After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers, the musicians and the Levites were appointed. I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do. I said to them, “The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses.” Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and the houses had not yet been rebuilt. Nehemiah 7:1-4
Praising God For His Favor
At the end of chapter 6 of Nehemiah, we learn that the construction of the walls was finished in fifty-two days. This was no easy task, indeed. Nehemiah had to spend four months in prayer even before he can go ask the King for the supplies and the permission to go rebuild the wall. Then he faced adversity from within and from without. He had to overcome challenges upon challenges. His enemies did their best to stop the rebuilding project. But how many of you know that your enemies cannot stop the favor of God upon your life? Paul tells us in Romans 8:31 if God is for us, who can be against us? Tobiah, Sanballat, and the other enemies of Nehemiah could not stop Nehemiah from rebuilding the wall because Nehemiah was walking in the favor of God. So they were intimidated and lost their confidence, for they realized that this task had been accomplished by God. In chapter 7, Nehemiah teaches us three important lessons for honoring the favor of God. The number one way to honor the favor of God is through Praise & Worship In verse 1, Nehemiah says, after the wall had been rebuilt and he had the doors installed, he appointed, gatekeepers, singers, and Levites. The singers and the Levites were there to lead the people in worship; the walls were not rebuilt so the people of Jerusalem could look at nice walls. They were rebuilt so they could worship God with greater glory and freedom than ever before.
2- The second lesson we learn from Nehemiah is the need to be a good steward of God’s favor. In verse 2, Nehemiah put his brother Hanani along with Hananiah, in charge of Jerusalem. Nehemiah wasn’t in this for political glory. He had done work, and now he could let it go. God would still use him in Jerusalem, but he knew it wasn’t his place to stay in authority. Hanani is Nehemiah’s brother and the one who told him about the conditions in Jerusalem in Nehemiah 1:2. His care and concern for Jerusalem made him well qualified to govern. The names Hanani and Hananiah mean God’s graciousness. In other words, God’s grace. Hananiah was a faithful man and one who wholly loved and feared God. He was a security expert who already had responsibility for protecting the city. Nehemiah chose these men because of their faithfulness to God and their commitment to the wellbeing of the people in Jerusalem. Perhaps you are not a gifted singer, or musician, or preacher, or teacher. God can still use you.
The third lesson we learn is the importance of timing and vigilance.Nehemiah told Hanani and Hananiah, “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard. A tremendous victory had been won – the walls were rebuilt. Yet, the walls would not protect themselves. Diligent watchmen must be appointed, and the walls had to be guarded.
Nehemiah told the two men, make sure you don’t open the gates of the city too early. In other words, make sure you know when to share your dream and with whom to share your dreams. If you are a parent, don’t be in a hurry for your teenage son or daughter to be dating. If you are a busy owner, pray for God to tell you when you should let someone else run your business or who that should be. In ministry, we have to be careful who is put in a leadership position. One person can do more damage to your children, or your business, or your ministry than you can ever imagine if you do not stand guard. Nehemiah knew that the enemies of the people were still waiting and looking to attack them, and there were not enough people in the city of Jerusalem to help protect the walls. So he streamlined the timing for opening the gates to maximize the readiness of the people to defend themselves.
The favor of God will sustain us when our enemy tries to destroy us. " FAVOR is the special affection of God toward us that releases a divine fragrance on us. That is why we should praise God for his favor. But we also have to be good stewards of God’s favor and be determined to protect our favor from God.
If God has purposed you to own a successful business, or become a judge, or be a CEO for a major corporation or the pastor of a mega-church, no one can stop you. God is unstoppable. He is irresistible and unbeatable. No weapon formed against you will prosper if you trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Every victory in our life should take us deeper into praise. We ought to praise God for every mortgage payment, or every car payment we make. We should praise God every time we get paid. For every promotion, every recognition, or every wedding anniversary, we ought to praise. You don’t know how your enemies were trying to stop the favor of God over your life. That is why you have to praise him.
If we are not praising God more, and more deeply, for every blessing, and every victory, are we having many victories? If we do not praise God for his favor, we might be tempted to take credit for his blessing and rob him of his praise. Sooner or later, our victory can turn into a defeat or our blessing into a burden. So we have to praise him. In the Christian life, often a victory is won and later lost because there was no guard. An enemy may come in because we are not watching. Walls can be climbed if there is no one there to stop the enemy, but an enemy is easily turned back from a wall by a guard. Many Christians pray for a job, or a marriage, or a house, or a car, or a promotion, and the first casualty is their spiritual life. They are so busy working or enjoying the blessing from God they forget that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The only to protect the favor of God over our lives is to stay on our knees to pray.
Thank you for your unfailing favor over our lives. Please help us to be diligent in honoring your favor over our lives.