Nehemiah 2:11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. 12 And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.
Nehemiah finally after months of heart preparation, and planning finally arrived in Jerusalem to begin God’s work of rebuilding the wall. The amount of emotion and excitement must have been incredible! Which is why spending three-days doing nothing but examining the wall (2:13-16) seems strange.
Even more strange…He didn’t tell anyone what he was there to do
Think about that for a moment
Here is the man who is called by God to rebuild Jerusalems wall, and by doing so fix their biggest problem at that time, lack of protection. Not only this, but he was sent with the authority and provision of King Artaxerxes!
Why would Nehemiah possibly want to keep that a secret?
He understood that in order for the calling of God to work, there must be a time of examination as well as planning.
The planning phase is what we see in the early verses of chapter two:
- Nehemiah waited for God to open the door before acting (2:1-2)
- He displayed wisdom when the time came because he had “thought things through” (2:3)
- He had a specific calling from God to fulfill that burden (2:5)
- He shared an extensive plan to achieve the calling of God (2:6)
- And asked for help with strategic needs (2:7)
The examination stage is only a few verses, but just as important. It involved Nehemiah examining the problem for himself .
By doing this he illustrates a very important principle of leadership.
You want a long-term fix
God has blessed many of us with the ability to be problem solvers. This is a great thing because the world needs individuals that deal with hard issues. But its easy to become focused on “fixing the problem” as quickly as possible. This usually leads to lots of short-term solutions but nothing that lasts
Nehemiah wasn’t satisfied with a wall that would only last for a short time. So he spent three-days “visualizing” how each part of the wall around Jerusalem would be strengthened. The probably meant spending lots of time examining the different areas, and thinking through solution to problems that he saw.
For us practically the examination phase doesn’t involve studying a broken down wall of course. But just like Nehemiah studied the ruins of Jerusalem, we must personally examine in detail the problem we are facing.
It’s necessary to ask questions like….
- What is the REAL ISSUE here?
- What would be the first step towards repair or restoration?
- What parts of this job are Gods (only He can do it) and which are mine?
- How can others help me?
- How long will it take to find a quality solution?
Asking these questions and studying the problem in detail will take lots of time (probably more than three days). But the long-term solution is well worth the mental fatigue