Finding Your Purpose

 A Study in Nehemiah 3:1-32 [Be sure to have your Bible nearby!]

NEHEMIAH’S VISION – To rebuild the walls around Jerusalem (Chapter 2:5-8)

If OUR VISION is to start rebuilding in our churches, our communities, in a relationship, our trust, our faith…the time is now to put into action all the planning and praying.

To REBUILD successfully, you need VISION. 

What Is Your Purpose?

If there are others in your midst that are going to be a part of your intentions to REBUILD, what’s their vision, their expectations, their purpose?  If your vision and their vision aren’t the same there’s a problem!

What if Nehemiah’s workers built their own visions of the wall?  You most likely would have had a section of decorative fence, a section of wood, a section of the block, etc…The fence would’ve looked…stupid?

My wife and I are both ardent followers of Chip & Joanna Gain’s TV show, Fixer Upper.  And in a lot of shows we watch together, we have differing views of what should have been done:  “Too much shiplap for me.  I would have done it in beadboard.”  And Dianne would counter, “I love shiplap there!”

To rebuild successfully you’ll need someone to unify everyone.

You need to lead!

Nehemiah had noticed and was troubled that the wall of protection had fallen into disrepair.  He had defined the PURPOSE, communicated his discontent, motivated the people to accept the task.

Now the work began.

The walls of Jerusalem had fallen into sad shape for about 150 years, and Nehemiah was determined to REBUILD them and to end the shame brought upon the Jews in Jerusalem.  It was work that couldn’t be undertaken or carried out by one person.  It would take many people with common purpose and desire!

Nehemiah was wise enough to allow a variety of people, some more skillful than others to pitch in to help build the wall.

There’s a good lesson for us here.

Some of us have more skill than others.  Some have more experience than others.  Some have more wisdom than others.  But there’s a place for ALL willing to work.

GOD USES ALL TYPES OF PEOPLE!

Nehemiah Chapter 3, notice that there are:

  • Priests and Levites and other temple servants.
  • Goldsmiths, perfumers, and merchants.
  • Officials.
  • Men and women.

What are they doing?  WORKING!

Nobody is too young, too old, too poor, too rich.

God accomplishes His PURPOSE through people…

But people need leaders to motivate, not manipulate, and organize them for the cause.

There are some areas in your life, in my life, where we need to lead.

It is your life…your purpose and if you’re not going to care enough to make a decision to lead then why would someone else?

The same people listed in Nehemiah 3 had been living in the city for years, but the wall didn’t get built until God sent Nehemiah to lead the charge.

I thought it was interesting that Nehemiah is never mentioned by name in chapter 3, but his labor is behind the whole chapter.

So a LEADER must…not mind if the credit goes to others.

Nehemiah didn’t want a huge sign over the main gate or a bronze plaque reading:  The Nehemiah Memorial Wall.  Rather, Nehemiah was committed to the task.  He wanted the wall to be built so that God’s name, His glory, would be exalted in Jerusalem and His people no longer live in ridicule.  I would call GOD’S PURPOSE…REBUILDING PEOPLE!

Nehemiah knew that God would recognize his efforts.

Hebrews 6:10 (AMP)

[10] For God is not unrighteous to forget or overlook your labor and the love which you have shown for His name’s sake in ministering to the needs of the saints (His own consecrated people), as you still do.

Nehemiah was laboring to hear “well done” from the Lord.

With over 40 years in the construction industry and 5 years in sales management behind me…I learned by experience that MOTIVATING people on the job can be difficult at times.

MOTIVATING OTHERS AS A LEADER…

The Jews had been back in the land for 90 years, but the WALL for their own protection hadn’t been rebuilt.

But Nehemiah came along and got everyone excited about the rebuilding idea.

Motivation is a KEY to productivity.

The difficult thing about motivating others is what motivates some turns off others.  Even Nehemiah couldn’t get the nobles of Tekoa to join the project.

One way that Nehemiah motivated the people…now catch this; was assigning many of them to work on the portion of the wall that they had a particular interest in.  No one wants to be a square peg put in a round hole.  Me, included!

The priests worked on the SHEEP GATE where people would bring sacrifices to the temple.  Others repaired the wall in front of their own homes.

