dailybiblereader2012

Putting God's Word into Practice…

Notes from Nehemiah (Chapter 2)

on November 25, 2014

Reading news stories and seeing pictures coming out of Ferguson, MO from last night’s riots reminded me a lot of Nehemiah’s plight–desperation and grief over the broken down and burned out condition of the city.  I’m sure there are people in Ferguson weeping and mourning and crying out to God for help, healing and restoration as the sun rises over their city.  That is where we left Nehemiah yesterday–completely devastated over the condition of Jerusalem.  His burden was so heavy that he couldn’t hide it.  King Artexerxes recognized it as “sadness of heart.”

When Nehemiah was questioned by the king about his sadness, Nehemiah prayed to God for direction and began requesting of the king things that only the favor of the Lord could move his heart to give.  Although it is interesting that in parenthesis in verse 6 it says, “(the queen sitting beside him).”  Maybe God used her presence to sway the king’s heart toward compassion and generosity?  King Artexerxes gave Nehemiah the all clear to return to Jerusalem and see the condition of the city for himself.  He sent along letters authorizing Nehemiah to pass through the country and also to receive timber from the king’s own forest for temple gates, city walls and a personal home for Nehemiah.  He then sent along army officers and horsemen for traveling protection.  ONLY GOD COULD MOVE THE HEART OF A KING IN SUCH A WAY!

When Nehemiah arrived at Jerusalem he did four things that are important for leaders who have a heart for revival to see:  1) He personally investigated the conditions. 2) He found out where the greatest needs were. 3) He made a plan of action. 4) He enlisted the help of other leaders. 5) He built them up by telling the wonders God had performed on his behalf already.

The people responded by saying, “Let us rise up and build.” And they strengthened their hands for the good work. (vs. 18) This was going to be a group effort!

The opposition came almost immediately.  There will always be detractors who don’t want to see God’s people and land restored.  They might jeer and despise, distract and discourage, BUT good leaders fix their eyes on the LORD, not on the overwhelming circumstances.  They cast a vision and excite the hearts of the people with God’s power and plan!

Nehemiah’s response to the opposition deserves a closer look:

The God of heaven will make us prosper…not their strength, not their verbal commitment, not their talents and skills, not their manpower–but God alone!

And we His servants…Nehemiah included himself among the servants.  He was a servant-leader and did not think more highly of himself than he ought.  He recognized God’s authority.

Will arise and build…The work belongs to the people, the results belong to God.

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