“And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests.” — Nehemiah 2:8
When God places a burden on our hearts and gives us a vision of helping in some way, He does not leave us wondering how to go about it. He confirms our direction.
God had so ordered and engineered the way for Nehemiah to leave the service of the king in Susa that the king dismissed the fact that Nehemiah had not hidden his melancholy from him. Normally, that would have been enough to alleviate him of service, if not his life. Instead, God moved the king’s heart to ask Nehemiah, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of the heart” (Nehemiah 2:2). Nehemiah answered by conveying the trouble his country and people were in. Not only did the king grant permission for Nehemiah to leave for Jerusalem and give him the materials needed to rebuild the city walls, but he also provided Nehemiah with safe passage.
When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, he went to a number of places to make sure all he heard was true. Equipped with full knowledge of the state of the walls, the city gates and what was required, he gathered together the priests, nobles and officials of Jerusalem and told them his vision. “Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” He then added, “I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.” The people replied, “Let us start rebuilding” (Nehemiah 2:17-18). God confirms the direction.
Not only did Nehemiah explain his vision, but he backed it up with his own testimony of what God had shown him and how the king cooperated. That resonated deeply with the people, and Nehemiah’s concern became theirs as well. When God is at work in our hearts, He is also at work in other people’s hearts with the same purpose. The singular Nehemiah had now become plural, and from here on in it is “us”, “we”, “they”.
God is willing to speak and confirm direction, but if we are going to be workers together with Him, we need to hear His voice, which makes essential our quiet times alone with God. The big temptation, however, is to rush things and run on our own timetable. God is never in a hurry. When we wait upon Him, He puts the right people in the right place at the right time for His purpose. It is His plan, His timetable, and in all God calls us to, He is the Author and Perfecter.
PRAYER: Lord God, grant me a discerning heart that hears Your voice, and give me direction so that I may be a fruitful servant. Thank You, Lord.