Last time Nehemiah was before the king of Persia, asking for permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall around the city. It was a request that could have landed him in the dungeon or put to death. Let's return to the story and let Nehemiah continue to tell you in his own words.
As I stood nervously before Antaxerxes, the king of Persia, he turned to his wife the queen, then back to me and said, "Yes, Nehemiah, you can go back to the land where your ancestors are buried and rebuild the wall."
I had found favor in the eyes of God, and thus in the king's eyes as well. So I continued my request. "If it pleases the king, I will be traveling through many territories on my way to Jerusalem, can you write letters to the governors of those territories giving me safe travel through their lands? And also can I have permission to bring along the lumber I will need from the royal forest?" The king granted me these things, for God had touched his heart. The king also sent along some of his army and horsemen to protect me along the way! Isn't that just like God to urge the king to give me far more than I had asked or even hoped for? (Ephesians 3:20)
So I set out on the 800 mile journey from Persia to Jerusalem. No one knew my purpose, for I had not mentioned it to anyone except the king. However, three men, Sanballat from Horon, Tobiah from Ammon, and Geshem the Arab heard that I was on my way to help the Jews with something and they were not very happy.
Three days after arriving in Jerusalem, (I still had not mentioned to anyone, not even the city council why I was there) I took a couple men with me and slipped out one night after dark to survey the area around the city where the wall once stood. The rubble was so treacherous in some places that even the donkey that I was riding was unable to navigate it and I had to go around those areas.
As I lay in bed that night, praying for wisdom (James 1:5) and contemplating the task before me, I worked out a wall reconstruction plan in my head. So by the time morning had arrived, I called all the city councilmen to a meeting. I told them about how God had put it in my heart to build the wall, how God had touched the heart of the king, and the plan God had given me to build the wall.
When God has something for you to do, He won't leave you hanging. He will be with you every step of the way. Continue to pray, ask for guidance and wisdom. God promises to be your guiding light (Psalm 119:105) and to give you the wisdom to carry out His will.
The councilmen replied all at once. "Good! Let's rebuild this wall!" They were excited to begin and so was I, so we started to rebuild immediately. It wasn't long before Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem heard what we were doing. The scoffed and hurled insults and tried to discourage us, but I told them that God was with us and the wall would be rebuilt. Of course they didn't like my response, but it was the truth.
Being in charge of the rebuild, I designated the men to work on different sections of the wall, and I had each family rebuild the part of the wall that was behind their own home. I knew this would save time and the men would make sure that the wall was built well near their homes. Everyone pitched in to help. Even the priest help build a part of the wall. The work was running smoothly.... but then...