We all – individually and corporately – have periods in our lives that necessitate rebuilding. The book of Nehemiah in the Bible is a great book to read, study and be encouraged through the rebuilding process. The book also demonstrates that when God is in it and we follow Him, the rebuilding is far greater than we could imagine.
An interesting fact about Nehemiah is that he did not pass the blame. He shouldered the responsibility, and he had not been in Jerusalem. It is very probable that Nehemiah was born in captivity in Babylon and very possible he had never been to Jerusalem. Even so he felt a great burden and passion for the city of his ancestors.
Too often people want to play the blame game, never taking individual responsibility for our situation. Those who play the blame game never get the rebuilding job done. Nehemiah refused to point fingers. Instead he shouldered the responsibility. Look at verses six and seven of chapter one.
“let Your eyes be open and Your ears be attentive to hear Your servant’s prayer that I now pray to You day and night for Your servants, the Israelites. I confess the sins we have committed against You. Both I and my father’s house have sinned.
7 We have acted corruptly toward You and have not kept the commands, statutes, and ordinances You gave Your servant Moses.”
This behavior follows a rebuilder who has made an open and honest assessment and has identified with the needs of the looming situation. In our individual lives and in churches, people often want to blame the broken walls on other people. In churches I’ve noticed people often place the blame of current situations on past leaders and former members of the church. This may in part be true, but, when we fail to accept responsibility, we have fallen into the snare of failure. Falling into this trap keeps us from moving forward.
This point more than any other perhaps is what keeps men and women from being rebuilders. It is much easier to blame others for our broken-down walls and burned gates than it is to make an honest assessment and move forward with what might be uncomfortable rebuilding.
Nehemiah could have blamed others but he didn’t. His goal and focus was getting the walls rebuilt. This was the matter of highest importance. It was not about who did or did not do something in the past. It was not about what could’ve been or what once was. Nehemiah had a burden and a passion from God. And he would not be deterred. Nehemiah’s focus was on getting right the task before him today so God’s work would be glorified into the future.
Reversing decline and rebuilding will never be accomplished until individual responsibility is accepted by all involved. One of the great facts revealed in the book of Nehemiah is that it only takes one person to begin the rebuilding process. In this case it was Nehemiah. In my circumstances it is me. In your life it is you. You are the only one who can start the rebuilding process. Nehemiah was one man. But what a difference he made. He led this small remnant of Israelites to accomplish a feat that was humanly impossible. But it did not happen until one man, one rebuilder, started right.