Last week we dealt with “conquering fear and embracing faith”, and today we are dealing with the difficult question what is it that you want?” as taken from Nehemiah 2:4. Due to fear many people would have difficulty in answering this question especially when asked by a superior authority. In different words Jesus Christ in John 16:24 said to His disciples saying, “24 Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” To have a king asking you a question like this means all to do with the levels of your conduct and faithfulness because it’s just the same as receiving a blank signed cheque where you are asked to put the figures yourself.
According to Nehemiah 1:1, Nehemiah was the king's cupbearer, a high position in any ancient royal court. The cupbearer was a personal bodyguard to the king, being the one who tasted wine and food before the king could eat this was so to ensure that no one could poison the king. This duty of choosing and tasting the wine for the king gave him frequent access to the king's presence and made him potentially a man of influence. This therefore means that the king has to have a tremendous amount of trust in his cupbearer, who had to be a man of faithful and impressive character. If the cupbearer could be turned against the king, assassination would be easy. To work in a position like this one has to have a set of attributes one of which is a strong prayer life. Nehemiah believed in working and praying. In this short book, we have 14 of his prayers.
Before he set out on the project, Nehemiah prayed. When he approached the king, he prayed. When he was in trouble, he prayed and so on and on. Then the king said to me, “What is it that you want?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. -Nehemiah 2:4 What a fabulous example of how to get things done. Pray before you start. Pray as you go. Pray when you’re between a rock and a hard place. Pray about everything.
Do you care about God’s work? Do you care when the flock of God is going unattended? Do you care about the people who have never heard about the saving love of Christ? Notice Nehemiah was deeply concerned about God’s cause. One day while he was busy in the palace, he encountered a brother who had just returned from Jerusalem. He stopped and asked, “How are things going in the land?” “Not good,” was the response. The bad report troubled him because God’s commandments were being ignored. The walls in shambles meant the people lived in danger and it really troubled him. Now as much as Nehemiah cared about Jerusalem, he didn’t want to run ahead of God. So, as was his typical practice, he prayed about it. He said, “Lord, if you want to use me, here I am, use me.”
The one lesson I would want us to learn today is that God sees your faithfulness. The rebuilding of the walls and gates of Jerusalem was one of the greatest building projects and it was a wonderful testimony of God working through individuals. One day we all will be called before the judgment seat of Christ to be rewarded but I think that some of the greatest rewards will go to some of the unknown saints who purely live for God in this day.
Shalom Adonai Eleikhem ( the peace of the Lord be with you).