mardi, mars 20, 2007

i want to be a Nehemiah.

It's official. I'm naming my firstborn son Nehemiah. I've been studying the book of Nehemiah, while concurrently listening to Mark Driscoll preach on it, and I've been blown away.

One hundred and forty one years after the destruction of Jerusalem, Nehemiah catches a vision and a heart for the broken and vulnerable city. He enters into a time of prayer and fasting...a time which lasts for three to four months!! When the king asks him why he is upset (the same king who had previously forbidden the reconstruction of the wall around Jerusalem), he again prays, and then steps out in faith, explaining that he is upset because he feels a burden for his hometown (effectively telling the king that he was dissatisfied with his foreign policy). Not only does Nehemiah do this, he also asks the king for time off work (v.5-6) and we find out later that he had requested about twelve years off of work. Imagine asking an employer for twelve years time off, let alone a king!! Then, he proceeds to ask the king for letters to be distributed to other rulers in surrounding territory, that they'd allow him to pass through their territory (v.7). Essentially, he is asking for the king's army protection while he travels to Jerusalem. AND, as if this isn't enough, he asks for the king to provide the materials for the rebuilding of the city (v. 9) and for his housing!!

Think about this for a second... Nehemiah has essentially told King Artaxerxes that his policy sucks, that he wants twelve years time off work, that he wants to rebuild a city that isn't even under the king's dominion and does not even worship the same god, AND that he wants to do this with the support of the king's army AND the king's resources!!

Now THAT, my friends, is a support plea that blows my mind!!! Is Nehemiah an amazing man, who is never afraid, who doesn't even know what fear is?? NO! In verse 2 of chapter 2, he says, "Then I was very much afraid." He admits to being fearful! But he does not let his fear stand in the way of God's call! He makes an extravagant request. It is a request SO extravagant, it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE that it will be granted! And yet, the king grants him what he asks (v. 8). Who does Nehemiah ascribe the glory to? Not himself for his bravery and courage, but the good hand of God (v. 8)!!

Guys, this is AMAZING!!! I've really been encouraged by this. Often times, my prayers are so small and my requests even smaller. I so often live life in fear. Fear that my pleas will be rejected. Unbelief that God can answer my prayers, or that my biggest dreams are impossible. James 4:2 says that I do not have because I do not ask. Yes, Nehemiah prayed. He trusted in God to do the impossible. But he didn't stop there. He didn't limit what God could do out of fear. Instead, ALTHOUGH he was fearful, he got out of the boat, and took the steps of faith, trusting that the Almighty, Living God could sustain him.

Today, along with a sermon by good ol' Danny Mac, I was really convicted of this. How big do I really believe the God I serve is? Do I really believe that He is bigger than all the kings and rulers of the earth? Do I really believe that He can accomplish far more than I could ever dream? YES! So, I've taken a step of faith in an area that I've been unwilling to yield to God. Am I scared? Yes!! I currently feel sick to my stomach. But do I believe that the God of heaven will make me prosper (à la Neh 2:20 and Jer 29:11)? YES I do!!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!
Amen.

3 commentaires:

wg84 a dit...

nehemiah is cool...I enjoy how he's very real in his prayers...he's always asking God to bring down doom on those who oppose him :P...he wants payback, like most people do, but gives it to God to dish out...smart guy

but don't name your son nehemiah...what will his friends call him for short? nene? miah? hemmy?...doesn't work.

Lydia a dit...

in all honesty... i don't really enjoy nicknames all that much. Out of all my friends, I think there's only a couple where I actually shorten their names.

Loco a dit...

my nicknames are usually longer than my real name...

but i do heart nehemiah much!