Summary: Nehemiah knew and understood that the enormous task set before him was impossible on his own, but with God he had faith it could be done... So Nehemiah prayed toward a plan
Date Written: January 10, 2013
Date Preached: January 13, 2013
Where Preached: OPBC (AM)
Series Title: Building with God
Sermon Title: Praying Toward A Plan
Sermon Text: Nehemiah 2:1-8 [ESV]
Last week I asked the question, “Have you ever had a project SO large that you did not know how to approach it? OR have you ever had a problem so big that you did not know how you were going to get thru it?”
We looked at Nehemiah and how he saw a problem that seemed FAR too big to tackle… and we saw how he was distressed and disheartened about it, but prayed and God led him…
God led Nehemiah to assess the situation, led him to a prayer of confession of his sin and then revealed to Him the most wonderful truth… God does not abandon His people!
We saw that the situation Nehemiah faced is similar to what Oak Park is now facing. We have a huge problem… I described our problem as this HUGE elephant in the room!
That elephant in the room is all of these empty seats we see around us every week! Every week those empty seats cry out to us… screaming to be filled! We long for those seats to be filled, but that seems so impossible!
It seems like a mountain that is impossible to climb… It is NOT like we haven’t tried because we HAVE! Time and time again we have tried under our own power, but like I said last week… WE cannot build this church… God is going to have to grow our church!
Nehemiah saw this task and it looked impossible! Jerusalem lay in ruins and the Jews who had returned were shamed and afraid of the people around them…it broke his heart.
His desire was to remove the shame and bring safety to his countrymen… BUT mainly to restore Jerusalem to glorify God!
We face a similar situation today in our church. These empty seats have become a source of distress and shame to us… why can’t we grow… what is wrong with us?
My desire is that we FILL these seats, but as I said last week our desire to fill these seats should be exactly the same as Nehemiah’s…
Our desire must be to must seek to be a church body that glorifies God in all of our actions! I truly believe if we stop worrying about ‘growing’ the church and focus on serving our God that the growing and expanding of our borders will happen! This is HIS promise to us!
Today we are going to look at the first 8 verses of chapter 2 here in Nehemiah. He assessed the situation and prayed about his situation…in his prayer, he confessed his sin and prayed FOR his country!
Then we find him crying out for God’s grace and for God to NOT abandon His own… What we find in the final few verses of ch 1 is that he came to the conclusion that God WAS NOT going to abandon His people… We get a sense that Nehemiah believed God was going to move and do something, but he did not know what that would be…
I believe that today, in our church, for us to excel at being the church God desires us to become then we have to have that same type of attitude and outlook as Nehemiah had. We must to be the servants God desires of us and we must remember that God will NOT abandon His children.
Today as we read Nehemiah 2:1-8 I believe we can see where Nehemiah took the next step in conquering this problem. He found a way to ‘eat’ this elephant in the room… to conquer this challenge that lay before him…
FIRST we can see that Nehemiah had assessed the situation and had prayed to God for forgiveness and sought God’s mercy and grace in his efforts!
However, today we are going to look how Nehemiah acted AFTER going to God in prayer… AFTER bathing this situation in prayer… What we can see from Scripture was that Nehemiah knew where to start and that was at the feet of God… He prayed and then he made a plan! BEGIN READING HERE…
Nehemiah Pain Revealed – v1-3:
1In 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. 2And 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.
Now, if you remember I told you that in chapter 1 the month of Chislev was mentioned and we learned that was the time frame of Nov/Dec.