Summary: Seond part of Fear to Faith: Steps to success 1. Examine the work 2. Enlist others 3. Exercise your faith.
Fear to Faith - Part 2
Pastor Don Jones
Rev. David E. Cox passed along this observation to his congregation one day. My youngest son, Brandon, is quite the newcomer as an author. No, he does not have the capabilities of writing splendid poetry like Maya Angelou nor leaves his readers in suspense like Stephen L. Carter, but with every story there is a distinct mark of brilliancy. Of course, he probably will not obtain a Nobel Prize in Literature this year because, you see, he is only 8 years old. That’s right - 8 years old! Okay, maybe I’m a little bias since he is my son, but I still think they are brilliant stories. Each story lacks a writer’s flow, but the ending makes up for incomplete styles in writing and grammar. Well, why do I enjoy reading Brandon’s stories? He always ends each adventure on a happy note. Whether it is a dragon being slain by a gallant knight or a firefighter rescuing a terrified girl from a building set ablaze, each story ends with triumph and pure glee. The story leaves the reader with a smile on his or her face. You may ask, what is so brilliant about a child’s story? The brilliancy comes in knowing that we can make the transition "From Fear To Faith". It took faith for the knight to stand up against a dragon and a firefighter to take on the strength of a fire. Yes, whenever we are faced with an overpowering challenge it takes faith to win.
And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests." (2:8)
Nehemiah took step of faith that turned into a leap of faith as Artexerxes provided the raw materials and permits to go back to rebuild the wall. Nehemiah had taken that step because God had laid a burden on his heart, the ruined wall of Jerusalem. The burden showed on his face to the point that Artexerxes was prompted by God to ask the questions that would change the life of Nehemiah, the cupbearer. Everything was working out according to the Lord’s plan.
Terry Teachout says, "We are born into a vast room whose walls consist of a thousand doors of possibility. Each door is flung open to the world outside, and the room is filled with light and noise. We close some of the doors deliberately, sometimes with fear, sometimes with calm certainty. Others seem to close by themselves, some so quietly that we do not even notice."
The door had been opened for Nehemiah and he was about to walk through. It would be the greatest adventure in his life for the Kingdom of God.
Evaluate the Work
Nehemiah left as soon as he received the papers to travel and the supply order from the king. He was ready to begin the work. The king also sent a small army along with him so he could travel in safety.
I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on. (2:11)
One thing I noticed about Nehemiah’s methods. He did not flaunt God’s plan and he didn’t go out of his way to antagonize others. At night he went out with a few to evaluate the work ahead of them. You might say he didn’t come into the city and start building in a hurried manner, he examined and planned to do God’s work.
Some believe faith to be a blind obedience to God. Martin Luther King said, "Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase". George Seaton says, "Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to."
Nehemiah didn’t understand all that was about to happen in his life. Nehemiah did know that the Lord would give him the provision, power, and protection to carry out what He laid on his heart. Instead of jumping in to the project blindly, he started out his endeavor by making a thorough examination of the wall.
Carter Lindberg says, "Faith enables persons to be persons because it lets God be God."
The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work. Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. (13-18)