Jerusalem, 1940-1946

THE “DUNG” GATE

There are 12 Gates to the city of Jerusalem and I’ll admit that it might have been difficult to motivate someone to the task of building at the DUNG GATE.

Please make a note on this point:  IF YOU HAVE A BAD ATTITUDE ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE DOING, others may have the same attitude.

As a LEADER, sometimes you’ve to be the ‘cheerleader’; get people excited about what they’re doing.

That brings us to PLANNING & ORGANIZING.

Leaders gotta do this!

It’s obvious the smooth operation taking place in Chapter and it is evident Nehemiah had done some extensive planning and organizing.  He had figured it out how to go about this huge task by breaking the project down into small manageable units.  He assigned the available workforce into various units, then worked to coordinate them so everything fit together.

Just a reminder here, its God who provides the strength.  He alone provides the skills.  He alone provides the wisdom.

God is looking for our FAITHFULNESS!

Even though you might feel that your contributions to a given task are insignificant in the process, everyone counts, every effort counts in God’s kingdom work.

There was a big job to be done in Jerusalem, and it took FAITHFULNESS from everyone to get it done.

WHAT FAITH CAN DO – “By FAITH…” Hebrews 11:21-34

  • Prompts us to do…
  • Activates us…
  • Arouses us…
  • Motivates us…
  • Urges us…
  • Helps us…

Delegate & Oversee –

Nehemiah couldn’t possibly have done all the work himself and neither can we.  Sometimes, being honest here, it’s easier to do the job myself than to delegate it; but as the task grows in size, the necessity to DELEGATE grows.

Nehemiah had to entrust the work ahead of time to the workers giving them authority (an important gift) to get the job done.  And by the way… delegating doesn’t mean dumping or dictating.  To dump something on someone and walk away from it isn’t effective leadership.

While all along, Nehemiah was delegating the workload, you can be sure that he went around inspecting and overseeing the progress, talking to his leaders, helping them keep things moving toward the GOAL.

In 3:20, Nehemiah makes a specific note on a worker’s ATTITUDE on the project:

Baruch “zealously” repaired another section…”

Apparently, Jeremiah knew not only WHO was doing what, but also HOW they were doing it.

We don’t use the word ZEALOUSLY in our ordinary conversation these days, at least I don’t, so I turned to the KJV Dictionary for an accurate definition:  ZEALOUSLY = WITH PASSIONATE ARDOR – WITH EAGERNESS.

Baruch did an exceptional job.

A leader must give proper recognition when due.

Apparently, Nehemiah wrote down in detail who was doing what on the project.  He mentions some workers completing more than one section of the wall; BUT…the important thing I noted…not every worker was recognized, yet God recognized them by including their names here.  Oh, that’s GOOD!  How many times over the years have I felt hurt in service because man wasn’t recognizing my efforts?

As a leader, you can’t get distracted…

And the enemy will do everything to try to distract you.

Nehemiah 3:5 (AMP)

[5]  The Tekoites repaired, but their nobles or lords did not put their necks to the work of their Lord.

Perhaps the nobles of Tekoa refused to “put their necks to work” was because their necks were stiff–from PRIDE.

To the nobles’ shame, the people of Tekoa built two sections of the wall, and some other towns nobles rolled up their sleeves and went to work; but Nehemiah didn’t expend any energy on the nobles of Tekoa.  Rather, he worked with the many willing workers.  Those who didn’t get involved were losers in the long run.

To rebuild successfully, you’re going to need the help of others.

The PEOPLE heard Nehemiah’s VISION and they responded by building.

The WORKERS were willing to complement each other.  Everyone couldn’t do the same job.  Some worked on the walls, others worked on the gates, others carried heavy stones, etc…   Some workers were willing to work outside of their areas of strength.  Some of the people did things they weren’t trained to do and were not even good at.  It had to get done and they were willing to do it.  And those who physically couldn’t work, as there are in churches today, spent time on their knees in prayer during the project.  We can all do that!

Some workers were willing to do less glamorous or desirable jobs.

In Nehemiah 3:14, Malchijah (a “goldsmith”) repaired the Reuse (or Dung) Gate.  This was the GATE to the dump and sewer.

CONCLUSION:

What can we take to heart and mind from this passage of Scripture?

