Nehemiah 1-2, What To Do When God Moves Your Heart
1. Gather Information (Nehemiah 1:1-3)
2. Pray For Many Days (Nehemiah 1:4-11)
3. Wait For God’s Timing (Nehemiah 2:1-4)
4. Plan To Volunteer (Nehemiah 2:5-8)
Nehemiah 1-2, What To Do When God Moves Your Heart
Nehemiah 1-2, What To Do When God Moves Your Heart
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Today we get to look at the example of Nehemiah, and he's one of those great examples in the Bible.
The Book of Nehemiah is really a classic book that is used many times to consider and reflect on leadership qualities and what it takes to really serve the Lord and.
There's so many profound and and really incredible teachings and truths that are found in talking about the service unto the Lord and the things that we are able to do for God.
By looking at this book and the example here contained.
In Nehemiah and so as we begin this, we're working our way through the book of Nehemiah here.
As we read through the Bible in three years, I want to kind of back up, and our reading back to chapters one and two this morning, and I've titled the message what to do when God moves your heart.
There's so much to be gained and and considered.
In the example of Nehemiah, as he carries out the plan of God and really executes what it is that God had called him to, and the helping to rebuild of Jerusalem.
But like I want to kind of spend some time with Nehemiah a little bit before all of the action really begins.
And look at the example of when God moved on his heart and and what that looked like.
What that meant for him and and how it impacted him so that we can in a similar way experience God moving on our hearts.
God putting a direction in front of us, God making clear a calling for us and and how do we?
Respond when we sense that there's something that God putting on my heart.
There's something that God has called me to.
How do we respond and what are we to do when we experience that kind of thing?
And as believers we should be expecting that kind of thing that God is going to speak and direct and leave.
Indeed, because he wants to put us to work in his Kingdom and to accomplish his purposes.
Here in this world.
And so we know that God will move upon our hearts.
And we need to learn how to respond, how to react and what to do with that when he does now Nehemiah as he experiences this, it's important to understand the context in which he is living, and so to back up a little bit and just consider the.
Timeline the historical things that are happening here the nation of Israel, of course, was really at a great point under King David and Solomon in the time of Israel's highest glory. And the you know most land that they've attained the their police in the the world was incredible at.
At that time, and at their highest during the reigns of David and Solomon.
But then after Solomon, the nation was split in two, and it was really downhill from there for the Northern Kingdom, Israel for the southern Kingdom, Judah, they just continued to go back to the idolatry of the world around them.
Them and rebelled further and further and further away from the Lord, to the point that God used the nation of Assyria to conquer the northern Kingdom and to lead them away captive.
And so they were all taken out of the land.
Other people were brought from other regions and re populated there in the nation of Israel in the northern part of Israel.
But the Israelites themselves were carried away captive.
And then the same thing happened to the nation of Judah as they continued on a little bit longer, with some of the revivals that took place.
But still that that trend of rebellion carried on until God brought the nation of Babylon to conquer Judah and Jerusalem, and similarly take them all out of the land they were all taken captive, so that Jerusalem.
For many years was left desolate, destroyed and unpopulated.
The Lord began to stir up.
There was a man named Cyrus who was the king of Persia conquered Babylon.
And God had spoken about him.
Brought that to his attention and he said to his whole population the whole nation, the whole empire that he ruled over God called me to build him a house to rebuild the temple back in Jerusalem.
And so if you're one of God's people, if you're one of the the Jewish people, that is real.
Heights you're welcome to go back to Jerusalem and partake in the rebuilding of the temple.
And so after that 70 year captivity period, there was a rebuilding of the temple.
We saw that a little bit as we worked through Ezra and then now we are to Nehemiah, so this is a little bit after the rebuilding of the temple.
The time of Esther, which we'll get to shortly, is kind of in between the first rebuilding of the temple and then the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
And so now we're looking at this later part, and it's really the closing years of the history of the Old Testament.
All the rest of the stuff that we're going to get to in in the rest of the Old Testament, we'll be reading this year falls into this history that we're looking at here in the the time of the Kingdom, the time of captivity.
And then the time of the return to Israel and the repopulation of it.
