Summary: challenges, life situations, confession
Facing Life’s Challenges
Nehemiah 1: 4-6
Most of us right now, are consumed with enormous challenges in our personal lives. We may appear to live carefree lives, and we look good on the outside, but on the inside, we are consumed with dealing with this over here and that over there, and it seems like there is no resolution to be found in the other. Collectively, we have health challenges. Family Challenges. Unexpected challenges. Challenges of uncertainty. Political challenges. Not knowing which direction our country is headed next. Challenges of an unjust, criminal justice system, who justifies targeting unarmed teens, in other words, there is a challenge of being a human being. The challenge of being arrested for no reason, and the questionable, mysterious murders of innocent people, because of personal choice. Today, as we come face to face with challenges, I want us to look deep, beneath the surface and look to the POSSIBILITY, brighter days up ahead. In life, there are situations on every hand that presents us with a challenge, but God already knows the outcome. Perhaps He wants us to reveal to us the extent of our faith. Maybe He wants to prove to us, if the faith we say we have, is it really real. For too long, we’ve done a lot of talking, but are we willing to put some action behind it. God in His infinite wisdom has a greater plan than what we can see right now. A plan designed to challenge us. A plan specifically designed to grow us up in Him. A plan that makes each of us aware that we too have a SPIRIT OF TENACITY like Nehemiah. A SPIRIT, that doesn’t give up easily, a SPIRIT that will go the distance in the face of a challenge.
Nehemiah faced a challenge, and his witness laid a foundation, not only to build upon, but he laid before us a springboard, so that we too can rebound in facing life’s challenges. Is it easy? No, it’s not. But’s not about GIVING UP It’s about GIVING IN and trusting God. In the text, we find that Nehemiah is a cupbearer. One who was a loyal and trustworthy servant to the king. He knows his history and the disobedience, of his ancestors. And he knows that because of his ancestor’s disobedience, they were lead into Babylonian captivity for 70 years. Over a period of time and under the leadership of Cyrus, King of Persia, the remnant, being those who lived thru it, they were finally allowed to return to Jerusalem, IF they chose. They were going home to rebuild.
If you remember that back in 2 Chronicles 36, the people HAD GOTTEN OUT OF HAND. they mocked God’s messengers, despised God’s word, and misused the prophets, they thought they GOT AWAY with it, UNTIL, the WRATH of the Lord rose up AGAINST them. The house of God was burnt down, broke down the wall, and the land was desolate. Countless people died, while others were carried off and held captive in Babylon. Nehemiah was one of the one’s who chose NOT to go back. The remnant rebuilt the temple, during the days of Ezra. SO NOW, the people had a temple, that was COMPLETED and DEDICATED to the Lord, in (Ezra Chapter 6) but they were living their lives in the midst of the unsightly, unprotected, devastating destruction of the gates and wall of Jerusalem.
In our text for the morning, on this particular occasion, Nehemiah, has a conversation with one of his brethren, and he inquires about how life is in Jerusalem. What’s it looking like and how are they doing,? Years later, he chose not to return, but he was concerned. Why should he even concern himself with what’s going on? He’s evidently living well. He serves in the king’s palace, and lives amongst the best of the best. He held an important position, while having more than enough responsibility in making sure that the king’s wine had not been tampered with. The king’s wine had better been of great quality, taste, and definitely not poisoned. So why was Nehemiah inquisitive? It is safe to conclude, that he had genuine concern. So often we inquire about situations, and our response at times is just an indication that we really don’t care one way or the other, instead we’re just being nosy. But Nehemiah’s concern was authentic. He wanted to know the condition and welfare of God’s people in the city. He was in position to make the situation better. In facing life’s challenges hopefully by now, we should have grown to the point in our walk with the Lord, that we better understand how life presents challenges to everybody, and not just us. If another is facing a challenge, if you can, do what you can, to make the situation better. HAVE CONCERN FOR SOMEBODY OR SOMETHING GREATER THAN OURSELVES.