It’s time to start REBUILDING in our communities, our families, our churches.  No more, “I’m no leader! Let someone else lead.”

The time is right now, so do it right!

_________________________________________________________

CREDITS –

Dictionaries Used:  KJV Bible Dictionary; Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary.

IMAGES:  Google Image Search – Advanced settings.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP), New International Version (NIV).

Commentary:  God’s Task, Our Task by Scott Spencer–Sermon Notes.

What Are the Motives Behind Our Serving God?

jehurides SCRIPTURE READING – 2 KINGS 9:1-37; 10:1-35

Before grabbing your Bible and diving into this story, let me give you but one definition for the word MOTIVE:

“An emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action; causing an action.”  [The Free Dictionary by Farlex]

We will be returning to this definition throughout this bible study.

“HOUSE CLEANING” –

My wife’s “desire” for an entire house cleaning, most often, does not necessarily incite action.  It is much like my DESIRE to exercise, knowing it’s physiologically healthy, but almost never causes an action on my part.  I am glad to get that off my chest before getting into this particular Blog Bible Study.

JEHU’S Commission from God –

A PROPHET was sent to pronounce God’s death sentence on AHAB (1 Kings 20:42) because of his DISOBEDIENCE of not killing Ben-Hadad, king of Aram.

Elijah later prophesied AHAB’S doom in 1 Kings 21:19 after he had murdered Naboth and seized his property (vineyard); the results in 1 Kings 22:38. 

Elijah prophesies AHAB’S descendants would be cut off and his wife JEZEBEL would be killed (1 Kings 21:22-24).

Because of AHAB’S subsequent humbling of himself before God, God took notice (as He always does), choosing to bring about these promised disasters during the reign of his son Joram, instead of in AHAB’S lifetime (1 Kings 21:27-29).

JEHU, a commander in the Israelite Army, is anointed king and commissioned to exterminate AHAB’S descendants (2 Kings 9:6-10), fulfilling the prophecies against the house of AHAB.

JEHU’S “ZEAL FOR THE LORD” in Cleaning House–the house (dynasty) of Omri and his son AHAB (2 Kings 10:16) –

The Killing Fields ~

  • JEHU kills Joram, king of Israel and AHAB’S son (2 Kings 9:24-26).  Joram’s body was thrown on Naboth’s plot of ground, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Elijah (1 Kings 21:19).
  • JEHU kills Ahaziah, king of Judah, one of Ahab’s grandsons (2 Kings 9:27; 2 Chronicles 22:7 explains how Ahaziah’s visit to Joram was used by God to bring about his downfall).  He also kills some of king Ahaziah’s relatives who were coming to visit (2 Kings 10:12-14).
  • JEHU has JEZEBEL thrown out of a window.  She is then trampled and eaten by dogs (2 Kings 9:32-37).
  • He incites the officials of Samaria who were rearing 70 sons of AHAB, to kill all the royal princes (2 Kings 10:6-9).
  • JEHU KILLED ANYONE RELATED TO, OR ASSOCIATED WITH AHAB IN JEZREEL (2 Kings 10:11) and ALL his family in Samaria!  (2 Kings 10:17).
  • His final achievement was his killing of ALL THE BAAL PRIESTS, destroying the Baal Temple to the point it became used as a latrine–an outhouse.  (2 Kings 10:25-29)

For all of JEHU’S enthusiastic ZEAL, God rewarded him with the longest dynasty in the history of Israel (2 Kings 10:30).  But, did JEHU have an alternative MOTIVE behind his ZEAL?

JEHU’S MOTIVES EXPOSED and JUDGED!

The prophet HOSEA gives us a glimpse in exposing something I thought was quite interesting.

Hosea 1:4 (NIV):

Then the LORD said to Hosea,  “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel.”

God was going to punish the house of JEHU for a massacre He had sanctioned and rewarded JEHU for (2 Kings 10:30).  

I thought to myself after reading this, “Wait a minute.  Jehu seemed like an obedient servant of the Lord.  What’s the deal?”

Outside Appearances Are Not Always As They Seem! –

2 Kings 10:28-29, 31 (AMP):

[28] JEHU rooted Baal out of Israel,  [29] BUT…

JEHU did not give up the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, by which he made Israel to sin,that is, the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.

