The city of Jerusalem was in great need and Nehemiah knew about it. He had fasted and prayed before the Lord. Now, at just the right moment, this official serving the king of Persia had his opportunity.
When the king questioned Nehemiah regarding the cupbearer’s demeanor, this devout man of compassion and action gave him an honest reply. Nehemiah was sad because of the miserable condition of Jerusalem.
The king responded with these words of opportunity: “What are you requesting?”
There was no time at that moment to organize all the faithful in prayer. The Bible simply tells us what one man did. “So I prayed to the God of heaven.” Right then, in the silence of that instant, Nehemiah sought the Lord. Then he asked the king to send him to Jerusalem to rebuild the city.
The king permitted Nehemiah to go. He also gave him the support that was necessary to undertake this great project. What was Nehemiah’s conclusion regarding this amazing blessing? “The good hand of my God was upon me.”
When Nehemiah came to the local governors in the region around Jerusalem he immediately encountered people who would stand against him in his great project. They were not pleased with his arrival despite the letters that he held from the king of Persia and the military escort that came with him.
The Lord had given Nehemiah a job to do. Understanding the sensitivity of working in the midst of enemies, he went out secretly at night to inspect the remains of the wall. Then he met with the Jewish leaders who would have to be his allies in the days ahead and secured their commitments. They heard about what the Lord had already done, and they offered this encouraging reply: “Let us rise up and build.”
The enemies of Israel began to scoff at what was being attempted. They made their subtle threats. They would soon learn that the Lord had provided more than a royal letter and the promise of timber for this mission. He had sent a man of courage who would not run away when people tried to discourage him.
A man of courage is a great gift of God. The New Testament church is working in the midst of the ruins of Adam’s world. Not everyone here below is happy about what we are doing. Above every other practical gift that God gives us is this: He gives us the greatest Man of courage to be our Captain forever. Jesus was willing to die in order to establish a new age of resurrection for His people. He will not be stopped by any enemies who imagine that they can thwart His perfect plan. He will build His church.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, teach us the appropriate boldness of Your servants as You call us to a great work. May we turn to You continually in prayer. Grant us success in the mission of Your choosing. Your good hand will be upon Your children for the sake of Your Son. Fill us with hope in the darkest of nights. Show us the brokenness of Your kingdom and give us a vision for the rebuilding of Your holy city. Grant to us allies in faith who will believe with us in the calling that You have placed upon our hearts. Teach us to take courage, even in the face of opposition.