Here's another way to look at it.
Sometimes this helps clarify some things, and so there was.
Really, time periods of returning to Israel beginning in 536 BC. When Cyrus says it's OK, you can go back.
There was about 50,000 Jews who returned from Babylon to begin rebuilding the altar and the temple that continued on to about 5:20 BC. They completed the work. I'm sorry. 516 BC.
They completed the temple and and continued or like re began.
Restarted worship at the temple at that time, but during that time Jerusalem was still mostly in ruins.
The walls were broken down, so it was just the temple itself that they rebuilt.
Then a little bit later, so 457 were.
Looking at you about 75 years later, so Ezra leads a group to Jerusalem as kind of a forerunner to Nehemiah, and then around 4:40.
Four BC is when we introduce Nehemiah to the timeline and he goes back and he is instrumental in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, protecting it, and establishing it really important and key elements.
For Jerusalem's history and even in preparation for the years to come in the coming of Christ. And so we're looking at this time period here where Nehemiah is in.
Persia he is a servant of the king, and yet he is concerned about Jerusalem many miles away, from which he's never been.
He's never seen Jerusalem.
He's never lived there he was, you know, born and raised in captivity essentially.
But but his heart is for Jerusalem, that that God has moved upon his heart and put upon his heart.
The condition of the people back there in Jerusalem, and now we're going to get to see that unfold.
As God moves this on his heart and he responds to it, I would encourage you to consider what is God moving upon your heart, and perhaps there is something there.
There's a sense of something that God wants to do, a hope or a desire that that God is planted in your heart for perhaps a work of God in your family.
Or something that would the Lord would want to accomplish within your workplace and the the impact on the witness that is happening there.
Maybe there's a new ministry opportunity that we've never thought I've never dreamed of never thought about.
And yet there's something stirring within you in your mind in your heart that that God is kind of stirring up and.
And planting some ideas and dreams upon you for.
Or the things that he wants to do in the future.
Maybe it's for your marriage that there's a stirring up and a desire for for God to rebuild your marriage and for you to have the husband and wife relationship that Ephesians Chapter 5 describes that accurately represents Christ and the church and and.
And so maybe that's the kind of thing that you know God is putting upon your heart.
Or maybe there's nothing.
Maybe you just don't really have a specific.
Thing that you feel like, yeah, God is really speaking to me about this and he's working on me in this regard.
That's OK too.
I would encourage you as we look at the.
Example of Nehemiah today.
To invite the Lord.
Then to move upon your heart.
Use it as an opportunity as you see him respond and him react and what that meant for him.
Let the Lord show you that.
He wants to speak to you and invite him to move on your heart.
The things that he wants to provide for direction for clarity to lead you in his ways and his plans for you.
And So what is it that we do when we experience that when God puts something upon our heart, what should we do?
The first thing I would recommend that we do.
Looking at the example of Nehemiah is to gather information.
God speaks to your heart.
He starts putting on something on your heart.
Maybe it's clear right away, maybe it's not clear right away.
Good thing to do.
First off is to start to gather information information to begin to investigate and understand what it is that God is talking to you about.
Check out verses one through 3 here in Nehemiah chapter one.
The words of Nehemiah, the son of Hachaliah.
It came to pass in the month of Kislev in the 20th year, as I was in Shushan the Citadel that Haninai one of my brethren came from Judah.
And I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
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.
Try to picture if you can.
Nehemiah in this context.
We know from these intro chapters to Nehemiah that he is the cupbearer to the King of Persia.
He lives and operates in the King's court. He's in the King's presence. He really gets to partake of.
Many of the benefits and luxuries of being around the king being in the palace, having access to the king.
He is a servant, but at the same time he's a servant in the palace, which is a lot different than being a servant in the dungeon like Joseph was, right?
Like there, there's a difference there.
So so here he is.
He's living a life that.
Is although in servitude there is some luxury that would definitely be afforded him, and that he would get to experience he here he is serving the king in Persia again.
He is raised there.
He grew up there.
It's all he's ever known.
And yet we find here.
Here when this party comes back from Jerusalem.
