Date: January 29, 2019 (Training)
Bible Text: | Betty Swann
Series: Pillar Eight
We are studying delightful characters of the Bible in Pillar Seven, Men and Women of the Bible Speak to People of the 21st Century. The same things happened then that happens now. They had family issues and relationship issues just like we do. It will be so interesting when we get to heaven and can talk to these people, and we find out that nothing was really different. Everything was the same. It has been amazing to me as I have traveled round the world and talked to people. I have discovered they are all pretty much alike. Most people just want some peace in their life. They would like to have a happy family, have good children, have a good marriage, and do some nice things and help some people. That is pretty much what people would like out of like. Why can we not have that? Have you ever asked yourself that? There are several reasons why we do not have that. One is that there are people in the world that do not feel that way and they will do whatever they need to do, by hook or crook, to step on whoever they need to step on, or stab someone in the back, and cause whatever kind of trouble they need to cause to get what they want. Who are they following? Think about the devil.
In Isaiah the Bible says that Satan said in his heart, “I will be like the most high God.” God heard his thoughts. It does not say that he said it out loud; it says he thought in his heart “I will be like the most high God.” When something is left to run amuck, there is something in people that make then say “I will do this. I will get that. I will be that.” The sad thing is that in doing that they run over a lot of regular people who are innocent and just wanting to live that life I talked about. In the middle of all of that, you have to have someone come along and be a wall builder. Today, we are talking about Nehemiah who was a true wall builder. He actually built a wall in about 56 days with people from Israel and it was a miracle, and he had great opposition.
What I want to talk about today is relationships and how God wants you to be a wall builder in relationships. Relationships can be torn down and destroyed. A good relationship can go sour and become a bad relationship. Even in relationships, God has you have boundary walls. Did you know that? Sometimes people come to me and say, “I don’t know what went wrong. My life is not my own and I don’t seem to get anything done with my life. People are always asking me this and asking me to do that.” I have said to them, “Have you ever set up boundaries? Have you ever said to the people in your life ‘This is a boundary or a wall, and you can’t go past this point. I love you, but you can’t go over this. If you do, this is what will happen.’” That is a wall or a boundary that God wants you to build if you feel that people are coming into your space too much. It is okay to have those. God wants you to have them. In fact, if you do not have them, I do not think God feels like He can really do anything with your life because you stop it from happening by your inaction or your inability to stand up. Walls are important and boundaries are important because they establish protection. Satan loves for these walls to be lacking or to come down. He loves to move in and out of lives. He loves to wreak havoc in lives. He loves to use people to do his bidding. He likes to do it in families, in marriages, in businesses, in finances, in relationships of all kinds. It is very important that you be a wall builder. We all know that there are people in life who have walls up against other people and they will not let anyone in. I am not talking about that. I am talking about protective walls around your life that keep things out that have no place coming in.
With a wall builder, God is looking for people who would be willing to do big things, take big steps, take big stands for something, even dangerous things, just like Nehemiah. Where was Nehemiah when God called him to go back and rebuild the wall? He was in what today is Iraq. Jeremiah prophesied that the Babylonians are going to come and destroy everything. They are going to take the princes, the kings, the royalty, the families, everyone to Babylon, and you will be there for a long, long time God says. The people did not want to hear Jeremiah say it but it happened, just like God said it would. There are things that God has said today that have not happened yet and people think it is not going to happen. It is going to happen because God said it was going to happen. That is what happened with Nehemiah. He was in the group of royalty that went down. He had a very important job where he was in Babylon. He was the wine taster for the king. The kind did not want to be poisoned so always had someone checking everything. Nehemiah was the kind of man that could be trusted. He had integrity and character. He lived the right way. Even in a foreign land where people did not serve God and had to belief in God and no use for God. They had their own gods. Even there Nehemiah stood out. You want to be like that.
I want to tell you something that will sound very strange. I had a friend whose child was getting married. The grandfather and grandmother were in the ministry. He came to the mother of the child and said, “Which is more important for her to marry, a good Christian or a person with good character?” She could not figure out why he was saying that since he was in the ministry. He said, “Christianity can come and go, but good character will always remain, no matter what.” That is how Nehemiah was. In this country that was mean and cruel, where they did not care about the people of Israel because they were slaves, Nehemiah conducted himself with honor and integrity and it paid off.
