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
And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.”
So I became dreadfully afraid, and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?” Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”
So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.” Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me. Nehemiah 2:1-8
From the time Nehemiah heard the news of his people being in distress to the point of coming before the King about their needs was about four months. Nehemiah did not jump into action presuming he knew what to do. Instead, he spent his time seeking the Lord on behalf of the Israelites and asking the Lord for His help!
Many times we equate leadership with taking decisive actions. However, taking action should to be the by-product of seeking the Lord and His leading. Waiting on God is not a sign of weakness but wisdom!
There are no short cuts in spiritual life. The shortest route to the desired destination is to wait on the Lord and receive His instructions. Apart from it, people may take certain actions, but those actions will not have the fruitfulness or the longevity that God desires.
What do you do in times of distress and need? Do you look the other way and pray that God would send an answer through someone else? Are you a person who jumps into action because you perceive any action is better than inaction? Or do you fast and pray before you respond to the need?
Nehemiah teaches us that sometimes we will be called out of our comfort zone to do something for others. He didn’t just tell Hanani that he was sorry about the people’s plight and that he would pray for them. He took the problem personally and sought God for a solution. Furthermore, Nehemiah did not conjure up a solution to show his leadership or to make himself feel better. He knew that this problem required God’s intervention and strategy, and it was too big for any one person to accomplish it on his own.
The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1
When Nehemiah sought the Lord, God gave him a divine strategy. When King Artaxerxes asked Nehemiah why he looked somber, Nehemiah told him about the condition of his people. God had prepared the heart of this unbelieving King, and he was willing to do whatever Nehemiah asked him.
When the King asked Nehemiah what he needed, he had an answer and presented his requests to the King. God had already given the blueprint to Nehemiah on how to start this process and begin working towards a solution for the people in the homeland. Nehemiah asked for the time off to go to Judah, letters of recommendation, and materials to rebuild the walls. The King granted all his requested and sent him with his endorsement.
Life is is so much easier when we seek the Lord and let Him open the right doors at the right time for us. Are there issues in your life that require the Lord’s intervention and divine strategy!? Why not start with prayer, fasting, and seeking the Lord!? Pray for God’s forgiveness for anything that you are aware of whether it was committed by you or by others? Allow God to show you your part in the healing and restoration. Give Him time to do what He can only do and then move into action when you get the marching orders!