5. GOD'S WORK IS NOT ALWAYS EASY, ESPECIALLY WHEN OPPOSITION COMES FROM ALL DIRECTIONS.
"Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion...Then Judah said, 'The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall. And our adversaries said, 'They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.' So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, 'From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.'"It was God's desire that the wall be rebuilt, but that didn't mean the work would be a cake walk. Even today we must understand that persecution and tribulation will be faced by those striving to do the will of the Lord (cf. II Tim. 3:12). We will face opposition (sometimes from within and sometimes from without), but we must resolve to stand strong regardless.
6. THOSE WHO HAVE A MIND TO WORK ARE STRONG & HARD TO STOP BECAUSE THEY RELY ON THE LORD.
"So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work...Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night...Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, 'Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.' And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work...Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, 'The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.'"Nehemiah refused to be stopped! He was a good man, leading the people to work, watch, and pray; that is always a formula for success. The people put in long hours and worked together effectively. Their enemies did not succeed since they were fighting against God Himself!
7. IT IS WISE TO ALWAYS PRECEDE A REBUKE WITH SERIOUS THOUGHT.
Nehemiah 5:6,7 - "And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, 'Each of you is exacting usury from his brother.' So I called a great assembly against them."
Nehemiah here again demonstrates his excellence as a wise leader. There was a severe famine. It was so bad that some were having to sell their children in order to eat. The rich Jews were taking advantage of the poor ones by charging interest on loans. Nehemiah rebukes the lenders for not loaning interest-free to their brethren. But, notice that although he is very angry, he doesn't issue the rebuke without serious thought first. This is a much-needed lessons for today - "Be angry and do not sin" (Eph. 4:26).
8. JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN DO SOMETHING LEGALLY DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD.
Nehemiah 5:14,15 - "Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the governor's provisions. But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."
Nehemiah was the governor, but he didn't demand the governor's provisions. Why not? Because the burden on the people was already heavy. It would have been lawful for him to do so but not expedient (cf. I Cor. 6:12). Nehemiah was a compassionate leader.