A Better Nehemiah

Out of the Ruins Through a Reality Check: Nehemiah 2:11-20

Recently I preached at Flood and when I arrived home, I settled in for a nice Sunday afternoon nap.  I awoke after and was hit with the realization that I had missed a critical part of this passage; that somehow, its fullest meaning did not occur to me until I had prepared it, delivered it, and reflected upon it.  Pastor Humphreys often shares with the congregation the ways in which Christ is reflected within the prophets and other writers of scripture.  I felt it neglectful if I did not do the same for this passage.   Jesus is our better Nehemiah who wants us to live freely and in the fullness of his kingdom but first, we need a reality check.

Jesus is our better Nehemiah who wants us to live freely and in the fullness of his kingdom but first, we need a reality check. Click To Tweet

1) Christ Enters Our Lives

As Nehemiah himself entered a land he had never been to, so did Christ enter our earthly existence, complete with limitations and the usual ups and downs of human life.  He felt hunger, he felt pain, he experienced loss.  As Nehemiah surveyed the damage of the walls of Jerusalem, so does Christ also know the condition we are in.  In his effort to identify with us, he sees the pain we experience.

2)  Christ Speaks Truth

Nehemiah approaches the pain of the Israelites and sees it in a way that they cannot.  They have been living in this rubble for some time while he views it with fresh eyes.  He gently shares the stark reality of their situation and does not shy away from saying exactly how it is. Jesus is a better Nehemiah because he also tells us the things we are doing are not good, the habits we have developed are unhealthy, the brokenness that we’ve been living with for so long is actually causing further damage to our hearts and lives.

3) Christ Rebuilds Our Brokenness

Often, we are just too used to living with things as they are.  At our house, there’s a toilet that does not work properly yet my husband is a licensed plumber!  Instead of fixing it once and for all, we have figured out how to live around the broken toilet, to entertain its disrepair even though it is inconvenient and probably a relatively simple issue.  Jesus stands before the broken things in our lives and says to us, “Come on, things aren’t good, but this is not who you are.  Let’s rebuild it together.”  We can respond to him because we are not doing it alone.  It is his power that is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).

4) Christ Rebukes Our Enemy

Nehemiah listens to the voices of Israel’s enemies and tells them of their intended plan and its assured success.  He resolutely says that they will have no claim and no right to the outcome after the work has been done.  Even before Jesus begins to rebuild the ruins of our lives, he is fighting the enemy on our behalf.  He stands between us and Satan and tells him without question, “You don’t belong here, you’ve got no right here, and nothing in the life of my child belongs to you!” (See Rom. 8:34).

5) Christ Is Present

Perhaps the most striking thing in this passage is that Nehemiah, cupbearer to the king, works hand in hand with the Israelites in rebuilding the ruins.  He does not watch from afar and he doesn’t appoint someone else; he fully participates in the rebuilding of the walls.  Jesus is a better Nehemiah because he is fully present and engaged in the work of restoring our own brokenness.  He doesn’t leave us to it, he does not ask someone else to help you; it is him doing the work together with your own obedience to his will.

Renatta is a Canadian living in Malawi since 2014. She is the administrator at an orphan care ministry in Kauma called Village of Hope. She is married to Jef and they have 4 wonderful children and 6 average dogs. When she is not blogging, mothering or administrating, she’s teaching online courses for Masters’ College & Seminary. Renatta is part of the Flood Lilongwe Teaching Team.

If you missed Renatta’s sermon you can find the audio here.


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