the waiting in the work
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Nehemiah 1:11-2:8, Matthew 7:9-11, Ephesians 3:20-21
Text: Nehemiah 1:11-2:8, Matthew 7:9-11, Ephesians 3:20-21
“All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.”
– Oswald Chambers
Just one chapter in, we can already see that Nehemiah is a man of prayer and compassion, a man whose heart follows after God. Today we will see Nehemiah’s courage and, most importantly, his radical trust in the Lord.
Nehemiah’s reliance on God is first displayed in this chapter by his willingness to wait. Nearly four months pass after he learns of Jerusalem’s devastation before he encounters the king in Chapter 2. As cupbearer, it was imperative that Nehemiah not show his feelings, that he put on a good face before the king. But the king sees the sorrow in Nehemiah’s eyes and asks, “Why are you sad?”
This is the moment Nehemiah has waited and prayed for, and this is where we see radical trust in his willingness to act. He knew he was entering unchartered waters, a mere courtier being boldly honest with the king. Scripture tells us he was terrified, but he dives in anyway because he knows he is not alone. When the king further prompts Nehemiah to state his specific request, Nehemiah pauses, prays and makes the ask. And it is a big, big ask.
In an unprecedented manner, the king grants Nehemiah’s requests. Why? Because the good hand of Nehemiah’s God – our God – was upon him.Because Nehemiah was asking to do a good work that God had prepared in advance for him to do (Eph. 2:10). Because it pleased God to give Nehemiah more than he could ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).
Sisters, there is so much work to do. We see need, pain and injustice all around us and our knees quickly buckle under the weight. We long to make our lists and check them twice and fix it all right this second. But we dare not make a move without God. As Ian Hamilton said it, “Beloved, our great and pressing need today is to give ourselves to waiting upon God, because waiting time is never wasted time.”
Nehemiah was an ordinary servant who would do extraordinary things, but he did them by moving with God. Not running ahead but walking beside.
God can use us today. He can use even us. He can do it because it is not about our resources, our resumé or our strength, but it is all about His power, His goodness, His grace.
It is all about Him.