Then the king said to me, “What would you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven (Neh. 2:4). And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me (Neh. 2:8). I did not tell anyone what my God was putting into my mind to do for Jerusalem and there was no animal with me except the animal on which I was riding (Neh. 2:12). I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me (Neh. 2:18). So I answered them and said to them, “The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build (Neh. 2:20) But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night (Neh. 4:9) When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses” (Neh. 4:14). When our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had frustrated their plan, then all of us returned to the wall, each one to his work (Neh. 4:15).
What strikes me about Nehemiah was that he did not bring God into the conversation as a tag line to spiritualize the conversation. He genuinely looked at the unfolding circumstances in life as being influenced and directed by God; like saying, His fingerprints are all over these events. His opening prayer acknowledged Israel’s sin, acknowledge that God said He would take action and exile them from the Land. He pleaded that according to His promise, God will grant healing and restoration would follow – all flowing from God to Israel (Neh. 1:4-11). This does not always go over well even with many Christians because of the “God would never do that to me” kind of attitude. The other problem is that if most of us were willing to be truly honest about our life, we want to still be in control. We often do not like the idea of being out of control but we like even less the idea that someone is “secretly” influencing the events and outcomes of our life. How does any of that reflect our freedom?
Nehemiah rightly saw so much of life completely in chaos and out of his control. He faced the king and had no power to demand anything. Nehemiah saw God’s hand moving the king to grant his request. God had given Nehemiah a vision for what could be done; he was confident that God would give Israel success in rebuilding; he constantly prayed to the Lord; he felt that God would have to supersede impossible obstacles; and he gives credit to God for frustrating the plans of their enemies. He was dependent upon God for the little things and fearful things, facing the enemies and giving Him credit for success.
One of the great challenges of life is seeing God involved in every aspect of life.Nehemiah could have given himself credit for negotiating and persuading the king to give them passage and resources. He could have declared himself a great leader when Israel was successful in rebuilding the wall. But whatever opportunities for self- promotion existed, he credited God for the outworking and success of their efforts. He even credited God with frustrating the plans of their enemies.
This does not mean that Nehemiah sat around waiting for God to wave His magic wand and everything just falls into place.He worked hard, planned, sacrificed, sought help from others, and saw the fingerprints of God on everything that he experienced. If we are to live life in riches of His grace we need to see God in everything. God is always at work around us and it is essential that we see His fingerprints on the unfolding evets of our life.
In His Grace,