From confusion to clarity
And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” Nehemiah 1:3 (NKJV)
The Book of Nehemiah is a powerful picture of God repairing what is broken and damaged. It tells us how Jerusalem had fallen into ruin and had become a sad portrait of what happens when God is forsaken. When word reached Nehemiah that Jerusalem was overgrown and crumbling, he was distraught. Although he was physically separated from the city, his heart was very much connected to Jerusalem’s condition:
So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. (Nehemiah 1:4 NKJV)
Notice that Nehemiah takes what he hears and spends many days mourning, fasting, and praying before God. He doesn’t run out and start up a petition or drum up support among other people. He gets alone with the Lord, and it’s in this time that the bad news becomes something so much more. It becomes a God-given burden that comes to define Nehemiah’s life and legacy as he leads the charge to rebuild and restore Jerusalem.
Times spent in solitude before the Lord’s throne are times when we’re able to define and clarify the burdens that He has for us. So often we question our purpose and direction in life. What am I supposed to be doing with my life? Does God have a will for me, and if so what is it? Those questions were answered for Nehemiah when he was alone with the Lord.
If there’s confusion in our own hearts about what our true mission and calling is, we can find clarity by doing what Nehemiah did. Get one-on-one with God. It’s there that life-defining burdens are brought into focus for us.
Think About It…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)
Consistency breeds security. If you're an employer, you take comfort in knowing that you have consistent employees working for you. If your car needs to be fixed, you're going to take it to a mechanic who has consistently performed well. And if you're a coach, you'll probably draw up a play at the end of a tight game that puts the ball in the hands of your best and most consistent player.