What happened to get Nehemiah back to these walls? He got a message that said, “The wall around Jerusalem is destroyed. It is falling down everywhere.” This devastated Nehemiah. Whether it is in a relationship or whatever type of situation, a wall builder says “This is terrible and something needs to be done.” Nehemiah thought about it a long time and he was very sad. The king said to him “Nehemiah why are you so sad.” He said “I gathered up my courage and I told him.” The king said “We need to do something about that. I will send you back.” Anointed people can hear God and they can be wall builders. They inspire courage and confidence in people.
What is the opposite person of a wall-builder? The opposite person goes in and tears down everything. Every time a person tries to build something or gets something going, the opposite person goes in and tears it down. They are destructive. I heard a pastor say, “There are people in life that are troublemakers. Yet you would be very surprised to know that at night those same troublemakers lie in bed and say, “I am a troublemaker. I cause trouble everywhere I go. Why am I like this?” You would be very surprised to know that some of them lie in bed and think that way. I had never heard anyone say anything like that. I am on the prayer team at church, and someone came up for prayer. A lady said, “I am that person. I do that. I tear down; I don’t build walls up like they should be. I tear down everywhere I go. I get fired everywhere I go.” She said, “I want to be different. Can God make me different?” I told her, “He sure can. All you have to do is be willing for God to change you and let Him show you the ways you need to change and how you need to go about it. He will help you.”
As a wall builder; you have to be a person of vision, prayer, and faith. You have to have courage and be bold. For example, maybe the people of your family do not speak and it is tense. Then God tells you, “I want you to be a wall builder. I want you to go in and rebuild all of this. I want to use you to do this.” God will give you ideas and He will tell you how to do it. He not only will tell you how to do it but He will put the anointing on you to do. What is the anointing? That is God’s power on you to do a certain thing and to do it very effectively. God says there are people who are anointed to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and open the eyes of the blind. The Bible also says that God is looking to and fro over the whole earth seeking those that He might be made strong in. Do you want to be one of those kinds of people? Do you want to be someone that when the Lord needs something done He thinks of you because He knows you will do it and He can count on you to do it? God wants you to attempt something so great that if He does not do it then it is not going to happen, and then He gets the glory. He can do that even in spite of your great enemies. Enemies think they are in control. They think they can control you and circumstances. They think when you do any wall building that they can come along behind you and tear it down. What they do not understand is that God is really their enemy, not you. They are fighting God, and God always wins. It might take awhile, but He always wins.
Nehemiah had a real miracle. That wall was built. How hard has it been for you to remodel your house? How long did it take? This was a man coming from another country. He had to enlist people and guard everything. Also, he had two constant enemies saying things to discourage him and discourage the people that were helping him. He still had to keep everything going and he did it in less than two months. Let’s look at this Scripture, “But now I said to them, you know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins and it’s gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace. Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me and about my conversation with the king. They replied at once ‘Yes, let’s rebuild the wall’ so they began the good work.”
As you begin to step out in relationship issues that you have or work issues, you begin to build these walls of protection and listening to God directing you and telling you what to do. One time the Lord told me to start a jail ministry and I had no idea how to do it. I did not know how to go about doing it. God led me to say, “What is the next thing You want me to do?” I would listen, know to do something, and go and do it. Then I would come back to the Lord and ask, “What is the next thing you want me to do?” If you are listening to this, and God has something you need to be doing, then just think about how Nehemiah said, “I told them about how the gracious hand of the Lord had been upon me.” He knew God was telling him. You know it, too.
What are some of the walls that enrich our families, family relationships, or friendships? You might be thinking “I hear you. I know God has been talking to me. I know the voice of the Lord. But, I do not really know what it is all about. I cannot even ask what the next step is because I don’t even understand what I am doing.” What would be some good walls for you to encircle your family or your business situation? I will not tell you these are going to be easy or that you heard God and it happened. There is a saying, “Pray as if everything depended on God, but work as if everything depended on you.”
One of the things that you need is good communication. There are a lot of communication skills to learn and you can learn them. There are books that can teach you. Strong leadership is another. Someone has to have strong leadership because most people are followers, not leaders. They look for someone to follow. If someone with strength of character, vision and purpose will stand up and say, “This is what needs to be done,” they will follow that person. It takes a lot of wisdom and knowledge. Where will you get that? You can get it from reading books. More important is the question, what is your relationship with God like? How much of the Bible do you really know and it is really in you and in your spirit man? The next thing you have to learn in having these protective walls that encircle you is to have a spiritual fellowship with other people and with God, like what I was just talking about. You have to have other people around you that are like-minded. They have the same goals and desires that you have. They have a desire to please God and a desire to do it the way God wants it done. You have to have that kind of spiritual fellowship with people to keep yourself encouraged. You have to have a mutual trust with the people with whom you are working. They have to be able to trust that you will do what you said you would to help them, and you have to be able to trust them that they will stand with you through thick or thin.
