Let’s continue where we left off on Monday, beginning with Chapter 2.
Sadness of the heart
1-2 Nehemiah goes before the King to serve him wine. His heart is still full with thoughts of his people and the King sees his sadness and I think is full of compassion so he asks Nehemiah about it. He says, “you aren’t sick so it must be sadness of the heart. Tell me about it.”
When we see this kind of sadness, do we reach out like this? Do we even take time to notice the sadness of those around us? I feel that God is at work in this non-Jew King. I mean God can work through anyone, right?
3-10 Nehemiah was afraid to speak out to the King but he does so anyway. He tells him of his great sadness for his people and the disarray of the temple and former city.
Isn’t that sometimes so hard? To speak up when we see something that’s not right? When we see something that needs to be corrected? It’s hard to say that to a friend or family member sometimes, let alone to a King or our maybe even our boss or any authority figure. I feel like Nehemiah is really quite brave here
“So I prayed to the God of Heaven”
I love that Nehemiah quickly prays before answering the King’s question about what he would have the King do.
Do we do that? Do we quickly lift up a prayer before we speak? Do we do it often enough? What a difference that could make, in our lives and in society as a whole! I wonder what he prayed. It didn’t say, it just said he “prayed to the God in heaven.” Did he pray for strength? Did he pray for courage? Did he pray for the right words?
Then he makes some pretty big requests of the king and the king complies and then some! He sent the cavalry with Nehemiah and Nehemiah recognizes God’s hand in this. He knows God was with him.
11-16 Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem and inspects the walls in secret. He gets up in the night and goes out quietly to see the rubble and destruction. He kept it all secret – what he was planning to do, what God had placed on his heart to do. He just went and quietly looked over what was going to need to be done.
I don’t know about you but sometimes, I get so excited about what I feel God is calling me to do that jump in head first! I just go for it without the inspection – the inspection of my heart, my abilities, and what exactly it IS that needs to be done, that God is calling me to do. I find it interesting that his going out and inspecting in secret was important enough to include here and that he tells us more than once that he didn’t tell anyone about it. I feel there is a lesson here. A lesson to hear the call and act on it but maybe to be a bit more patient, a bit more … smart about answering and acting. Sometimes we need to do some recon first. (Excuse me… sometimes the military wife comes out still.) We need to study and prepare the way.
17-20 After the inspection, Nehemiah speaks to the people that have gathered, the Jews, the priests, the nobles and all those who would do the work. He points out to them the trouble they are in and that it is now time to rebuild the walls. He tells them of God’s hand in the endeavor and what the King has said and calls them to work and the people agree.
Of course, there is opposition. The Non-Jews mocked them and accused them or rebelling against the king but Nehemiah wasn’t swayed. He wasn’t discouraged. He didn’t let their words stop him from following God’s call. Nehemiah obeyed.
It can be so hard at times to block out the naysayers in our lives and totally focus on God’s voice. Like Nehemiah, we have to learn to ignore the voices that tell us to quit, the voices that tell us to give up and instead, listen to God’s voice and obey.
Now, time to share
How do you do this? How do you block out the naysayers, especially when it’s you discouraging yourself? Share in the comments below. Let’s learn from one another.