Summary: 7 Phases on walking in God’s purpose
7 Phases on walking in God’s purpose
Nehemiah 1:3, And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”
1. Awareness (1:3)
There are times we come across aspects of our life or our community that are broken and devastated – we can think it’s always been that way! Jerusalem had been in ruins for 140 years. And suddenly we are aware of the situation and there is a stirring in our hearts that things can be different and should be different.
Nehemiah 1:4, As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
2. Burden (1:4)
When God is stirring our hearts, it’s not just a passing thought – it becomes something that we cannot escape. God has burdened us with the situation and we know something needs change.
Nehemiah 1:5-11, And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your dispersed be under the farthest skies, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Now I was cupbearer to the king.
3. Prayer (vv. 5-11)
Nehemiah fasts and prays! Don’t miss this: Prayer is our response to God’s stirring. What is God stirring in your heart? Have you started to pray about it?
A lot of people want to pray and then move forward, but often it takes time to come to terms with God’s purposes. Nehemiah prayed 4 months November – March. Part of what we are praying for is God’s direction. The word “servant” appears 8 times in these verses. Prayer is all about finding out what God wants to do, rather than trying to merely assert our will.
Nehemiah 2:1-2, In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid.
4. Plan (2:1-2)
Nehemiah was feeling overwhelmed because the task was beyond his abilities, beyond the realm of reason that the king would reverse his foreign policy and prior decisions. But Nehemiah had a plan. People often vacillate between two extremes: either they pray and don’t plan or they plan and don’t pray. Notice that when Nehemiah was suddenly asked, he had a well thought-out plan. He knew: how to say it, the time he needed, the safe conduct required, and letters for the materials to complete the task…he had a plan!
Nehemiah 2:2c-3, Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
5. Bold step (vv. 2c-3)
When you are stepping out it can be scary…stepping out in faith is scary.
Nehemiah 2:4-8, Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.