Nehemiah, Committed to the Lord
The next single in the Bible shows a person very committed to the Lord. Nehemiah was a personality that had an intimate relationship with His Lord. The opening prayer of the book displays the basis for this deep relationship. Nehemiah viewed God as transcendent, all-powerful, eternal, and holy. We witness this in Nehemiah's address: "O Lord God of heaven, great and awesome God, who keeps his loving covenant with those who love him and obey his commandments" (1:5).
Nehemiah had an intimate relationship with the Lord, but he was also committed to the Lord's work. Intimacy encompasses familiarity - knowledge of the other person's passions, thoughts, and actions. Why does a cupbearer take on the role of builder? Because he recognizes that God is leading him. When Artaxerxes grants provisions, Nehemiah states that "the good hand of my God was on me." (2:8 ). When Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem, he acknowledges that "my God was putting on my heart to do for Jerusalem" (v. 12). When this soon-to-be contractor addresses the Jewish community, he indicates that God's hand is upon him (v. 18 ). And when Nehemiah calls for the Jews to assemble, he states, "My God placed it on my heart" (7:5). Men and women who have accomplished great things for the Lord are individuals whose affections rest upon the Lord and why are cognizant of His ways.
This attentiveness to God's leading results in peace and assurance of His provision. Throughout the narrative we find Nehemiah trusting in the Lord. He prays to the Lord as he requests provisions from the Persian king (2:4). Likewise, when there was concern over safety, the Jews prayed and then stationed guards (4:9). In 6:9, Nehemiah calls for the Lord to strengthen his hands in the midst of foreign opposition. As he lives out the Lord's desires, Nehemiah can rest in the comfort of knowing that the Lord will act (2:20; 4:15). The "whys" dissipate when we know the Lord and that he has called us to tackle the assignment. No wonder Nehemiah could focus on his goals, plan thoroughly for their accomplishment, deal patiently and wisely with each problem as it arose, resist distractions, and refuse to be discouraged at any stage.
We must also note the intimacy Nehemiah possesses with his Lord yields a desire to serve. A final reason Nehemiah pursues this restoration project is for the privilege and joy of serving his beloved Lord and allowing the Lord to use him. The opportunity Nehemiah had in service to the Persian king could not compare to the opportunity he had in working for the King of Kings. Nehemiah placed all of his gifts and abilities entirely at God's disposal.
As believers, we too can live our lives according to the Lord's will and enablement. For we are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nationg, a people of his own." (1 Peter 2:9.)
The book of Nehemiah demonstrates that commitment is costly. It requires our time, our resources, our thought life, and even our very soul. The depth of these requirements will increase with every obstacle we encounter. While Nehemiah served as one of the greatest general contractors in Israel's history, his commitment to the Lord, His work, and His people met stones of ridicule, potential cracks of depression, a dangerous clouding of his vision, and the possible deception of independence or self-sufficiency. However, this cupbearer willingly paid the cost necessary to ensure that his commitments stood strong. Underlying the edifice of commitment to the Lord, he possessed an intimate relationship with his God. Nehemiah's commitment to the Lord's work rested upon foundation stones of the recognition of the Lord's calling and enablement, as well as his dependence on Him. And finally, we observed that an emphasis upon service and a value of community held together Nehemiah's commitment to the Jews. May we like Nehemiah, be able to askt he Lord to remember us for good as we faithfully live out our commmitment.
adapted from They Were Single Too by David M. Hoffeditz and published by Kregel Publications If you are single, you might want to purchase this book so you can understand some of these great singles of the Bible. The author provides some very good insight into their lives and how they can be applied to our lives today.
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