Focal Passages: Nehemiah 2:1-8, 17-18
I have recently been reading a book entitled Margins. It is written by a Christian medical doctor calling on people to recognize that we live our lives in such a wide-open manner that we don’t even have room for all we are trying to do, much less unexpected things that arise. Even more troubling, in the midst of our compulsively busy lives, we often fail even to recognize opportunities God brings along our path where He desires for us to serve Him in some way that will bring Him glory.
This does not mean that we should shuffle the busyness of our lives to substitute some of our busyness with “doing work for God.” Rather, the need of our lives is to learn to walk in daily fellowship with God, being led by His Spirit rather than the spirit of the “urgent,” so we can hear God when He speaks, follow as He leads and serve in the strength and wisdom which He provides whenever He calls.
We see the above pattern in Nehemiah. Nehemiah was not looking for something to do for God. He was seeking to walk faithfully with the God he knew to be a faithful, covenant-keeping God (1:5) – while in Babylonian exile. We see that the pattern of Nehemiah’s life was communion with God through prayer (1:4,6,11; 2:4; 4:4,9). He sought God’s face and followed when and where God led. Nehemiah knew from his time with God the desire to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem (2:12). His intent at that point was to survey the situation (2:12-15), trusting God for the wisdom and strength to accomplish what God had led Him to do. Nehemiah knew God always provides when He is leading and His people are surrendered to His will.
God’s call to His people is always first to Himself, not to a task. God called us to repentance and faith in order to reconcile us to Himself. When we walk with Him in daily fellowship and prayer, led and empowered by His Spirit, He will lead us to serve Him in ways that glorify Him. The question is, “Are we so busy with our plans and agendas – or perhaps even our work for Him – that we fail to hear from Him?”