One of the things that makes my career so rewarding is the travel. Just recently, I had the exciting opportunity to visit the land of Judah. Judah, to say the least, is beautiful. The land is rich with vegetation and its cattle fill thousands of hills. It has numerous streams giving it a magnificent view against the backdrop of its blue skies and warm Kislev sun. But the one thing I especially like about Judah is its people. Their warmth and community is just unbelievable. Can you imagine the day I arrived it was the governor himself who came to meet me!
After my rest, he took me to this great place called “The Penthouse”. It is rumoured to be the most expensive and comfortable inn in the expansive lands of Persia and from its balcony, one gets a fantastic view of Jerusalem. A notable feature is its sturdy walls which boasts of the artistic workmanship of the Jews. We chatted with the governor a long time about our travels as we shared in the sweet and spicy delicacies of Jerusalem. It was just an hour before sunset that he finally gave me the interview.
Wazo: Nehemiah, what made you so angry?
Nehemiah: (He took a deep breath, cleared his throat and begun) My brother had come
Wazo: from Judah and I questioned him about the Jewish remnant that survived the
Wazo: exile and also about Jerusalem and he said to me that they were in great trouble
Wazo: and disgrace, the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and the gates burnt by
Wazo: No passion, no vision
Wazo: My! Sounds like it was really bad.
Nehemiah: (Nehemiah nodded his head in agreement) When I heard these things, I sat
Wazo: down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God
Wazo: of heaven. I then sort the blessings of the King Artaxerxes to go and rebuild the
Wazo: city where my fathers are buried.
Wazo: God doesn’t need my ability but my availability
Wazo: What did you do when you arrived at the city?
Nehemiah: Well, (He paused for a moment to sip water from his goblet) I went to
Wazo: Jerusalem, and after staying there 3 days, I set out during the night with a few
Wazo: men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for
Wazo: Jerusalem. By night I went through Jerusalem examining the walls which had
Wazo: been broken down and its gates which had been destroyed by fire.
Wazo: Before you initiate, investigate
Wazo: How were you able to convince your fellowmen to join you in this
Wazo: ambitious endeavour?
Nehemiah: I said to the Jews, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its
Wazo: gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and
Wazo: we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my
Wazo: God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start
Wazo: rebuilding.” So they began the good work.
Wazo: Every great dream, needs a great team
Wazo: Amazing! Simply amazing! By the way, I see the city has quite a number of gates.
Wazo: (I stood up to identify them. Nehemiah stood as well) the Sheep Gate, the
Wazo: Fish Gate, the Old Gate, the Valley Gate, Ummmh…
Nehemiah: That’s the Dung Gate, right here’s the Fountain Gate, the Water Gate is over
Wazo: there and you must have seen the Horse and Inspection Gates as you came in.
Wazo: You know, it was truly amazing to see the people buy into the vision and work
Wazo: with all their heart. (His voice shrilled in excitement as he slowly walked down
Wazo: the terraces of the inn) I mean the priest and the high priests were there, the
Wazo: rulers and their sons were there, the men of Tekoa were there in spite of the
Wazo: attitude of their nobles, the goldsmiths, the merchants, I mean just about
Wazo: everyone was there, even the daughters of Hallohesh were there!
Wazo: When personal vision, aligns itself with great vision, doors open
Wazo: (Joining Nehemiah at the terrace, I asked him how he dealt with the
Wazo: opposition he faced from Sanballat the Horonite and his cronies)
Nehemiah: We continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of
Wazo: dawn till the stars came out. At that time I also said to the people, “Have every
Wazo: man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so that they can serve us as
Wazo: guards by night and workmen by day.” Neither I nor my brothers nor my men
Wazo: nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he
Wazo: went for water.
Wazo: The bigger your vision, the greater the opposition
Wazo: You truly are a man of great courage and unquestionable moral standing. How
Wazo: have you managed to achieve this in the present day and age?
Nehemiah: (A slight blush run across his face but he quickly recollected himself) I attribute
Wazo: all that I am to God and always believe in doing what is right in the sight of God
Wazo: and man. Seeing people subjected to an oppression of debt and slavery caused
Wazo: by the corruption of our own countrymen breaks my heart. Doesn’t anyone fear
Wazo: God anymore? It must stop! And I am going to be the first to stop it. (He
Wazo: momentarily paused as if to calm himself, wiped his eyes with a white kerchief
Wazo: that lay upon his neck and lifted his hands toward the heavens) But above all, I
Wazo: continue to desire the favour of God upon my life.
Wazo: Never violate God’s principles to accomplish God’s vision
Wazo: (It was midnight. We had just finished our evening meal and I had more or less
Wazo: exhausted the list of questions for the governor but there was just one more I
Wazo: needed answered) I have travelled many lands and met many rulers but you,
Wazo: you are different. What is your secret?
Nehemiah: 3 things my child. Prayer, focus, determination. (He motioned me to stand
Wazo: as we walked towards the square) There was this time when Sanballat and
Wazo: Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages
Wazo: on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers
Wazo: to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down.
Wazo: Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” So the wall was
Wazo: completed on the 25th of Elul in 52 days. When all our enemies heard about
Wazo: this, all surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because
Wazo: they realised that this work had been done with the help of our God.
Wazo: I am doing a great work; I can’t come down
Dawn found me seated thinking of the things I had heard. I thought about Jerusalem, my Jerusalem. How it lay in ruins and how hopeless I felt when I thought about it. Nehemiah opened my eyes. He opened them to the fact that there is a lot beauty in ashes. I then resolved that in the 11th year of the 3rd millennium, I would dare to dream.
This piece is credited to a series of sermons by one of my Pastor’s. It was absolutely awesome! All Biblical references and quotations have been taken from The Book of Nehemiah, New International Version, NIV®
Wishing y’all a great year, a year where you dare to dream!
…mwenye kupenda mawazo mazuri…