Summary: Nehemiah did four things right in preparing to lead Judah to rebuild. What can our church learn from him?
Lessons on Asking
In the second chapter of Nehemiah, we have a great lesson for our church today.
Setting: Nehemiah, a Jew, has risen to the important job of cupbearer to the King. As we studied last week, God has been working for four months to prepare him to be a leader. He has given him a great burden for the condition of Jerusalem and a dissatisfaction with his own life. Nehemiah is now ready to do what God wants and God is ready to move to the next step.
On this particular day, I believe Nehemiah is just going about his duties, not really expecting anything to happen when out of the blue… BAM… the door opens.
He is just handing the king a cup of wine when all at once his prayers are answered.
The scripture says the king asked Nehemiah a question regarding his depression.
But It was far more than just a question… Nehemiah heard the door creak open, just a little, but he recognized that God was doing something, He was answering Nehemiah’s prayer in 1:11, “prosper thy servant this day and grant him mercy in the sight of this man(the king).”
1:4 tells us that Nehemiah mourned, fasted and prayed “a certain number of days.” We don’t know how many days. I believe the prayer we have recorded in verses 5-11 of the first chapter is not a literal prayer prayed one specific day… I believe it is a prayer that represents what Nehemiah has been praying for many days or months.
He has been praying for just such an opportunity as this and when the king asks the first question, Nehemiah immediately recognized it as an answer.
That is why Nehemiah says, “Then I was very sore afraid.”
Was he afraid that God was going to grant his wish? NO!
I believe he was afraid because he recognized that God was in the place… the God he had prayed to and trusted was now REAL and really working. He had the same feeling as Moses at the burning bush and Isaiah in the temple when they realized they were in the presence of Almighty God… FEAR!!!
Plus, I believe Nehemiah was filled with a combination of excitement and fear. Like a backup quarterback who stands on the sidelines… waiting, watching, preparing and praying for his chance to get in the game. Then one day the coach looks at him and says, “Nigurski, get in there.”
Can’t you imagine the excitement, but also the butterflies in his stomach. On the one hand he wants to scream, “Alright” but on the other hand he thinks he might throw up.
There is the excitement that the prayer is answered but there is the fear that now that the big chance is here, now that he is actually going to get in the game… that he might botch it up.
Nehemiah is not afraid to get the chance… but he senses the incredible weight on his shoulders… he is afraid that HE might not be able, that HE might blow the chance.
When Nehemiah tells us he was afraid was when the King just asked about his spirit, his sadness.
BUT NEHEMIAH recognized this was just the beginning, and that God was about to do something BIG!!!
I can tell you that our vision casting meetings, the vision we have worked out… I am so excited because I sense God in it. I know God is going to do something big here.
The vision we see now… is just the beginning.
Like Nehemiah, when he surveyed the walls… he knew more than he was telling (2:12) and GOD HAS SHOWN ME MORE THAN I HAVE TOLD YOU!
The vision we have discovered, the plans we have made… they are going to be great and our church is going to move up and out to do things like we have never seen before.
But the plans God still has, that He has yet to reveal to all… they are mind-boggling!!!!
The lesson for us today is this…
GOD HAS HEARD OUR PRAYERS AND THE DOOR HAS CREAKED OPEN… OUR VISION IS GOD’S FIRST STEP… AND GOD HAS SO MUCH MORE FOR US.
The second lesson is found in v. 6 “And the king said to me, (the Queen also sitting by him)…”
Why does Nehemiah mention the Queen?
This is a very concise and brief account. Nehemiah has kept it to a bare minimum. He has only mentioned the necessities… except this.
Why does he take time to mention the Queen? She does not speak or act. She is just there.
I believe verses 5 and 6 have a TREMENDOUS message that is hidden from most and open only to those willing to mine it out.