Wednesday, May 2, 2012

four months later.

Here I am, again. We will continue to unfold the glorious journey of the faith-filled, dependant on God, passionate, compassionate, Nehemiah. I encourage you to read Nehemiah 2:1-10 before we take it apart to see how it works together as it will not all be in one column today.

Nehemiah 2

Artaxerxes Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem
1 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before;
  • Nehemiah's passion never ceased even though the time wasn't right in Kislav.
''Nehemiah had prayed for the relief of his compatriots and then set himself to plan what he could do toward it. Nearly four months passed, however, from Kislev to Nisan-- November to March-- before Nehemiah made his request to the king for leave to go to Jerusalem, either because the winter was not a proper time for such a journey or because it was that long before his time of waiting had passed, and he could come into the king's presence without being called for. Now that he attended the king's table, he hoped to have his ear.'' from The New Matthew Henry Commentary

2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”

''The cause Nehemiah gave the king to inquire into his cares and griefs; he appeared sad in his presence. He took the wine and gave it to the king when he called for it, expecting him then to look him in the face. He was not usually sad in the king's presence, but conformed to the rules of the court-- as courtiers must-- which would allow no sorrowful expression. Good people should, by their cheerfulness, do what they can to try to convince the world of the pleasantness of the ways of religion and to take away the shame attatched to them as people who are said to be always going about with long faces, but there is a time and a place for everything. Nehemiah now saw cause both to be sad and to appear so. The miseries of Jerusalem gave him cause to be sad, and his display of grief would cause the king to ask why he was sad. '' ~from The New Matthew Henry Commentary {boldness, mine}

Sadness of heart... the eyes are a window. Nehemiah knew in his being that Jerusalem was in his heritage so, therefore, he was disheartened. He remained faithful and true to his heritage.

I was very much afraid, 3 but I said {emphasis, mine.} to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
  • Nehemiah was ''very much afraid, but he said...''
I believe the Christian culture {we have one and I'm not to sure I like it.} is too comfortable. We stick to everything in Scripture that there is for comfort, and leave the challenge Scriptures just for Pastors. Why? {Not all of us, but alot of us.} You know what we are called to do: We are called to live quiet lives attending to our business, but we are ALSO called to the ends of the earth. Rather your ends of the earth is across the street or across the globe.  It is scary, but ''We don't need easy. We need possible.'' and everything is possible in Jesus Christ... Also, we don't like things to take long. Did you know that in Jeremiah 29:11 the ''plans that I have for you'' {don't get me wrong I believe what it says. I just believe it is out of it's context in the way we present it.} said that it would take 70 years to fulfill? We don't like that, so we don't discuss it very much. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit! We don't use it well at all...

       It took alot of courage for Nehemiah to even come to the king, especially because it is against culture to seem disheartened in the king's presence.
  • We are not called to be afraid, but we are called to speak. And that's just what our friend, Mr. Nehemiah did.
4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Exactly like Jesus' question in Matthew 20.

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, {emphasis, mine} 5 and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.”

''Nehemiah immediately prayed to the God of heaven that he would give him wisdom to ask properly and that he would incline the king's heart to the God, who understands the language of the heart: Lord give me a mouth and wisdom (Luke 21:15); Lord, give me mercy in the sight of this man (1:11).

Silent prayers. Now, speaking prayer is powerful, and I mean pow-er-ful, but {let's face it. I don't care what ''kind'' it is. I just love to be in communication with Him!} there is an intimacy that you experience with Christ when letting Him understand the prayers of your heart. No one else know, but Him and you. I love when you sing something in worship service that brings a memory of you praying during that line months ago, but that song has it written in between the lines just between you and God. It can happen in an instant like it did in Nehemiah's case or for hours... He know our coming in and our going out... He hems us in behind and before... He knows our every thought... He holds our every moment... and He still likes us-- even loves us.

6 Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.

''The king's great favor to Nehemiah in asking him when he would return. He showed that he was reluctant to lose him. yet he would spare him for a while and would let him have inserted into his commission the words he wanted. Here was an immediate answer to prayer.
 In the account he gives of the success of his petition, notice:
  •  The presence of the queen, who sat beside the king, which apparently was unusual in the Persian court.
  • The power and grace of God. Nehemiah won the point according to the good hand of his God upon him.'' from The New Matthew Henry Commentary
7 I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? 8 And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests. {emphasis, mine} 9 So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me.
10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.

This would be like asking our president for permission to get a passport and other supplies for a journey-- although under somepletely different customs.

NOW, treasures, you are called to speak. This is it. Maybe not for a living; maybe not more than a sentence, but YOU ARE CALLED to be witnesses among the nations. To pursue Him whether you are busy or still. Go in peace, be blessed, and pray to our God in heaven.

In Christ,

No comments:

Post a Comment