Summary: Nehemiah had a heart that cared, knees that bent, a mind that prepared, and feet that went.
Knees That Bent
Last week we began to dig into the book of Nehemiah, and we discovered that he was a man that had a heart that cared, knees that bent, a mind that prepared and feet that went. I talked about how those four things need to be kept in a somewhat equal balance for success in any endeavor. For example, prayer without caring won't last, and prayer without preparation won't be effective. The spiritual and the practical needed to be properly balanced, one without the other is like rowing with only one oar, you won't get very far.
Last weeks message was entitled: "Can I Trust You With This?" In it we discussed the fact that God is looking for people He can share the burden of His heart with, and is always looking for soil in which His seed (By that I mean His burden, calling) can take root and not be choked out, many are called, few rise to the challenge. Finally I mentioned that God has an assignment for everyone, and for every stage of your life. One thing I want to mention as an addition to that message and a segway into this one is that your, "assignment," often has a season of preparation, and so your "assignment," for this season may simply be: get ready, get ready, get ready.
I had four years of Bible college training, my assignment was study, study, study. Preparation time is where a lot of people get disillusioned. They want to get feet on the ground, when God wants them to get knees bent in prayer, or a head in the bible. Modern warfare techniques can teach us much about the need for preparation, or as I would like to call it in this message:
When a nation is going to send 100,000 soldiers into battle in another country you better have a plan in place to feed, fuel, and provide a constant stream of every imaginable resource: bullets, bandages, bombs, etc.. You don't just send 100,000 soldiers into battle without a supply chain staged, and ready to keep functioning.
In like manner Nehemiah prepared for what was ahead in two ways: he PRAYPERED and he prepared. I will talk about preparing more next week this week we will talk about prayparing.
Let's look at the text now:
Ne 1:4 Now it came about when I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Ne 1:5 And I said, "I beseech Thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,
Ne 1:6 let Thine ear now be attentive and Thine eyes open to hear the prayer of Thy servant which I am praying before Thee now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Thy servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against Thee; I and my father's house have sinned.
Ne 1:7 "We have acted very corruptly against Thee and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which Thou didst command Thy servant Moses.
Ne 1:8 "Remember the word which Thou didst command Thy servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples;
Ne 1:9 but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.'
Ne 1:10 "And they are Thy servants and Thy people whom Thou didst redeem by Thy great power and by Thy strong hand.
Ne 1:11 "O Lord, I beseech Thee, may Thine ear be attentive to the prayer of Thy servant and the prayer of Thy servants who delight to revere Thy name, and make Thy servant successful today, and grant him compassion before this man." Now I was the cupbearer to the king.
1. He prayed fervently.
We are told the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much in James 5:16. Nehemiah prayed fervently because he had a heart full of sympathy for his nation. Sympathy is very simply - your pain in my heart. The pain so deep he had to vent it to God in prayer.
I would like to read the lyrics to a song by Simon and Garfunkel, entitled, "I am a Rock."
A winter's day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,