I often wondered as I grew up why the Old Testament was so important. I thought that the New Testament was something to focus on because of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. All that He began, the Christian life, and eternal life. But I’ve grown to appreciate and see how important Old Testament Scripture actually is, It’s why we started looking for Jesus in the OT. It comes down to this: The entirety of the Old Testament continually points to Jesus in the New Testament.
The Book of Nehemiah was written 430-450 years before Jesus was born. Nehemiah was a common believer, not a priest or a prophet. He was more like a government worker than anything else. He was the King’s “cup bearer”, living in the palace. He had to be able to talk politics, know the legal system, and had to be handsome. He did his job well. But when he heard about the state of the temple in Jerusalem, he sat down, wept, fasted and prayed. He then decided to do something about it. Instead of jumping on the complaining bandwagon, he became a “DOER”…He took action. He ended up leading the 3rd of three returns back to Jerusalem by the exiles. He organized, managed, supervised, encouraged, met opposition, confronted injustice, and kept going until the walls were complete. Because of his position, he could have moved in and just made things happen. He could have imposed taxes and such to impose his will on rebuilding the temple and walls. But Nehemiah didn’t do that. Instead, he got to work, loving and caring for people, serving them, showing hospitality at his own cost.
What does this have to do with us? First, it’s just a great example of what we need to strive for as believers, to take action. Second, Nehemiah did exactly what Jesus did. Jesus could have come to earth, imposed his father’s power (brought armies), but instead He knew the work he had to do and got busy doing the work of His Father. He did that by serving and loving others. He encouraged folks to do the same thing, meeting opposition while he did it. He stayed the course until it was finished. The Book of Nehemiah gives us a little peak as to who the person of Jesus would be.
Be encouraged, friends. Thousands of years ago, in the beginning, God set his plans in motion. Throughout the OT, we see early examples of God’s Word pointing towards Jesus. We can also see that God uses all kinds of people to accomplish His purposes, people like Nehemiah. Even people like you and me. No matter how insignificant or sinful we might feel, no matter what the situations in life look like, God loves us and wants to use us to fulfill His plans. May we each recognize and live with that faith no matter what comes are way.