I've long since wanted to write - just put down things in black and white.Nehemiah convinced me this morning that it was worth spending a few minutes every now and then when possible to put down those beautiful insights that can only come from sitting still in the awesome presence of God.
So Nehemiah was busy at his job indeed - he had a key post in the Persian court of King Artaxerxes I (who will be referred to as KA-I from here-on in the interest of space and readability) at the capital city of Susa. He held a coveted position of a cup bearer to KA-I. His circumstances by no means favored him being of any use to Jerusalem - the City of God. He had an important job to safeguard with plenty of competition submitting resumes for the same position. His boss - KA-I - was a pagan who found it easier to be neutral to the Jews and had no interest with anything that had to do with Judah or the Temple of God. But Nehemiah wore his heart on his sleeve. Nehemiah's heart was one of worship and reverence and it broke him when he heard that Jerusalem was in ruins and the gates were destroyed by fire and that the few survivors were in great danger. His commitment to the Lord loomed larger than his position and his plush couch at the palace. Out of sight was not really out of mind for him.
What struck me this morning was the wonderful way God responded to Nehemiah's cry for deliverance for Jerusalem. God made the impossible possible (Ha! I must remember to say more about this impossible-possible business later in my blog - not just now) ...KA-I notices Nehemiah's sadness and gives him permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and its fortifications (of course Nehemiah had to specify a date when he would return from vacation). He is even given letters from KA-I to ensure safe passage via hostile territory and to obtain timber from KA-I ’s forest for the gates and walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah Chapters 2 and 3 speak in detail how God enabled Nehemiah to singlehandedly and strategically plan and rebuild the blessed city. The walls and gates were complete in 52 days !! (Nehemiah 6:15)..What's more - the enemies saw the hand of God and knew that it was not the work of man.
"Nehemiah 6:16 And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem; for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God".
What a victory! Let us re-cap:
- Pagan KA-I convinced to send Nehemiah on a mission that he does not believe in in the first place.
- Nehemiah,with no prior experience in the reconstruction industry restores and resurrects a whole city and puts the zeal for God's house back into a frightened multitude.
- Enemies awestruck and terrified.
- Nehemiah wraps up MJ [Mission Jerusalem] by documenting a whole genealogy which is stowed away for generations to come.
I guess now I am left with questions like "What if there wasn't a certain Nehemiah whose heart was alive for the Lord and what if this Nehemiah did not go on his knees for the City of God?" and "Does God want me to respond to a certain need for restoration somewhere - if yes, am I on my knees and listening for directions?"
End of today's blog - :) ..Oh wait! Not just yet ...remember my reminder note to talk about the possible -impossible thing. Oh well! Here it is - Just yesterday a very dear Dominican priest friend shared a saying by St. Clare (my darling daughter's patron saint). So St. Clare said “For a heart that loves God everything is possible; but for a heart that does not love God everything is impossible”. Sounds like Nehemiah for sure but does it sound like me? Let me go home and find out.