Summary: Exposition of Neh 2:1-8, about his wise decisions toward attaining his God-inspired vision for the Kingdom
Text: Nehemiah 2:1-8, Title: Carpe Diem, Date/Place: NRBC, 9/2/07, PM
A. Opening illustration: In 1944, Leander McCormick-Goodheart, a recruiter for the Ford Motor Company, toured fifty universities across the United States to recruit the outstanding graduating student of each institution. At Leigh University, he met a young man named Lee Iacocca and offered him a position at Ford. This was a dream come true for Iacocca. His greatest ambition was to one day word for Ford. Yet Iacocca asked if he could delay the starting date of his employment for one year. He had the opportunity to earn a master’s degree from Princeton University. Even though the ambitious and talented Iacocca had the opportunity to launch his meteoric auto making career immediately upon his graduation, he determined to be fully prepared for whatever opportunities might come his way in the future.
B. Background to passage: About four months has gone by since Nehemiah’s learning of the situation in Jerusalem. After having a burden for the city, and a leading to do something about it, and a prayer that identifies the man in whom he needs favor, Nehemiah is prepared to act. But as any wise leader knows, he must be selective about how he pursues his vision.
C. Main thought: Nehemiah shows us four principles of wisdom as we move on our God-inspired visions and burdens.
A. Choose the proper time (v. 1-2)
1. So after mourning, fasting, and praying for many days, why not just go up to the king and ask for what you know you want to do? Why wait for four months? He was waiting on God’s timing. He was letting the crock pot simmer and the burden grow. He was trusting God’s time, not Nehemiah’s time. There were certain feasts in which the kings would be especially favorable to his subjects. And certainly the cupbearer had served the king these four months, but had never shown sadness. And the king immediately sees it, so I think that Nehemiah chose this time.
2. Est 4:14,
3. Illustration: like when you have been waiting at to eat for two hours and a new bottle of ketchup at a restaurant and you have to wait for it to come dribbling out the end to eat. I remember hearing the director of the George Muller Foundation telling of God’s perfect timing in the provision of guidance and resources. The Foundation had been requested to commence a new child-care project which would require a great commitment in time and resources. The trustees decided that they couldn’t go ahead unless they received clear direction from the Lord, and so they committed the need to God in prayer. The day came for a decision to be made, but no definite leading had been received. Then on the day of their meeting a substantial sum was received from a donor earmarked for such a project - and what was more remarkable was that the gift had been designated over 20 years before but because of legal problems over the estate it had just become available. “Everything has its time, and the main thing is that we keep step with God, and do not keep pressing on a few steps ahead--nor keep dawdling a step behind. It’s presumptuous to want to have everything at once” –Bonhoeffer,