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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Rising From Our Knees

Well, only one more day of class left to go! I think my brain is full and I may be too tired to say anything profound, but I'll still leave a thought from today. (I realize that after hearing this, some of you may feel that perhaps I have been "tired" my whole life! Just trying to make a joke at my own expense. Ha, ha.)

We've started each day of class by looking at a leadership example from the Bible. Today, we began by looking at Nehemiah chapter one out of the Old Testament. In this book, Nehemiah has just received some depressing news from Jerusalem- the people were in distress, the wall was torn down, and the gates had been burned. As a Jew living in exile, this dire message from his homeland broke Nehemiah's heart. The Bible tells us that he sat and wept; praying, fasting, and mourning for his people. The next many verses are his cry to God, asking Him to remember the people of Israel.

For many people, the story would end here. Sad news is received, mourning follows, and life goes on. But not for Nehemiah. The last thought of his prayer is, "Please grant me success now as I go to ask the king for a great favor. Put it into his heart to be kind to me." Nehemiah has grieved, but now he is ready to go. The passion he feels for his people has stirred him into action, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to see the fortunes of Israel change.

One more thing- this chapter ends with a seemingly "cast-off" sentence, "In those days, I (Nehemiah) was the king's cup-bearer." The significance of this statement may be lost on modern ears, but in Nehemiah's day this role was one of great importance. He was one of few people who had unlimited, daily access to the king. Nehemiah goes on to leverage this position to ask for help on behalf of Israel. King Artaxerxes ends up commissioning Nehemiah and a group of Jews to return home to re-build the wall and refashion the gates, a task which they would complete 12 years later.

Notice what has transpired here: Nehemiah receives bad news and we see that he has great passion. Then we learn he is a right-hand man of the king, someone powerful enough to help. And finally, in chapter two we learn that God's hand is on Nehemiah and God blesses him to go and accomplish this task. Put plainly, a need arises which matches up with Nehemiah's passion, and he in turn uses his position to go forth and accomplish God's purposes.

I wonder how many of us would stay in our "prayer room," content to mourn the fortunes of those we love but not willing to do much about it. But be assured of this- there is a place in your life where your passion and position are lining up with God's purpose, and as they do- be ready! He's going to use you! In fact, the reality is that for many of us, that opportunity may already exist! The question is, will we have the courage to move from a place of prayer into action? When we do this, we are accepting the fact that often times, we may be a part of the answer to our own prayers. As we pray, God says, "I'm so glad this has caught your heart- now go, I want to use you to answer your prayers and mine." Is this too much for us? I don't think so. Why else would God grant us passion, and places of influence or "power"? He wants to use us!

Lift your life to Him and offer Him all that you have. And don't be surprised if He takes you up on that offer!

Journey on-


1 comment:

Linda said...

Another point about the life of Nehemiah is that he was doing what he did daily when he approached the King. He was trustworthy, honest, and reliable. If God is our King, we should be approaching Him daily, then when the occasion arises as it did in Nehemiah's life, and we need to ask for help in order to accomplish our task, we will be familiar with Him and He, with us. He, too, will grant our request if it within His Will.