Last week, we found Nehemiah weeping, mourning and fasting over the devastation of the wall in Jerusalem. Four months later, he continues praying about the matter and senses that God is leading him to do something about the crumbling wall.
There’s a gigantic problem with this calling. Nehemiah is cup-bearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia, a high and prestigious position. Only the king could grant such a request and the king’s already listened to complainers back in Jerusalem and commanded that all rebuilding stop. Double whammy!
Nehemiah faithfully performs his duties to the king, perhaps even serves as an adviser in certain situations. He dare not point blank ask the king for permission to leave for an extended time to build a wall that the king himself has already put to an end.
It’s hard for Nehemiah to be cheerful everyday when his heart is aching. One day as he serves the king, Artaxerxes asks him,
“Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”
Fear strikes Nehemiah, nevertheless he draws in a deep breath and takes the plunge.
“May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad when the city where my forefathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
There, he said it. He holds his breath wondering how the king will respond. What comes next is more than he could have hoped for. The king asks,
“What is it you want?”
Hardly able to believe how this opportunity has been dropped in his lap, he shoots up one of those quick prayers. You know the ones, “Help me, Lord.” His face is flushed, his breath shallow, but he pushes forward.
“If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city of Judah where my fathers are buried so I can rebuild it.”
“How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” Nehemiah 2:1-6
“Whew!” I wrote in my Bible margin. Have you ever had an opportunity open up suddenly, one you’ve been mulling over for some time? You may have asked, “Is this really happening?”
Keep in mind that Nehemiah has been praying about this for four months. God provided the opportunity and Nehemiah took the plunge!
Oh the things He has for us when we go to Him in earnest prayer.
Can you share one of your aha moments?
~ Joyce ~