Summary: Nehemiah models Patience, Prayer, Posession, Plan and Praise in his actions while being obedient to God.
Christian Attributes of Action
Intro: There were two old geezers living in the backwoods of the Ozarks: Rufus and Clarence.
They lived on opposite sides of the river and they hated each other. Every morning, just after sunup, Rufus and Clarence would go down to their respective sides of the river and yell at each other.
"Rufus!" Clarence would shout, "You better thank your lucky stars that I can’t swim, er I’d swim this river and whup you!"
"Clarence!" Rufus would holler back, "You better thank YOUR lucky stars that I can’t swim, er I’d swim this river and whup YOU!"
Every morning. Every day. For 20 years.
One day the Army Corps of Engineers came along and built a bridge. But the insults went on every morning. Every day. Another five years.
Finally, Mr. Rufus’ wife had had enough. "Rufus!" she squallered one day, "I can’t take no more! Every day for 25 years you’ve been threatenin’ to whup Clarence. Well, thar’s the bridge! Have at it!"
Rufus thought for a moment. Chewed his bottom lip for another moment.
"Woman!" he declared, snapping his suspenders into place. "I’m gonna whup Clarence!"
He walked out the door, down to the river, along the river bank, came to the bridge, stepped up onto the bridge, walked about halfway over the bridge, then turned tail and ran screaming back to the house, slammed the door, bolted the windows, grabbed the shotgun and dove under the bed.
"Rufus!" cried the missus. "I thought you was gonna whup Clarence!"
"I was, woman, I was!" he whispered.
"What in tarnation is the matter?"
"Well," whispered the terror-stricken Rufus, "I walked halfway over the bridge and saw a sign that said, “’Clearance, 13 feet, 6 inches.’ He ain’t never looked that big from the other side of the river!"
. That’s what happens sometimes to the people of God.
. We look at things from a distance and make plans but when we get closer to doing what God wants us to do we think that the task is too monumental and we resort back to the safety of what we have always done. We circle the wagons and stand our ground.
. We stay right in our comfort zone.
. When last we were in Nehemiah we saw that in order for Nehemiah to do what god had called him to do, he had to get out of his comfort zone.
. We realized that as a church and as Christians, sometimes God call us out of our comfort zone.
. Last Sunday in our business meeting we, as a church decided to step out and allow God to use us in expanding our ministry here at The Creek.
. We voted to pursue hiring a bi-vocational children’s minister. 95% of our congregation made this commitment.
. Just like Nehemiah, we took a step out of our comfort zone.
. In our scripture today, Nehemiah models for us the continuation of these steps that someone takes in following Gods direction.
. Lets look at our scripture:
1 Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan, during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence.
2 So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.”Then I was terrified,
3 but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
4 The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?”With a cprayer to the God of heaven,
5 I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”
6 The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request.
7 I also said to the king, “If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah.
8And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me.
. In these eight verses Nehemiah models 5 attributes of action .