READY AND WAITING
Lord God, quiet my heart as I wait for You.
Read Nehemiah 2:1–10
Artaxerxes Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem
2 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, 2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”
I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?”
Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
6 Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.
7 I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? 8 And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. 9 So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me.
10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
ReflectGod often gives us long seasons of waiting before he speaks or acts. How do you handle waiting?
Four months pass between the end of Nehemiah 1 and the beginning of Nehemiah 2. We ended yesterday with Nehemiah all prayed-up and ready to go. He asked for success and favor “today,” but then didn’t proceed for months. We don’t know why. Historians suggest the king might have been at his winter palace with different staff, or perhaps Nehemiah just sensed that the time was not right for some other reason.
Have you ever found the same thing? God calls you to something, you get excited and feel bold to move ahead, but then nothing happens. The doors stay closed, the people you need to speak to go on vacation or are out sick. It can be disappointing and frustrating. Often we can doubt ourselves—did we really hear God saying that? Look at verses 7 and 8, though. They illustrate that Nehemiah had used the time of waiting to give some serious thought to what he would need for his venture. Time spent waiting doesn’t have to be time wasted.
What are you waiting for? What has God put on your heart to do for him but not yet opened the doors for? Are you waiting well, planning and preparing so that you are ready when the time comes?
My God, show me what to do in the times of waiting. May I not waste the time You give me, but use it to draw closer to You.
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