Haninai comes back and there's men that were part of the journey with him and and Nehemiah goes to interview them.
He gets his notebook out.
He's, you know, gets his pen out.
He's like, OK, I want to, I want.
To find out guys how.
Was the trip.
What's going on over there?
How are the the people doing?
The people who survived?
What's happening and, and he seeks them out now.
We don't have all of the details here, of course.
But we don't have to assume that Nehemiah was the automatic contact point for Haninai and the guys when they came back.
Like hey when you get back to Persia, make sure you go talk to Nehemiah, right?
That wasn't necessarily the case.
He wasn't Moses, he wasn't Joshua.
He wasn't the appointed leader of the people.
He was the cup bearer of the king.
He was the king servant.
The implications that we get here in these verses, I would suggest Nehemiah is the one who sought these guys out to find out he heard the delegation came back.
And so he says.
And I asked them concerning the Jews in verse 2.
Not, they came back and informed me right, but but he is proactively reaching out, connecting with them, and gathering information about the situation.
Back in Jerusalem.
Why is Jerusalem on his heart?
Well, of course there's cultural things that we could consider and that just being, you know, uh, a Jew himself.
Nehemiah could be concerned for his brethren in that way and and and that makes sense, but.
Again, in a lot of ways, Nehemiah has never been to Jerusalem, he's not.
He didn't see the original temple.
He wasn't part of that he.
Most likely wasn't taken captive out of Jerusalem.
He would have been way too old to be part of this, you know, account that's going on in the rebuilding of the walls, so he's born and raised in captivity.
He's born and raised in this place and living in this palace, serving the King, pastor Warren Rasby says.
Nehemiah enjoyed security and prestige as the King's Cup bearer, so there was no reason for him to ask about the needs of the people hundreds of miles away.
Many Bible scholars and teachers believed that the cup bearer was not just the person to test the wine before the king, so that you know it would be.
Make sure that it was safe and not poisoned, but that the cup bearer oftentimes became a.
Consultant for the King and advisor to the King, and was often in close contact and communication with the king and that maybe we don't again have proof of that.
You can understand that Nehemiah was in a police that is far removed from Jerusalem and the situation there.
There's really no reason for him to be concerned about those people unless.
God was putting this upon his heart.
God was stirring something us up, so he is.
Now responding to that and he's seeking out information he's seeking to find out what.
What is the situation there?
Why is this on my heart and and what is the needs there and what what kind of environments are they facing and what kind of attitude do they have?
Are they you know, doing well or are they really struggling with what's going on?
That this is on my heart.
And he finds out from this group that has come back from Jerusalem that things are not good.
The group says in verse 3 they're in great distress and reproach.
And the walls.
Are broken down.
The gates are burned with fire now for a.
City in those days to not have the walls around it left the city in a incredibly vulnerable state.
You really couldn't have anything valuable because there was no protection against it.
Enemies could just sweep through.
Now we know from the rest of the account of Nehemiah there were enemies.
Enemies could just sweep through and take what they wanted because there was there was no protection against the enemies around them.
Husbands would always live with concern for their families.
Because at any time readers could come through they they weren't protected.
The husband was away from the city, you know, taking care of his field.
Always had to be concerned for wife and kids back home.
They they were in a desperate situation.
It was not good.
There was the temple was rebuilt so that was good but but the city itself and the people were distressed.
They weren't at peace, they weren't secure.
And so here Nehemiah is gathering some Intel.
He's gathering information seeking to find out and figure out.
OK, what is this that God has on my heart?
Why does he have it on my heart?
How do I understand?
You know what my role is going to be in all of this.
So he begins soon quiet.
He begins to seek out.
The status of the people.
What is what is God moving on your heart?
I would encourage you to begin.
Don't start with action.
Start with gathering information.
Start with seeking to understand why is this on my heart.
What is the situation?
What what's going on with my family that God wants to put them on my family in this way that that he wants to do this work.
What's going on in the workplace that that there is this need for some new work of God?
What what is this new ministry opportunity and the.
The need that exists that.
That merits that justifies something new.
Some new endeavor going on.
What is this calling that God has given to me in my life?
