before we get into my take on these chapters I would like to take a moment to point out what Mr. Swindoll had to say. He points out this is a section that should be required reading for all leaders.
- Nehemiah had a passion for the project
- He had an unswerving confidence in God.
- He had the ability to motivate others
- He was resilient and patient through opposition
- He had a practical, balanced grip on reality
- He had a willingness tow work hard and remain unselfish
- He had the discipline to finish the job.
When I read through this section of the bible I was struck by Nehemiah's humbleness before God evidenced in his prayer.
5 And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. 8 Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9 but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ 10 They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
Nehemiah hears of the sad state of the temple in Jerusalem and his first thought is to confess the sins of the people to God. He praises God for being who he is and then says Oh God...Forgive us your wayward people. I read these words and I stand convicted. how Often I KNOW that I am in the wrong and I don't want to admit it. And yet this passage calls me to so much more. It calls me all the more to trust in God. To acknowledge him in all my ways.
Having talked with God about the matter he went before the king and asked permission to rebuild the temple. That permission was given. Throughout the whole process though, Nehemiah talked with God. He prayerfully gathered up the workers needed, he dealt with the opposition, and he set to work. They were threatened while doing so, so they prayed to God, set a guard and got the job done. Throughout it all Nehemiah took the time to correct bad things the people were doing. And so Nehemiah did everything in 52 days, talking with God the whole time.
Makes me think of how little I give of my day to God, how little I fail to talk to him about everything, and how often my prayers seem so dutiful. May my prayers and conversations with God be heartfelt and humble, and a good way to show how much he does indeed mean to me.
How much does God mean to you? Do you know him personally? Does God really matter to you in your daily life? Email if you have questions, please. :) I'd love to help you know him better.