Summary: Nehemiah waited on God and when he saw the open door he was not afraid to take the step of faith. It could have cost him his job and even his life but he was prayed up and ready.
(#2 message in our study of Nehemiah)
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”
Timing dictates the order things happen and it also sets the pace by which it happens.
1. Recognize God’s timing
2. Accept God’s timing
3. Get in line with God’s timing
Read Nehemiah 2:1-4
The king, who immediately noticed Nehemiah’s changed expression, asked
“Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill?
Such words from an Oriental potentate were not particularly comforting. That is why in verse 2, you see that Nehemiah is very much afraid. Why?
Persian monarchs required that those who served them were not to bring personal troubles into their presence. Such a breach of protocol could signal conspiracy or disrespect.
But King Artaxerxes’s next comment signaled a little hope for Nehemiah because the king rightly interpreted his servant’s disposition: “This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”
So you get the picture of why he was afraid and rightly so.
Nehemiah had already done his praying, waiting and his preparing. So now, it was time to perform. Time to begin to move.
*We are okay:
· In the praying stage – we close to God through our prayer life
· In the waiting stage - (though difficult) it does not scare us that bad
· In the preparing stage - we get hyped up and a little excited knowing what is about to take place.
But then comes the time to step out into the spotlight. All the preparing and waiting is over. It’s show time! And you have to be ready to move when it is time to move.
- Church has to be ready for the future!
Ex. New house development – They won’t just come!
· Noah – even though he had built the boat, prepared his family –
-imagine his thoughts when the rain came
-imagine his thought process during the 40 days and 40 nights
Despite his fears, Nehemiah knew such an opportunity would not return.
Notice what Nehemiah did next. Please watch, listen and learn.
He treated the king:
-His boss -His superior
-His supervisor -His manager
-That person above you
He treated him with the respect that he deserves.
This king has done nothing directly to Nehemiah.
So why should he get the:
Cold shoulder? Bad attitude? ½ way job?
Verse 3 – He addressed the king with:
Respect ritual courtesy – just as he always did before!
You might be having one of those moments but that does not give you the right to make everyone else feel your ill feelings.
Don’t jeopardize your bright future by how you act to your superiors or those who are over you.
When God places people…
When God changes people…
When God changes your situation… He will NOT do it without the respect of others.
Offer to work that two-week notice.
Offer to work extra hours to make things right.
If you have to leave a certain situation: Do it in a Godly fashion.
Don’t give them room to say negative things about you and your relationship with God.
*Because you never know when you might be crossing that bridge again.
Ex. witnessing two years later to a boss who watched you walk off of a job
Treat everyone with respect and courtesy.
The next lesson we learn: Saying only what needs to be said.
(“…the city where my father’s are buried”)
Two reasons he stated it in this way.
1. He expected the king to understand the gravity of the situation. Respect for the ancestral burial sites was of great concern to ancient peoples, particularly imperial rulers.
2. He didn’t mention the name “Jerusalem” – King Artaxerxes distrusted Jerusalem ad the intentions of its inhabitants. This was the king who authorized the destruction of its walls.
Nehemiah omitted references to the walls of the city as well and spoke only about its gates.
He understood his audience. He knew whom he was dealing with. And he didn’t say too much!
Oh if we could just learn not to say too much.
How many of us go too far with things.
Our advice… Nehemiah shows us how to properly say only what we need to say!
And then Nehemiah heard the words the opened up the door:
The king asked: “What is it you want?”
Aren’t you glad that God is in control of all things?
Nehemiah has just gone from being a cupbearer for the king to having the king ask him,
“What is it you want?”
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH has arrived!!!
And what does Nehemiah do? He prays the quickest and most silent prayer ever prayed!
Verse 4 – “So I prayed to the God of Heaven.”