Stronger Together

Two hands clasped together with the words 'Strong Together' and 'Nehemiah 3'

Keynote speaker of National Camp Online 2022, Reverend Timothy Lee spoke about Nehemiah and people rebuilding the city walls and gates of Jerusalem. This is an edited summary of his presentation.

The Encourager

God’s people had spent time in captivity with the Babylonians. It was about 100 years before they were allowed to return to Judah, their homeland. The temple had been rebuilt, but Jerusalem was unsafe without a city wall around it.

How could God’s people be a strong nation again? How could they reclaim their city and re-establish their spiritual roots? They needed someone close to God’s heart who could lead them well. Enter Nehemiah.

We are stronger together because of our concern for one another

Nehemiah was working in government for the King of Persia. A visitor told him, “The survivors who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates have been destroyed by fire.”

When Nehemiah heard this, he mourned for days. He prayed and fasted for God’s people. His heart was stirred out of empathy for them.

We can show the same empathy by thinking of each other before we meet again in camp next year. Maybe there are some people we can pray for especially. We can send a text, an email, or a card to others we normally meet at camp. By helping one person you may not change the world, but you will change the world for them.

We are stronger together because of the different gifts God gives us

God gives gifts to us out of His grace toward us. He likes it that we are all different. It’s like pieces of a puzzle—they are not all the same but are all needed to form this wonderful picture.

There were approximately 42 groups and individuals working hard, side by side, to rebuild the city walls and gates. They included priests, tradesmen, tribes people, temple servants, goldsmiths and even perfumers! All these people were important.

Lots of people are needed to make camp happen: planners, kitchen servers, small group prayers, cabin buddies, leaders, teachers and sound system people. And all of us are needed to sing and share stories, and to laugh and cry together.

We are all skilled differently in life. Our differences reflect something of God’s creativity. We are all important and we are made stronger together.

We are stronger together when facing the challenges of life

Opposition grew as Nehemiah continued to rebuild the wall and city gates. There were lots of enemies and they were just over the other side of the wall. Consequently, as the people worked away, they could hear their enemies accusing them.

We are all skilled differently in life. Our differences reflect something of God’s creativity

The enemies’ words became discouraging. Nehemiah encouraged people by praying for them. He said, “Hear us, O God, for we are despised. Lord, turn their insults back on their heads.” Nehemiah 4:4 (NIV). He helped to shift the people’s focus.

God thwarted the enemies’ plans. His people rebuilt the wall and the city gates in 52 days! It was an impossible task, but it was made possible with God and with all the people working together.

We are all vulnerable to attack in life. People’s words hurt us. Worry robs us of life. Tragedy and sickness grieve us. We become depressed and lonely. We need people to pray for us and stand with us, side by side, to give us courage to carry on in life.

We are stronger together when we fight together using the tools God provides

Life is like a spiritual battle, but God provides us with tools and armour: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes for the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. Prayer unites us. The Spirit helps us, guides, leads and equips us. Side by side, we can change the world with the message of God’s love. Will you join me in building God’s Kingdom, together? We are strong in His sight.

Reverend Timothy Lee

 

 

You can watch Rev Lee’s full presentation at:

elevatecdtcamp.org.nz/camp-messages/

 

 

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