I have learned many things along this rocky road called life! The most important thing I've learned is that I needed a Savior long ago! I felt so lost before the Lord found me and I opened up my heart to Him. Many things were coming at me, not the least of which was a voice telling me that my life wasn't worth going on for! When the Lord found me, He saved me from this lying voice! I invited Him into my home and my heart! From then on it's been Him and I in all things. My hope for you is that if you are on that same rocky road that I was on, empty, wondering if it's worth it to go on, you too will invite the Lord to save you. He will show you that your life is worth living for Him!
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Nehemiah Chapter 1 A Man of Prayer !
Nehemiah, Cupbearer to the King! This man must have been brave! He understood what danger was and how it affected people! He was the one who had to take a taste test of the kings drink before the king would drink from his cup! He made sure it was not poisoned! That is very scary to me!
One day Nehemiah had some visitors!
2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” New LivingTranslation
Wow, that was disturbing for Nehemiah to hear. Judah was lying in ruins. Those who had been taken captive and allowed to return home were in pretty bad shape. There had been no progress in the rebuilding of the city. Their stronghold, their fort, their beloved city was unprotected from their enemies and from all sorts of other dangers. They were living in shambles. I would imagine it was probably a pretty bad economy too! Much like ours today.
What if the fencing around our homes was blown over by the Santa Ana Winds, or knocked down by thieves? How would we feel if our front door, back door and garage door were all burned out by fire. Would we feel safe? How open to danger would we be? We would not be able to lock our doors for safe keeping and deep sleeping at night. Worst of all we would be open to every animal, insect, and creepy crawling thing that is around! Hahah! We would not feel like our families were safe from harm. I know I would be really down and discouraged.
Here is how it affected Nehemiah and what he did about it!
4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven!
What a view into Nehemiahs heart. How about us, are there people we know whose lives are broken down, lying in ruins? Their hearts are unprotected and they're wide open for sin to come in and snatch them away! We can pray for them with a heart like Nehemiahs!
Here is his prayer to follow:
5 Then I said,
“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! 7 We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses. 8 “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. 9 But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’10 “The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. 11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me.* Put it into his heart to be kind to me.” In those days I was the king’s cup-bearer.
Nehemiah first and foremost acknowledges who God is in his prayer! You are the God of Heaven, you are great and awesome. What a rich and full statement. Nehemiah reminds himself of where God is and honors God from his heart! Let's see what thoughts the words awesome and great bring with them.
3372 יָרֵא, יָרֵא [yare’ /yaw·ray/] v. 1 to be feared, revered, be afraid. 1a (Qal). 1a1 to fear, be afraid. 1a2 to stand in awe of, be awed. 1a3 to fear, reverence, honour, respect. 1b (Niphal). 1b1 to be fearful, be dreadful, be feared. 1b2 to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe. 1b3 to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe. (Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible)
1419 גָּבֹול, גָּדֹול, הַגְּדֹולִים [gadowl, or (shortened), gadol /gaw·dole/] adj 1 great. 1a large (in magnitude and extent). 1b in number. 1c in intensity. 1d loud (in sound). 1e older (in age). 1f in importance. 1f1 important things. 1f2 great, distinguished (of men). 1f3 God Himself (of God) subst. 1g great things.
Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
Nehemiah teaches us who God is and how He is to be repsonded to: with honor, reverance and respect mingled with fear. When we think of God we can see Him as one who is full of magnitude, depth, importantance, distinguished from all other gods, intense, and all powerful.
Next Nehemiah while reminding himself, tells us what this great and awesome God does for us:
You are the God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands.
Nehemiah certainly wasn't reminding God of who He is, he was reminding himself of who God is! Meditating on who God builds up our faith, then when we are praying we can come boldly before His throne with love, respect, awe, and faith all mingled with fear!!!
One way to know who God is would be to do a study of His Names. Each name tells us a whole bunch about His character, His nature in action towards us, it builds up our faith.
Here is what the word name itself means: 8034 שֵׁם [shem /shame/] n m. A primitive word [perhaps rather from 7760 through the idea of definite and conspicuous position; TWOT 2405; GK 9005; 864 occurrences; AV translates as “name” 832 times, “renown” seven times, “fame” four times, “famous. 1a name. 1b reputation, fame, glory. 1c the Name (as designation of God). 1d memorial, monument. Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
The names of God bring to us knowledge and understanding of His renown Glory. They serve as a memorial to us of what He has done in the past and wants to do now for us, as well as what He wants from each one of us. They can be a memorial to His greatness in our hearts for our own good, for His glory and it will give us wisdom on how to share with others about His love for them.
An example of this is His name Jehovah Nissi. This means the God whose banner over us is love. We in America have a flag. It is red, white and blue, with stars and stripes. When we see it we understand the fullness of it's meaning, how it came to be and what it stands for. Freedom from tierney, freedom to live our lives! And the price paid for us to have this freedom...the sacrificail death of many!
When we think of God, we are to use that understanding of what a banner means and apply it to the great love He has for us. So much so that He sent His son to bring us freedom, freedom from sin. That is only one name of His out of many!!
Nehemiah acknowledges and confesses his own sin, the sin of his country and then petitions God for his desires. He needed grace and success in his petiton of the king for favor for his homeland. Not only did Nehemiah face death each time he drank from the kings cup to check for poison, but he faced death for just being down in the kings presence, and on top of that he wanted to ask to help his countrymen rebuild the walls of protection and to bring his people back to serving their God!
Like I said, he must have been a brave, god fearing man to stand up under all he had going on. With Gods help he moved forward! With Gods help we too can stand up under all we have going on and move forward!
May we like Nehemiah Remember, give Reverence and seek the Redemption of those in need around us!!!!