Saturday, May 24, 2014

Nehemiah 1-4

Today we meet Nehemiah, the Persian king's cupbearer, who feels called to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1-4).  He's a Jewish exile who returns to the Promise Land, rallies God's people, and is able to repair the broken wall in no time, despite frustration and opposition.  Like Ezra, Nehemiah is so devoted to God that he has no idea how amazingly successful he is.  

I love this story for many reasons, on so many levels.  Nehemiah is faithful and really good at praying about everything.  So it's no surprise that he is able to do big things for God.  And another thing that stands out to me about this story is the way Nehemiah is "called" to God's work.  He doesn't see an angel of the Lord like Abraham or a burning bush like Moses.  I am drawn to Nehemiah's story because God calls him in the same way he most often calls each of us today.  God pulls on Nehemiah's heartstrings. 

What does God's pull on our heartstrings look like and feel like?  

Nehemiah's call to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem begins as he is talking to one of his brothers and his friends about what they saw on their trip back to their homeland.  His conversation really tugs on his heart, and he just can't shake it.

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

Nehemiah's call starts as a simple conversation.  And that simple conversation is one Nehemiah can't get out of his head.  He is extremely sensitive all of a sudden and so very aware of a real need in his hometown.  Without thought, Nehemiah is emotionally attached to a really big problem.  And so, Nehemiah prays about it again and again for some time. 

That's how God's call starts for Nehemiah. 

So, I want to think about God's call in our lives.  Is God calling you to something?  How do you experience God's call?  Is it anything like Nehemiah?

As Mark Batterson, author of The Circle Maker, points out, "God doesn't call the qualified.  He qualifies the called."  When we say "yes" to God's call in our lives, we can be sure that He will supply us with all the blessings we need for the job.

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank You for all the ways You call me to Your purpose for our lives.  Forgive me for often struggling to hear Your voice in my conversations.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to move in me and pull on my heartstrings.  Please, Lord, be obvious about directing my steps.

I pray for my neighbors, my community, my nation, and for brothers and sisters all over the world, Lord.  I pray that You will move us to action for You, especially our leaders.  Give us the eyes to see the needs of Your people and the heart to reach out in Your love.  Show us how we can be a part of Your great plan wherever You call us.  

In Jesus' name I pray,

Grace and peace of Christ,
*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more.

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