Wall building is also going to require everyone giving and everyone sharing. It cannot be that just one person does all the work and makes all the sacrifices. Everyone involved has to say “Here is what I can do. Here is what I can give. This can be my part for the mutual good.” When a husband and wife are having trouble in a marriage, I tell them “Right now this problem is between the two of you. Put the problem out here. Identify the problem and then determine how you can work together to solve that.” If you can ever get people to realize “The problem is out here, but we are over here, and we can solve this” then they can come to some answers.
The final thing in a wall building situation is to have respect and protection of the rights of other people. Do you see how people just run over others and how they have no respect? That can happen with your teenagers. You might think “You are just a kid, I don’t care what you say.” However, they could have the wisdom that I talked about before. They could have the very wisdom you need to have. If it is in your family, just have a family council meeting and say, “This is our problem.” Get the problem out in the middle and do not say, “He did this. She said that.” You can say “This is our problem. We are not very close as a family. We do not enjoy each other. We are not pulling together.” Then say, “I want everyone to think of what each one could do to build this wall around our family. Think what we can do to be a family, to be united and be together. One for all and all for one.” I can give you another example of how this could be. Have you noticed that children, when they are growing up, they fight a lot among themselves, and there is a lot of sibling rivalry? When my children were fighting, I would say “This is the only brother you are ever going to have. This is the only sister you are ever going to have. No one else is ever going to be as connected to you blood-wise as this. You need to pull for each other and you need to be each other’s best friend.” They would react like “I don’t want to talk to him. I don’t want to look at her.” Because it was truth and because it was God working there, they would listen. They became extremely close and even ended up rooming together as adults for a couple of years.
How do you make these things work and how do you give this kind of protection? As a family or a business, if you are determined to conquer this problem, I want to encourage you to study the book of Nehemiah. He had a strong determination in him. In one instance, Nehemiah got so angry at the Israelites because they would not do what they were supposed to and they were fighting that he knocked their heads together. I am not recommending that but I think that it is very funny that that is in the Bible about a hero of God. What you have to constantly communicate in building this wall is that no matter how hard the difficulties, we are going to win because we are united.
Look at this next Scripture in Nehemiah 2:20 where he shares his faith by saying, “I replied the God of heaven will help us and we, His servants, will rebuild this wall, but you may have no part in this affair.” When you are rebuilding something in your life, there might be people who want try to have a part in it. They want their wisdom involved. You might have to say to them, “God is going to help us and we are going to do it, but you cannot have any part in it.” That takes courage, but the reason you would do it is because you know if they were involved they would cause more havoc and it would never happen. You have to be strong. You need to realize there will always be opposition to the mission. If there is something that God tells you to do or that you see needs to be done and God needs to help you do it, do not think that because you believe and I have faith and courage and it is going to happen.”
There will always be opposition. It always comes to a great work, “The greater the work, the greater the opposition.” I have heard people say, “I bet Billy Graham has the easiest life. God speaks to him and all of his years he has served the Lord and it has been wonderful. I bet he has had an easy life.” I do not think so. I am sure he has had the greatest opposition you could ever imagine, because his work was so great. Do not be surprised when it comes. That is probably the biggest mistake people make. They do not expect it to come because they might think that sounds negative, or they just do not expect opposition to come. Then when it does come they are caught off guard. Remember, Satan is your enemy. He is the accuser of the brethren and he is also designed to stop you. He cannot stop you because he is not God. Satan and God are not equal.
The third Scripture in Nehemiah 2:19 says, “But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the Amonnite official heard of my arrival they were very displeased (opposition to the mission) that someone had come to help the people of Israel.” The enemies of Israel were angry that the Israelites were rebuilding the broken walls of Jerusalem.
Why do you think the devil that is in this world would want to keep us from repairing the walls that have been broken in our own lives? One reason is to divide and conquer. A house divided cannot stand and Satan is after marriages. He is after teenagers. You have to work together. You cannot do it alone. Remember the Lord wants to help you. You can build those protective walls.
QUIET TIME QUESTIONS
1. Who is the main person in this lesson?
2. Briefly describe what they did for God.
3. What scripture about this person is meaningful to you and why?
4. In what ways do you find yourself relating to this person or their experience?
5. How does this lesson influence your thoughts about God or the way you walk out your beliefs?
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Topics: People of the Bible Speak