Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Things I learned from Nehemiah - Tia

The church I visited last Sunday referenced several scriptures from Nehemiah. Now, Nehemiah is one of those books that I sometimes forget exists. Someone is always referencing Job. And it seems like every third child at church is named Jeremiah. Ezekiel had that cool wheel thing. Better than Ezra was a band. And if you’ve ever even driven by a church then you’ve heard the name Isaiah. But Nehemiah is not a name I recall hearing as much.  And that really is a pity because Nehemiah was on POINT.

While I was reading through the first few chapters of Nehemiah this morning, I realized that there is a lot that I can learn from him. So here are a few things I picked up this morning.

Nehemiah actually cared about people
Nehemiah 1:4 (after asking about the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem and hearing that neither they nor the city were not doing well) When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted and prayed to the God of Heaven.
How many of us claim to be followers of Christ but couldn’t care less about the plight of those around us? (Excuse me while I stop typing long enough to raise my hand.) We become so wrapped up  in self, status and everything else that the other people in our world become nothing more than decorations and fixtures in our world of one. But Nehemiah was moved to tears by the situation that the Jews and Jerusalem were in.

Chapter 2 even goes on to say that he was still mourning several months later. I’m sure each and every one of us was hurt and saddened for the people of the Gulf after Hurricane Katrina, the entire island of Haiti after that horrendous earthquake and the people who lost loved ones on 9/11. But as horrible as those events were, can you honestly say that you’ve given them anything more than a passing thought, if that, since they’ve happened? Has your soul been moved to tears and your mind  moved to prayer? (You can’t see me but I’m shaking my head “no.”)

Nehemiah was a man of action IN SPITE of his fear
Nehemiah 2:2 – So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.” Then I was terrified.

Even though he was the cup-bearer and thus had the king’s ear, Nehemiah was still fearful of making a request of him.  Frankly, Nehemiah could have easily looked the other way and let the matter pass him by. And who could blame him really? Aside from the occasional danger of tasting the king’s wine to see if it was poisoned, Nehemiah had a pretty cushy gig. If the king’s heart was not inclined to toward him, Nehemiah’s job and possibly life could have been over.  But he moved beyond his fear, prayed and made his request. And the minute the king granted his request Nehemiah was out the door. He didn’t delegate. He didn’t wait. He went to it.

It’s not enough to be moved by something. You actually have to MOVE.  And there are times when you will have to move through your fear. You will have to move out of your comfortable existence. You may even have to (gasp) step out in faith.
 I truly believe that there are times that God simply wants us to ask. And I think there are times when he just wants us to move. But whether it’s ask and be still or move in faith, his provisions will follow.

Nehemiah 2:8 – And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me.
Nehemiah not only received permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild but he had hand written letters from the king to the rulers of the other provinces to allow him safe passage and supplies. (Nehemiah 2:7, 8) So basically he could go where he wanted and take what he needed. And if anyone objected they could deal with the army that was with him. (Nehemiah 2:9)

Nehemiah let the haters hate
Nehemiah 2:19-20 – But when Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem the Arab heard of our plan, they scoffed contemptuously. “What are you doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” they asked. I replied, “The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall.”

If you are doing anything worthwhile, HATERS ARE GONNA HATE!! That’s all they know how to do. Even as the haters continued to oppose the rebuilding, Nehemiah kept in moving. And when the haters stepped outside their minds and attempted to attack the builders, Nehemiah prayed and then Lord had something for them. The workers continued building with one hand and held their weapons in the other. That is all kinds of gully.

Just because you’ve set about to do something doesn’t mean that it’s going to come easy. God may have very well told you to get up and go, but that doesn’t mean the journey will be a piece of cake. There will always be haters. There will always be someone who will look at you and ask, “Whatcha doin’ that for?” As Kanye put it (and I’ve cleaned this up a bit): “There will always be haters. That’s the way it is. Hater dudes marry hater women and have hater kids.” But letting the difficulty of the task or the opposition of others deter you from crossing that finish line and completing your task is not an option. You may have to work to complete your goal and fight to protect it at the same time.  But as you pray, as your fight and as you move, God will continue to bless you and provide what you need in that time and season.

I’m not really sure how to end this as I’m only 4 chapters into the book. But I do know I will be taking a closer look at my life. I will no longer just be about Tia. God’s created a great big world for me to go into. And I just need to move beyond self and fear and be about it. 

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