Friday, April 24 2009
I have always found Nehemiah to be fascinating. He is an example of a "go - getter". He did not wallow in self - pity nor was he a complainer, but he was someone that saw a need and he offered himself to God to fulfill that need. Simply, Nehemiah was a leader.
The first chapter of Nehemiah gives us a snapshot into the life of Nehemiah. We know that he was a cupbearer in the king's palace at Shushan. Shushan is in what is now Iran about 150 miles north of the Persian Gulf. We know that Nehemiah was a Jews because he identified himself with "men from Judah" and he asked of the Jews that had escaped. He also asked the condition of Jerusalem. There is no evidence that Nehemiah had ever visited Jerusalem, but it was the land of his ancestors. He carried a tremendous burden for his people and their city. As a leader, Nehemiah had the drive and willingness to make a difference.
Nehemiah had the ability to go to the king and ask to leave to help at Jerusalem. He had the access that very few people enjoyed, but he did not run to the earthly king's throne room. He first went to the King of King's throne room. The Bible states...
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
The Bible documents the prayer of Nehemiah....
6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
7 We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.
Nehemiah came humbly before God. This is consistent with another scripture...
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
Throughout the Bible are promises of God. I do not believe that Nehemiah was "throwing" the promises at God, but "standing on the promises of God". He simply understood the faithfulness of God. When I pray, I have scriptures written down that are promises to the church. We truly can stand upon the promises of God by praying...
Matthew 16:18 ...upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Nehemiah concludes his prayer with a request...
10 Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man
There is a protocol when entering the throne room of a king. It is not proper to enter in with "I need" or "I want". Nehemiah has set an example for us through this prayer by humbly coming before God, praising God for His promises and then asking God for a need.
Nehemiah is one of the great examples of leadership within the scripture. He was willing and able to do what others would not or could not do. He made himself available to God. We need some modern day Nehemiahs that willing to humbly say "use me".