Face the Truth
Acknowledge How Bad Things Really Are. Confront the situation truthfully. Be honest with yourself and face reality no matter how horrible the circumstances.
3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile…are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
Give Yourself Time to Grieve
Take Time to Stop and Process Your Emotions. Allow yourself to feel your pain. Express those feelings to God in prayer. Don’t jump into action before you’ve had time to grieve and process your feelings.
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Take Responsibility for your Actions
Take Responsibility for your Actions (whether directly or indirectly) and Admit your Mistakes. Confess those areas where you blew it. Be specific. Rarely is one person ever at fault. Admit your part in the equation. Maybe it is simply not setting a strong enough boundary or being silent and not speaking up. By not saying or doing anything, you are allowing the sin to continue, thereby making you part of the problem.
5 Then I said: “LORD, the God … who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night…. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed [your] commands …
Admit you Need God’s Help
Admit you Need God’s Help. Remind God of His promises to forgive you, heal and restore. Ask for His hand of blessing and favor before you get started.
8 “Remember [what you said], ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’10 “[We] are your…people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant…. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.
Stop Pretending Everything is OK
Don’t pretend everything is Ok, when it is not. Don’t try to cover up how you really feel. Don’t act like you have it all together when you know that is not the truth.
1 I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, 2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”
Ask for What You Need
Ask for what you need. Don’t be afraid. You must open your mouth and speak out your request in order to be heard.
I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, “Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” 4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?”
Have a Plan
Have a plan. What actions steps are you going to take and how long do you anticipate it taking? What will you need to complete your task? Set specific goals and a timeline for accomplishing those goals. Be strategic and plan ahead.
Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”6 Then the king, …asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?”
Don’t Do This Alone
You need others to help you. You can’t do this alone and be successful. Don’t overlook the power of community.
7 I also said to him… “May I have letters to the governors … so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? 8 And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates … and for the city wall?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. 9 …The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me.
Wait on God
Wait for God’s timing. Look around and observe what’s going on around you first. Know when to speak and when to keep quiet.
11 I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days 12 I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem…
13 By night I went out … examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire.
16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work.
Confront the Problem
Confront the problem head on. Don’t sugar-coat how bad things really are.
17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”
Just Get Started
18 They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.
Expect Opposition. Especially when you first start doing the right thing. Remember your end goal and keep focused.
19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?” 20 I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success.”
Focus on Yourself
Start with your own house first — what’s right in front of you. Focus on yourself and cleaning up your own mess. Let your neighbor (or in this case, your spouse) deal with his own stuff and stop trying to fix him.
1 Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate…. 2 The men of Jericho built the adjoining section, and Zakkur son of Imri built next to them.
Take One Step at a Time
Little by little, take one step at a time. You will get the job done. Do your part and let others do THEIR part. Don’t try to tackle everything at once or do it alone.
23 Beyond them, Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs in front of their house; and next to them, Azariah…made repairs beside his house. 28 Above the Horse Gate, the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house. 29 Next to them, Zadok…made repairs opposite his house.
Keep it Simple
Keep it simple. Don’t make it out to be more than it really is. Stick to the basics. Sometimes, it is the simple things–those things we take for granted and often overlook–that are essential to our success. (Doors, bolts and bars! It is those things that hold everything together.)
Repair Only what is Broken
Repair only what needs to be fixed. They didn’t tear everything down and start from scratch. They repaired only what was broken. They reinforced. They rebuilt upon a foundation which was still in good condition.
3 The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. 15 The Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallun…. He rebuilt it, roofing it over and putting its doors and bolts and bars in place. He also repaired the wall…
Don’t Lose Hope
As you increase, expect opposition to intensify. The more you get healthy and real progress occurs, the more you will make others around you feel uncomfortable. Their rage and anger will likely intensify. Don’t lose hope. You must be doing something right.
1 [a]When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, 2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? … Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” 3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”
Let God Handle It
When you feel under attack, Pray to God. Let Him take revenge. Don’t take matters into your own hands. Tell Him how you feel and ask Him to handle it for you.
4 Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads…. 5 Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of[b] the builders. 6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
Anticipate attacks ahead of time, and make preparations to protect yourself.
7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah …heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
Don’t Give Up
Don’t quit or give up. The tendency is when you are tired and weak, to take your eyes off of God (and the progress you are making) and focus instead on your problems, or the “rubble” around you. Everything becomes exaggerated in your mind. You become confused and fearful. You start believing the lies. You start “agreeing” with the enemy. Attacks are frequent and repeated. (“Ten times, they told us…”) “I can’t do this anymore” seems like your only option.
13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places…with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said…, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
Do it Afraid
Do it Afraid! Do not worry or be overcome with fear. Remember, this is God’s doing and not your own. There is a great battle going on. You must FIGHT for your families and your homes.
10 Meanwhile, the people said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
11 Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”