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I. Nehemiah Carefully Sought the Creator (1:11; 2:4) Reliance
We all know that Nehemiah was the cupbearer of the Persian emperor Artaxerxes (1:11). One commentator said that the cupbearer’s position required a very trustworthy individual. The cupbearer tasted the king’s wine before he received it in order to guard against his being poisoned.
If we were to contextualize Nehemiah’s position, I guess we can compare it maybe to the PResdent’s adviser. Before he/she would make a decision or a public statement, she would first consult her advisers. Wouldn’t it be a great honor and privilege to be one of the advisers of the country’s most important person?
Nehemiah’s position was very crucial and very important. He was a man who was trusted by the emperor, a man with close acquaintance with the emperor, a man entrusted with the emperor’s life. Nehemiah’s position was no ordinary one but rather a prestigious one.
Being an Israelite in the land of the Babylonians with this kind of position, he could have been very proud of it. He might say, “Hey, we’re here in Babylon and yet in spite of that I’m still in this position. Any Babylonian could have gotten this position, but the king chose to trust me instead.”
When Nehemiah heard the news from Hanani that the people who are in Jerusalem are in great trouble and disgrace and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire (1:2,3), he could have said, “That’s no problem at all. Don’t you know that I’m the emperor’s cup bearer? I can do something about that problem. My position and power will help us rebuild it.”
But instead of relying on his position and power, Nehemiah carefully sought the creator. After hearing the news, Nehemiah’s first response was he wept (1:4). Then for some days, not hours but days, he mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
In verses 5-11 we can see his prayer, and in verse 11 we can see his trust in God. He said, “Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” Before Nehemiah did anything, he sought God first and asked for His favor by praying to Him.
“Forgive us for thinking that prayer is a waste of time and help us to see that without prayer our work is a waste of time.” -Peter Marshall
PRINCIPLE: Efficiency of work requires complete reliance upon God.
Brethren, before we would be doing something for the Lord we should spend time to stop for a while and seek God. If we want to be efficient servants of the Lord we must never, never, ever neglect the importance and power of prayer. If we would not seek God first, then our work would be a waste of time.
Brethren, praying to God shows that we are relying on Him, not on our own. It means that we are seeking His will, not ours, that we want Him to take control. Whatever task, whether big or small, whether leading in front or doing the bulletin, etc., let us spend time with God.
To run a split second faster, we must RELY upon God.
II. Nehemiah Carefully Surveyed the Circumstances (2:1-5) Research
The next step that Nehemiah did was that he carefully surveyed the circumstances. After knowing that God would use him to build the walls of Jerusalem once again, he didn’t rush to the situation. Nehemiah carefully surveyed the circumstances.
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