Tuesday, August 7, 2017
Throughout scripture we hear story after story of incredible partnership between man and God. And in a lot of those stories there are dramatic, supernatural and life changing events that serve as the catalysts that draw men into the adventure. For instance:
Moses and the burning bush, the Israelites being led through wilderness by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night, David being anointed by a prophet as king of Israel, Jacob physically wrestling with God, Peter getting to walk on water, Paul getting struck blind so he would stop killing Christian Jews and come face to face with Jesus, Isaiah hearing the voice of God calling him, Abraham and Sarah hearing God speak directly to them about His covenant with them...and the list just keeps going.
And then there is Nehemiah.
Exercise for the day: read the first chapter of Nehemiah (and then keep going because it is an amazing story we don’t hear much about!!).
Nehemiah’s story is different. He gets news from his brother and friends that the Jews have been diminished to a remnant. The walls of Jerusalem have been destroyed and the gates have all been burned. Yet again, the Jews have been brought to the brink of almost complete destruction. Nehemiah immediately mourned and fasted.
What happened next: no angelic visit, no audible voice, no promise or covenant of “Thus sayeth the Lord”.
Nehemiah was so moved that he cried out to God and prayed for forgiveness for himself, his family and for all the Jews. And when he was done, he went before his king that he was the cup bearer for. And what he did was very bold. He requested to leave his position and help his nation. A request that at that time in history would easily warrant death.
Nehemiah was moved, prayed and did something about it. And as you keep reading through the book you see the complete reunification of a whole nation and that nation turning back to God. This all happened through one man being moved, praying to God and doing something about it. And God blessed each step and prayer that Nehemiah took, which seems to be, by his own volition.
I have found myself throughout my life looking at the great stories of men in the Bible (other than Nehemiah’s), and think - I would surely make a move for God if only he would visit me in a cloud of smoke, with a host of angels singing in the background all while walking on water. But could we have the courage, trust and relationship with Father to be so moved with conviction, step out into the unknown, and just do what moves us? Could we do it without calculating risks and benefits?
How about a less dramatic scenario. "God I don't know what to do. I need your direction. Just tell me what to do and I will do it!" And His response: "Son, I love you. I believe in you and I even trust you! How about you decide and I will do it with you?!!!"
Oh, and Nehemiah didn’t demand anything for himself. He did not say, “Look at this great thing that I am doing for my people, for which I should surely have a great reward both here and in the afterlife.” He did what he knew was right, no matter what it took.
For me this story is daring. It is a challenge. It is a challenge for us all. Are you in?!!
Challenge for the day: Be moved, pray and do it!
“Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” - Howard Thurman