(Very simplistic...to save me from having to write a whole commentary. If you are interested in knowing all the circumstances, go read it. If you read it, start with Genesis, otherwise it isn't going to make as much sense as it could make.)
I hadn't read this book in a long time. When I've read it, I can assure you I didn't take much from it. Maybe I've never read it. I don't know. (This is the part of the story where I must confess I might have cheated in my required reading and perhaps just made up some stuff for my required writing at that Baptist University I attended. In hindsight, I doubt that went undetected.)
I hadn't planned to read Nehemiah this week. But, "hop-scotch Bible reading" led me smack in the middle and I was so consumed with needing to know what that was all about, I ended up going back and reading its entirety.
The part that sucked me in? The realization Nehemiah didn't just sit around after he prayed for Jerusalem. He put some action along with it. He went and helped rebuild the walls. He didn't do this without God, he sought guidance. But, the part that strikes me is he didn't lay around on his OT era couch waiting for those walls to rebuild themselves.
I'm an action kind of person. If I'm going to be involved with something, I just want to make a plan and get it done. Maybe a year ago (definitely a year ago), this is how I ran my whole life: See it. Think about it. Make a plan. Do it. Be done with it. (Note the absence of God.)
And then I decided I was going to follow Jesus. For real. Not just go through the motions of it-like I've done in the past. But, for real. The problem with following (always) is it is impossible to follow if one is going to refuse to obey.
Obedience has been a lifelong issue for me. Obedience is hard. Somewhere in there, I went to the other end of the spectrum (in the name of obedience and too much awareness my plans were MY PLANS) and just said "God will take care of it." while I laid on my post NT era couch and put forth no action. Hmmm...
After everything gets restored, what do they do next? They take out the law of Moses and read it. It seems the people may not have been all that up on what was in the law. But what happened? The people did what the law said. There was revival. The people promised to separate themselves from anything unclean and/or against God. Is this not easily applicable to what is required today?
I'm really loving that I read this book. Of course, the timing is perfect. (My "New Year" starts in August/September instead of January.) I've spent the last week listening to God speak to me so softly about what I'm supposed to do in this (seemingly) impossible place He as put me; a place I love and a place I know I'm supposed to be, but a difficult place nonetheless.
This is not just some nice story about some guy and his commitment to build up some walls. It's a story that provides a model for being a servant led by God. It's also a story (even though I didn't talk about it) about attacks from our enemies (Satan, the world, our old natures) and promises of truth, peace, righteousness, faith and salvation.
Yeah...you should read it. It's just that good.