“So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. 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 2:11-12
Nehemiah rose up in the night to go and examine the condition of Jerusalem to see what could be done to save this formerly great city. God had already placed something in the heart of Nehemiah which he had not told anyone. Enemies on nearly every hand sought to distract, deter, and halt the redeeming of Jerusalem. However, Nehemiah did not take this survey trip by himself. There rose up with him in the middle of the night “some few men.”
1. They were there for Encouragement.
Although the few men that were with Nehemiah did not know the vision which God had placed in his heart, they rose up in the middle of the night to encourage their spiritual leader. Your pastor, your Sunday school teacher, and your bus captain do not need to be alone in times of darkness. You do not need to know all of the specifics or details, and you may not know exactly what to say or do because you do not fully understand the circumstance. However, your mere presence and willingness to assist can be a source of encouragement in a difficult time.
2. They were there for Strength.
The walls of the city were broken down, and the gates were burned with fire. Undoubtedly, there were difficult obstacles to overcome while walking through the rubble of the city. Parts of the debris were so difficult to travel through that “there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass.” Having a few extra hands to help move the wreckage must have been invaluable.
3. They were there for Protection.
The most likely explanation for this journey taking place in the middle of the night was that there was fierce hostility toward restoring Jerusalem. Sanballat, Tobiah, Gesham, and the men of the surrounding cities all wished to do Nehemiah harm in order to stop the rebuilding, but the few men with Nehemiah were there to protect him. Perhaps several of them stood watch, on the lookout for any danger or hazard. Pastor Trieber has often said, “When someone says, ‘Let us rise up and build,’ the devil will say, ‘Let me rise up and oppress.’” There will always be opposition to God’s man and God’s plan. In the midnight hour, we should not sell out or abandon our spiritual leader because we do not completely understand those things which God has placed in his heart. It is our duty as Christians to pray for, care for, and assist God’s anointed—even though God’s plan may not yet be fully seen. This is not putting blind faith in a man, but it is putting faith in God to use a man in order to bring about His perfect will in His timing. Through this situation, God used Nehemiah and His people mightily to build the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days!
4. They were there to Witness.
These men were also with Nehemiah to physically see the condition into which Jerusalem had fallen. When Nehemiah would tell the people, “Ye see the distress that we are in,” these men could truly understand what he was saying. When it was finally time for Nehemiah to present the vision that God had placed on his heart, it clicked in the hearts of these “few men” what needed to be done. Nehemiah said, “Let us rise up and build,” and these men were on board from the start! They were not men of prestige or position; in fact, the Bible specifically states that “the rulers knew not whither I went.” These men were not priests or leaders that people would have normally looked to, but I believe they had an influence on the people when Nehemiah presented this challenge. They acted as witnesses of the state of Jerusalem in order to prepare themselves for when it was time to respond and say back to Nehemiah, “Let us rise up and build.”
The night that your pastor and your other spiritual leaders are going through may also be dark and dire. Much like He did with Nehemiah, God will often put something in your pastor’s, Sunday School teacher’s, or bus captain’s heart which is known to no one else; but it will be shared at an appropriate time. Being God’s anointed at times must seem to be a lonely calling, but they do not have to be alone!
Perhaps you do not know all of the details and inner workings of what God is doing in your pastor’s heart, but you can be a spring of encouragement, a source of strength, a shield of protection, and a witness for your pastor. There were not many men with Nehemiah. It may not be an easy or convenient commission, but let us all strive to be a part of the “some few men” that will rise up in the middle of the night and walk with our spiritual leaders to lift up their arms.
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Luke Flood serves on staff as the bus director and is responsible for seeing hundreds of people in church on a weekly basis. He is a true product of North Valley Baptist Church. Having grown up in a wonderful Christian family, he attended North Valley Baptist Schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade. After graduation, he attended Golden State Baptist College where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.