Saturday, March 3, 2018
Read Nehemiah 1:1-11 (CEV)
I am Nehemiah son of Hacaliah, and in this book I tell what I have done.
During the month of Chislev in the twentieth year that Artaxerxes ruled Persia, I was in his fortress city of Susa, 2when my brother Hanani came with some men from Judah. So I asked them about the Jews who had escaped from being captives in Babylonia. I also asked them about the city of Jerusalem.
3 They told me, “Those captives who have come back are having all kinds of troubles. They are terribly disgraced, Jerusalem’s walls are broken down, and its gates have been burned.”
4 When I heard this, I sat down on the ground and cried. Then for several days, I mourned; I went without eating to show my sorrow, and I prayed:
5 LORD God of heaven, you are great and fearsome. And you faithfully keep your promises to everyone who loves you and obeys your commands. 6 I am your servant, so please have mercy on me and answer the prayer that I make day and night for these people of Israel who serve you. I, my family, and the rest of your people have sinned 7by choosing to disobey you and the laws and teachings you gave to your servant Moses.
8 Please remember the promise you made to Moses. You told him that if we were unfaithful, you would scatter us among foreign nations. 9 But you also said that no matter how far away we were, we could turn to you and start obeying your laws. Then you would bring us back to the place where you have chosen to be worshiped.
10 Our LORD, I am praying for your servants—those you rescued by your great strength and mighty power. 11 Please answer my prayer and the prayer of your other servants who gladly honor your name. When I serve the king his wine today, make him pleased with me and let him do what I ask.
BEGIN with BROKENNESS
Brokenness is often what God uses to reveal his purpose and vision for us. Nehemiah is an example of a broken leader, broken over a broken city and its people. Enemies destroyed the wall around Jerusalem, leaving the city in a vulnerable position. The people were broken and disgraced. Nehemiah sought God’s heart and followed His leadership. He was open to God working in him and through him.
A church’s [families] vitality depends on God working and servant leaders that are available and responsive to him. Nehemiah painted a clear picture of vital servant leadership. (1) Nehemiah was inquisitive and interested. He asked questions. What questions do you need to ask at home and at church? (2) Nehemiah accepted reality. He heard the news that the wall was broken down and the people were in trouble. What is our reality? Is there a need for fresh vitality and commitment? (3) Nehemiah acted. He cried, prayed, fasted and surrendered. What action do you and I need to take today for greater vitality in our family?
The beginning is to be broken over the current reality of the brokenness within and around us. Then we must seek God in prayer, fasting and surrender.
Father, give me the wisdom to understand our reality, to be compassionate, to prayerfully seek you and surrender to the leading of your Spirit. AMEN.