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Nehemiah – A Wine Taster Who Embraced the Heart of God!

Today let’s take a wee look at one of God’s apparently insignificant people – Nehemiah. He was a cup-bearer to a godless King.

A vision born…

We read in Nehemiah chapter 1, that Nehemiah was in exile in Babylon, along with many others, because of the nation’s long-term rebellion against God. He tells us that, “Hasani, one of my brothers, came from Judah… and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. 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.”” (Nehemiah 1:2-3. NIV)

His response, both short and long-term, is worth considering. His immediate response was, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”

Two other, easily overlooked, facts are found in Neh 1:1 and 2:1. – the months Kislev and Nisan.  In our calendar, this corresponds to Mar/Apr and the latter to Nov/Dec – a period of between 8-10 months, at the end of which he was in the King’s presence, who observed and asked him, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”” (2:2-3.NIV). He was carrying an intercessory burden!

He then took the bold step of asking the King if he could return to Jerusalem to repair the walls. He had it all figured. During those months he had received God’s strategy for building the wall and all that would be required: escort, letters, provisions. This was well beyond his remit as a cup-bearer!

What we are observing here is the process of intercession, which started even before his friend arrived from Jerusalem. He had a genuine concern for the welfare of Jerusalem and its people left behind there. As he embraced their response he was clearly embracing the heart and the mind of God. God saw a willing vessel and a vision was born, out of which a strategy grew. Little wonder we read in Neh 2:8 that, “the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests.”

He was a humblecupbearer to the King! “Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

A present-day application – the willingness to allow God to share with us His heart! To know and embrace His heart for your city, country or whatever, as He sees it!

“Lord, You have my heart, and I will search for Yours. Jesus, take my life and lead me on…” Amen.

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