Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wait for It...

After a few posts of eclectic topics, I wanted to get back to posting about Nehemiah. In Nehemiah 2, we see the movement of Nehemiah from Babylon to Jerusalem, from servant to leader, and from consuming sadness to consuming vision.

The chapter begins with Nehemiah standing before the most powerful man in the world and being asked by this powerful leader for anything Nehemiah wanted. When asked what Nehemiah wanted, Nehemiah went to someone more powerful than any man - He went to the God of Heaven. God would lead him to ask the right thing from Artaxerxes. I am sure Nehemiah had many thing pop into his mind about what he wanted but he allowed his will to be bent to God's will concerning the rebuilding of Jerusalem. After all, according to Nehemiah 1:10, they were God's people and He would be the one taking care of them.

Nehemiah requested to travel to Jerusalem and for material to rebuild. He was given these things, not because of who Nehemiah was, nor because the king was so generous. He received these things because God's hand was on him.

After getting to Jerusalem, the Lord laid a direction on Nehemiah's heart. Nehemiah did not immediately share this with everyone but inspected the work to be done so that he would understand what God was asking Him to do. Eventually, Nehemiah shares what God was doing in Susa, how God provided for the work, and what God was asking them to do. They all jumped on board - "Let us arise and do this good work" (Nehemiah 2:18).

Immediately, conflict and opposition arose. The enemies of God and His people began mocking them and attempting to discourage them from the work God had called them to do. Nehemiah assured the enemies of the success of God's people, not because of their resolve but because it was God's plan and he was sure it was God's plan.

A few lessons from this chapter stand out to me. First, when confronted with a very important decision, Nehemiah prayed. It should be noted that this was done out of habit. He did not pray because it was important decision and all important decisions were prayed on. His habit was to go to the Lord and so when this pivotal moment came, Nehemiah did what he did habitually. The result of his faithful prayer was that "the king granted" and "God strengthened" (Nehemiah 2:8 - See the HCSB).

Second, when God granted the request, there were two reactions. The king sent reinforcement even though they were not requested by Nehemiah. God gave more than requested through the king. God knew Nehemiah would need some back-up and gave generously. Additionally, the enemies of God and His people were greatly displeased. When God's people begin to move toward God's plans, and God grants the prayers of His people, the enemies of God and His people will begin to get irritated.

Finally, when the time was right, Nehemiah shared with the people what God had been stirring in his heart for a while. God began a moving in Nehemiah's heart back in Susa. Then Nehemiah gave his request. Then all the supplies had to be gathered for his trip. Then he traveled to Jerusalem. Then, after being there for three days, he inspected the scope of the work. It was only after all of that that Nehemiah began to share the vision God had placed in His heart. It was only then that he had the full story of what God had done, what the king had said to him, and enormity of the task at hand so he could lead the people to participate in the "good work," which they were eager to do (Nehemiah 2:18).

We see in this passage the journey a leader takes when leading the people under his care in a direction God has put in that leader's heart. God has to be working in the heart of the leader, and God has to be working out the circumstances in order for the people to get to where God wants them. When the leader waits until he has the whole of what God wants him to communicate to the people, it benefits the people and encourages them to participate in the plan of God.

Verse to remember: Nehemiah 2:18 - I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king's words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, "Let us arise and build." So they put their hands to the good work.