[31] But JEHU paid no attention to walking in the law of the Lord the God of Israel, with all his heart.  He did not quit the sins with which Jeroboam made Israel to sin.

At my first reading, I found that strange, being that JEHU had exterminated Baal worship.  What happened to his ZEAL ( 2 Kings 10:16) that alone, should have led him to ridding a nation of every sort of idol worship?

I believe it never was purely there to begin with.  I also believe that JEHU’S AGENDA didn’t really include God.

JEHU, by cleaving, against the will of God, to Jeroboam’s SIN, which served his own political ends, showed that, in the slaughter of his master, he acted not as he pretended, out of ZEAL for God’s will, but served his own will and ambition.  [See Footnote [1] ]

Getting rid of Baal served his interests but getting rid of the Jeroboam calf idols cut in on his own political gains.

A sure sign of God’s immediate JUDGMENT on JEHU is found in 2 Kings 10:32; His reducing of the size of Israel.

[32] “[So] in those days the Lord began to cut off parts of Israel…”

While JEHU might have “slept with his fathers” as V35 says, meaning his physical death, I can assure you, that is NOT descriptive of what has been taking place for thousands of years in hell with his soul.

My JUDGMENT?  No, GOD’S JUDGMENT!

THE MOTIVES BEHIND OUR SERVICE TO GOD –

Some examples of SERVICE with impure motives is serving God out of SELFISH AMBITION.

The apostle Paul gave examples of selfish ambition in Philippians 1:14-18 (NIV):

[14]  Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

[15]  It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.

[16]  The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.

[17]  The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.

[18]  But what does it matter?  The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.  And because of this, I rejoice.

Although Paul is speaking about preachers trying to make a name for themselves in his absence,  A. W. Tozer says,

“Many a solo is sung to show off, many a sermon is preached

as an exhibition of talent; many a church is founded as a slap to

some other church.  Even missionary activity

may become competitive and soul-winning’

may degenerate into a sort of brush-salesman project

to satisfy the flesh.”

[*See Footnote [2] ]

Serving God out of GREED –

Paul wrote about FALSE TEACHERS in 1 Timothy 6:3-10, who saw financial opportunity in the Gospel.  Unfortunately, that is still in place in the 21st Century in record numbers.

Serving God without LOVE –

HIDDEN MOTIVES
HIDDEN MOTIVES

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (AMP):

IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing.  Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.

Our SERVICE to God is but an empty service…a service without LOVE for others.

IMPURE MOTIVES –

“It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.”  ~ A. W. TOZER

GOD KNOWS YOUR MOTIVES!!

God is examining your MOTIVES.

Proverbs 16:2 (NLT):

“People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.

God will reveal your MOTIVES.

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV):

[12]  The word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  [13]  Nothing in all of creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

1 Corinthians 4:5b (NIV):

“He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.”

Over the years, I have noticed how some people treat God like a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card that they discard after He gets them out of their problems.

Some people climb the Church ladder of success much like folks climb the Corporate ladder.  They truly don’t care who they step over.

They wear their RELIGION like a cloak over their desires–camouflaged hearts– for 4-x4-camo-camouflage-heart-gas-cap-bumper-sticker-decal-window-stickers-decalsfolks to see them as spiritual.

They may speak in tongues and be used in great gifts of the Spirit, but their lack of LOVE for others reveals a HEART with impure motives.

So, why do we do, what we do, in SERVING our heavenly Father.

Why Are You Serving God?

Are you serving God out of interest in His plan for you, or, are you SERVING HIM to the extent that what He does benefits your plan for your life?

Why we SERVE won’t mean a hill of beans in the end, unless we truly had ZEAL for the Lord, rather than wearing a Cloak of sorts over who we really are.

Therefore, check your MOTIVES FOR SERVING CHRIST…today!!


FOOTNOTES & CREDITS:

Footnote [1]:  Barnes – Notes on the Old Testament – (2 Kings 10)

Footnote [2]:  Draper’s book of Quotations for the Christian World – A. W. TOZER; by Edythe Draper.

 

CREDITS:

Commentary:  Why Did God Condemn Jehu?  By Troy Lacey and Tim Chaffey on April 8, 2011 – The Misconception Series.

Photos:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP);  New International Version (NIV); New Living Translation (NLT).