Hi. Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host of the daily challenges. Today is Tuesday, the day we study the Bible together. This week we’re going to study the story of Nehemiah, who undertook a huge project, that was part of God’s bigger plan to restore his relationship with humanity. The people of Israel had been exiled in Babylon, with their temple destroyed, and their land and lives under someone else’s control. But the time had come for them to return, and the King of Persia had given them a small amount of self-governance, and had allowed them to rebuild their temple, but their magnificent capital city was still mostly in ruins. Here’s a small excerpt from when Nehemiah first approached the King of Persia about rebuilding the city of Jerusalem.
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” 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, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me. (Nehemiah 2:1-8 ESV)
The rest of the book is a detailed and fascinating account of Nehemiah’s project management skills, the opposition that he and the project faced, and how it was overcome. Read the whole book if you have the time!
Nehemiah was a cupbearer, which is how he had access to the king, and how the king noticed he was concerned about something. This opened a huge opportunity for Nehemiah to share his concerns, and ask permission to lead a rebuilding effort. You can already see he’s the right man for the job – he’s thought about the political opposition already, and asks for letters to prove he has the king’s blessing. He asks for timber, as well. He was the right guy, but he constantly acknowledged only God had made him that way, and put him in this place and time. Like Esther last week, he was here for such a time as this!
Question: Read through the passage, and note or highlight every time you hear Nehemiah giving credit to God instead of himself.