Loving Lord, ease my fears, heal my sickness and perfect my desires. Touch my heart with Your gracious hand.
Read NEHEMIAH 2:1–10
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“All I have needed thy hand hath provided” (Thomas Chisholm, 1886–1960). We need to always be thankful for God’s provision.
“What do you believe?” It had taken seven years for my colleague to ask me that question. I had prayed for an opportunity to share my faith meaningfully when we were away at a conference, but when it came, I panicked: “Help me, Lord. Please don’t let me mess up after all these years!”
During four months, Nehemiah had prayed and fasted about the desolation of Jerusalem. His initial response had been to do something immediately (Neh. 1:11), but time waiting on God was not wasted. It had deepened his conviction that while the Lord had called him to action, anything he did was dependent on God’s gracious hand. In those long weeks, God was guiding him. Nehemiah had been forming plans before the King of heaven, for which he would need approval from his earthly master. There is a suggestion that Nisan, marking the new year and the king’s birthday, was an occasion when special favors were granted. It was a godly gamble to show grief at a time of celebration. It was also a sensitive subject, as the king had halted the rebuilding of Jerusalem years before.
However, the king’s heart had been divinely prepared to be generous. In referring to ancestral tombs being in disarray, Nehemiah was touching on a nerve of Persian culture, the poignant desire for a distinguished legacy. The queen’s presence might have further softened his heart. So when the king asked the most wonderful question, “What is it you want?” Nehemiah was precise and practical, daring and undaunted. He requested a passport for his dangerous journey to Jerusalem and timber to fortify the city. In that petrifying, grace-filled moment, all the tears, all the prayers, all the planning brought together the sovereign will of God and the physical resources of a pagan king.
Do you tend to run ahead of God or lag behind? How do you discern the right time to make a move?
Lord, grant me patience and holy fear as I wait, so that when the time comes, I will be ready for the tasks you have assigned me.
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