Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday's Featured: Nehemiah

One thing's for certain: Nehemiah was a guy who deeply feared the Lord.
Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
And I am not even finished reading the Old Testament book in its entirety--but even halfway through, it is evident that the man Nehemiah gets it.

I first started exploring this book as a result of its prominence in Andy Stanley's book Visioneering, which is all about placing our dreams, visions, and purpose before the Lord, as we pray and plan for His guidance.  

Nehemiah did just that.  He had a passion and a drive to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, but he was nowhere near the appropriate resources to complete the task.  So he prayed.  Then he planned accordingly, should he ever be presented the opportunity to rebuild the walls.  Lo and behold, the Lord grants Nehemiah favor before the king, and he sets off to Jerusalem to pursue the vision.  How amazing is that?  Doesn't it make you want to pray like never before about the passions, dreams, and desires within your own heart, mind, and spirit?  

I am only halfway through the OT book (chapter six, to be exact).  So far, though, prominent themes run throughout the story, all of which I sense God desires us to extract, pray about, and see manifesting themselves in our own lives:

ONE: The Lord listens to His creation.  God knows us better than anyone, for He knit us together in our mother's womb and endowed us each with unique passions, design, and strengths.  He longs to ignite those qualities!  Nehemiah prayed, "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 our servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man" (1:11).

TWO: When God sends, He equips.  This is a truth I heard from the pastor this weekend at church, and one that presents itself many times throughout Scripture.  God knows what we need to do His work.  Even in our weakness, He makes us strong to do everything He has prepared us to do!  God gave Nehemiah favor before the king, including everything he needed to travel to Jerusalem and begin the project.

THREE: God may use you in ways you never expected.  Although God granted Nehemiah his prayer and vision for the walls, God also chose Nehemiah to stand up for the people.  They were being unjustly treated, their lands and firstfruits taken for the king's tax.  Nehemiah saw the injustice, he "took counsel with [himself], and brought charges against the nobles and officials" (5:6).  Perhaps Nehemiah never expected to also take on this role, but God had an additional task for him. 

What insight do you have from the beginning of Nehemiah's account?  How has God worked through your dreams and prayers?

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