In 536 B.C., the Jewish exiles in Babylon returned to Jerusalem. Some 90 years later, however, the walls of the city were still piles of rubble with only charred remnants of the original gates. Nehemiah heard about the deplorable conditions from his brother, Hanani. Rather than succumbing to a state of despondency or disillusionment, the news stirred Nehemiah to action; and, he began to pray.
As Nehemiah prayed, a God-given plan began formulating in his mind. All he needed was an opportunity to present the plan to the king (Neh. 1:11). The opportunity came four months later. (1)
NEHEMIAH 2:4-6 (emphasis added)
Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”
So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”
Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
Nehemiah could have dismissed the situation as one that didn’t directly concern him or that he possessed no resources for the job. Additionally, Jerusalem was more than 1,000 miles away requiring up to a month of exhausting travel. The deplorable condition of Jerusalem and the vulnerability of the city’s inhabitants, however, stirred Nehemiah to action.
Rather than complaining about the problem, Nehemiah began praying that God would use him to affect a solution (Neh. 1:11).
When the king asked, “What do you request?” Nehemiah had a ready answer.
Another quick prayer at the opportune moment preceded by four months of intercessory preparation enabled him to present the king with a cohesive plan to rebuild the city of Jerusalem including a projected time frame to complete the project.
God answered Nehemiah’s prayer! Miraculously, the king not only granted permission and entrusted Nehemiah with the reconstruction project, but also supplied the necessary materials (Neh. 2:8).
The application for Christians living in a post-modern cultural environment is obvious. You can choose to let God use you as a positive agent for change in your sphere of influence.
First, allow Him to stir your heart to action; don’t be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. Second, when God burdens your heart for a specific job, success is assured when you prepare for action by going to Him in prayer and allowing Him time to arrange the details.
1) Nehemiah received the news of Jerusalem’s condition in the month of Cheslev corresponding to the months November/December on the Gregorian calendar (Neh.1:1). He presented his plan to the king in the month Nisan corresponding to March/April (Neh. 2:1)
1) Bible opened to Isaiah. By, Ken Horn, [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) Hands Folded in Prayer, (date unknown). By Otto Greiner (1869-1916) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.