Read Nehemiah 1:1-2:8.
In Chislev, the ninth month of the Jewish calendar, approximately November or December by our calendar today, Nehemiah learned from his brother, Hanani, that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down. This news disturbed him so greatly that he "wept and mourned for days" (v. 1:4). He then began to fast and pray to God for a solution.
His prayer and fasting led Nehemiah to repent before God, not only for his own sin, but for the sin of "the sons of Israel" - his countrymen - as well (v. 1:6). He prayed that God would make him "successful today and grant him compassion before this man [King Artaxerxes]" whom God would lead him to speak with to find the answer he sought.
Approximately four months later, in the spring month of Nisan, the burden had become more than Nehemiah could bear. Verse 2:1 says in speaking of the king, "I had not been sad in his presence." Apparently, Nehemiah's heart had become so heavy, that he could no longer hide his grief from the king.
Though he was afraid, Nehemiah found the courage to share his concerns with the king (v. 2:2-3). When the king asked what he wanted to do about it, Nehemiah trusted God to answer (v. 2:4).
In His faithfulness, and true to His character, God showed Nehemiah what needed to be done in Jerusalem; and God chose him to supervise the project. Perhaps Nehemiah was uncomfortable with this task, but the speed with which he volunteered suggests that he felt at least some confidence in his ability, and definitely in the Lord's ability to use him to see the job completed. In obedience, Nehemiah listened to the Lord and God worked mightily on his behalf.
Upon the king's approval of his plan, Nehemiah could have simply thanked the king, blessed his good fortune, and gone to Jerusalem to complete his "job." But Nehemiah was quick to realize that God had indeed answered his prayer. Verse 2:8 says, "And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me." We, too, must be quick to realize when God answers our prayers and when His hand is upon us.
Often, as we mature into adulthood, we learn various skills and acquire confidence in our natural abilities. While that's good to the extent that we desire a healthy self-esteem, we must be careful to acknowledge where our true strength lies. It is not within us, but in God.
Just as Nehemiah was faithful and quick to praise the Lord for working in his life and for answering his prayer, let us, as 21st century saints, be quick to give God the glory for His work in our lives as well.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Jesus, help me today in all I do or say to give you the honor and not believe for even a moment that the good that happens to me is simply coincidental or brought about by my own efforts alone. Thank you, Lord. Amen.
Darlene "Dee" Bishop
All scripture used is from the New American Standard (NASB), © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.
Copyright © 2006 Darlene Bishop. All rights reserved worldwide.
Darlene "Dee" Bishop is a Nazarene pastor, creative designer and writer. Visit her Website at http://christiansitesolutions.com to see how she can help your church create an affordable Internet presence and develop effective online solutions today.
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