep a secret. I’m always talking to everyone about what is on my mind. I’m just a very transparent character.
Nehemiah had the ability to keep his mouth shut. I’m impressed by that. We know he prayed for four months before he went to see the Persian king to ask for permission to rebuild Jerusalem. He’d taken a lot of time to think, plan, and shape the idea that God had planted in his mind.
Nehemiah had the FAITH to WAIT for God, patiently waiting for His direction. Warren Wiersbe writes, “True faith in God brings calmmness to the heart that keeps us from rushing about and trying to do in our own strength what only God can do. We must know not only how to weep and pray but also how to wait and pray.”
Then when he got to Jerusalem he set out to assess the situation, to see what exactly what kind of project this was going to be. And he went at night, almost tiptoeing around the walls, trying not to be noticed, keeping it all a secret.
He had with him a few men – trusted souls, who could obviously keep their mouths shut too. Men with whom he had probably shared his vision to rebuild the walls. Men who were like-minded. It’s important that Nehemiah was not totally alone, for an assessment build on the eyes of one man is not necessarily accurate. He needed the wisdom, eyes, and input of other men… to see what he could not see.
I envision Nehemiah and his little team discussing and revising their assessment, making certain it was accurate. I picture them discussing how the idea of rebuilding the wall should be presented to the residents of Jerusalem… refining their “project launch” and marketing strategy. I know they were praying about every detail and seeking God’s guidance and His timing for the unveiling of their plan.
How do I know that? Because when they finally began to speak publically and call local residents to join in the work… everyone did it! If you’ve ever worked with a volunteer organization, you know that a mass movement of people that involves hard work is not so simple! That means that God was behind it all, preparing the hearts of the people so that Nehemiah arrived at exactly the perfect moment and it all came together.
Kelly writes, “Sometimes God drops a dream in our hearts that we must pray over and develop, that we must cultivate by His Word and direction before we share it with others. Here we get a beautiful example from Nehemiah who nurtured a seed of vision into a fully recognizable bloom, before making it known.”
Has God given you a passion for something? A vision for how He might use you for the glory of His Kingdom? Have you been praying about it? Have you been evaluating the need?
Wait for His direction. Resist the urge to run ahead of God. He has a plan. Listen to Him and He will let you know when the time is right for you to run. And then you must run, and not delay.
*Nehemiah, a Bible study by Kelly Minter.