Sunday, February 5, 2017

Nehemiah 2

Today's reading in our daily plan is Nehemiah 2. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Nehemiah finds himself in front of the king at a party.
  • Nehemiah must've been carrying his heart on his sleeve because the king notices that he is sad.  The king inquires to the reason of his sadness and Nehemiah tells him the news of Jerusalem.
  • The news speaks to the king's heart and he asks Nehemiah if there is anything that can be done about it.  Nehemiah says a quick prayer and begins laying out his plan for rebuilding Jerusalem's walls.
  • The king seems favorable to Nehemiah's plans which emboldens Nehemiah.  Nehemiah then begins to make requests of the king to help with the plans.  He asks the kings to write letters which will gain Nehemiah all the support and resources he needs to execute his plan.  He then sets out on his adventure.
  • Nehemiah delivers the kings letter to the surrounding governors.  Two of these governors, Sanballat and Tobiah, are not as excited as Nehemiah is to the rebuilding of Jerusalem as a prominent city.  They are not fully certain they want Jerusalem to rise to prominence again.
  • Nehemiah finally reaches Jerusalem and, under the cover of darkness, begins to asses its state.  Once he has taken notice of every nook and cranny of the wall's appearance, he gathers the people of the city together to let them in on his secret plan to rebuild the wall.
  • Geshem, another leader in the area, joins Sanballat and Tobiah as enemies of this plan.
    SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
    • Though God put Nehemiah in a high position with the king, this did not immediately earn Nehemiah favor.  In many ancient kingdoms, it was forbidden to be sad in front of the king.  Yet, Nehemiah can not help but be heartbroken over the state of the city which represented his God.
    • Nehemiah answers the king honestly and shares about his troubles.
    • It is important to remember that Nehemiah had been praying for four months before this.  He did not make these requests of the king in haste. 
    • Nehemiah was bold with the plan God had laid on his heart, even when that boldness could've gotten him in trouble...or worse!
    • Nehemiah leveraged his relationship with the king for the resources he'd need to do what God wanted him to do.
    • Even when faced with opposition and hardship, Nehemiah knew what needed to be done and did not let the naysayers stop him.
    NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
    • How often do we react to situations instead of taking time to seek God and see what He wants first?  How easy could it have been for Nehemiah to rush through with his plans before making sure that God was on his side?  Do you take the time to seek God first with your plans?
    • Nehemiah did not try and hid his troubles.  How many times when asked "How are you" do you respond "Fine."?  God wants us to have friends we can share life with, the good and the bad.  That's why we have Verve Groups.  This weekend, you can sign up for a Verve Group at the Velcro Bar, or get more information at the groups table in the lobby.
    • Don't be afraid to leverage the position God has you in for His glory!  God uses resources from all sorts of different people to accomplish his will.  Why try and limit what God can do?