In a single moment, it seems that everything changed for Nehemiah. But it really wasn't a moment at all, was it? It seems three or four months passed between Nehemiah 1 and Nehemiah 2, and Nehemiah was busy praying and fasting. Take a look at the results of four months of prayer. Take a moment and read Nehemiah 2:1-8.
It says wine was brought before the king and Nehemiah was the cupbearer. He had been praying. He had been fasting. God had given Nehemiah the plan. But how in the world would that plan happen? Nehemiah was just an ordinary guy. Then wine was brought before the king.
As Nehemiah was serving the king, the king noticed Nehemiah's face. He asked about what might be wrong with Nehemiah. Nehemiah was afraid but shared his burden with the king anyway. (This is the same king who already stopped the rebuilding of the city. See Ezra 4:17-24.) This burden seemed to capture that king's interest so he ask about what Nehemiah was asking. Notice Nehemiah wasn't really asking anything. He was sharing the reality of what God showed him. It was as if Artaxerxes felt the issue and then was saying, "what's it going to take for this problem to be fixed? What's your vision Nehemiah?"
Nehemiah said a quick prayer and laid out the plan. Likely it was the same plan that he and God worked out in all that time praying. In fact, it was not Nehemiah's plan, but God's. When the king was okay sending Nehemiah to rebuild the walls, Nehemiah further asked the king to grant him safe travel (which we see later that Nehemiah traveled with an army) and Nehemiah asked the king to fund the operation. How could such a thing even happen? How was an ordinary guy going to get such extraordinary resources for this task? But he did because Nehemiah serves an extraordinary God.
The end of verse 8 says, "the good hand of my God was upon me." In other words, God's favor was upon Nehemiah. And with God's favor, Nehemiah ended up getting the king's favor too.
So it seems that with God's plan and God's favor, Nehemiah was sent on God's mission to see the city restored. We believe God is giving us a plan for our area of our city. We believe we are gaining favor with the people because we already have God's favor upon us. And we believe God is putting Redeeming Life Church in his mission for our city.
We'll be talking more about Nehemiah 2:1-8 as well as our mission for our city tomorrow, Sunday, at 11am. We'd love to have you join us at the Northwest Community Center (1300 W. 300 N.).
Soli Deo gloria!