What is that?
And again, if there is not a specific thing on your mind on your heart right now.
Well, there's a good opportunity then for you to pray, Lord, what do you want?
For me, from me of my life.
What what great work of yours should I be involved in right now and should I be preparing for?
Well, when you do have that answer from the Lord first.
First action to take is gather information.
The second action to take.
Point #2 looking at verses 4 through 11, pray for many days.
Action #2 pray for many days. Let's check out verses 4 through 11.
It says 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.
And I I said, I pray, Lord God of heaven.
Oh, great and awesome God, you who keep your covenant and mercy with those who love you and observe your commandments.
Please let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, that you may hear the prayer of your servant, which I pray before you, now day and night for the children.
Of Israel, your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against you.
Both my father house and I have sinned.
We have acted very corruptly against you.
And have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which you commanded your servant Moses.
Remember, I pray?
The word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying if you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations.
But if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling place for my name.
Now these are your servants and your people whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand.
O Lord, I pray, please let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant and to the prayer of your servants who desire to fear your name.
And let your servant prosper.
This day, I pray and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.
For I was the King's Cup bearer.
Nehemiah is known as a man of prayer, and this prayer here in chapter one is a great example of why he has that reputation.
He we find him praying.
Over and over and over again throughout this book.
Different occasions, different situations, his first reaction.
Is typically to pray he's a man of prayer and this prayer is a prayer that has great value and we're not going to go into the details of it, so I mention it so that you can make a note of it, and perhaps spend some time.
Considering this prayer on your own later on, but but so much reference to the things of God said that God had said, you can see that he was a man of the word he's drawing from the word and and pulling out the promises of God and what God has declared and praying in in light of those things, as he's praying for this situation.
For the people of Jerusalem.
But the point for us to consider this morning is the duration of his prayer.
As he hears the situation.
It hits him hard.
He's genuinely concerned for and connected to the people of Jerusalem.
Verse four tells us he sits down, he weeps.
He mourns and he prays.
For many days.
How many days?
How many days does it take?
To qualify as being described as many days, what kind of time frame is required for for that to be appropriate?
He prayed fasted and mourned for many days.
It's interesting to consider this because.
When you bring in the whole context of the account.
You'll find that Nehemiah prayed.
For longer than they worked on rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem.
Did you know?
That did you think about that yet?
The time that Nehemiah spent in prayer.
It was more days than were required to do the actual work of reassembling and establishing the walls around.
How do we know that?
Can we be sure of that?
Well, Nehemiah chapter one verse one tells us.
This began when he heard this report from those guys.
Who came back?
Verse one of chapter one says it was the month of Chislev or Kislev.
Nehemiah Chapter 2 as we go on into the story and he gets an opportunity to make a request before the king.
We're given the month.
The month is Nissan.
Now I don't know if you're familiar with kids live you guys celebrate the month of kids live?
Normally, probably not.
It's the Jewish calendar, right?
Jewish months, but here's how it looks like and what it relates to our months of the year.
Now the Jewish months follow the lunar calendar, not the solar calendar.
Like we do so it kind of falls in between, so you can kind of think of middle of month to middle.
Of month for us.
Corresponds to our.
November through December.
So middle of November through middle of December.
Kind of roughly around that timeframe.
Tivis falls in the time frame of middle of December to middle of January.
Shevat falls in middle of January, the middle of February.
Adar follows in February to March, right around where we are right now, right?
And then Nissan falls in March to April.
So chapter one verse one.
When did Nehemiah receive the report from the people who came back from Jerusalem?
Yes, remember, top of the list here kids left.
I'm probably pronouncing it horribly, but that's OK.
You don't know any better.
So kids left.
So that's where he is.
He's in the month of Kislev.
Now let's count together OK.
Davis Shevat, adar, Nissan.
How many months is that?
Davis Shevat Adar Nissan four months many days, fasting, praying, morning. How many days four months worth 4 * 3000 and 20 days apparently qualifies as a time frame that justifies the title many.
So let me ask you this, what, what have you been praying about for the past four months?
Are you in this place, like right on the cusp of now, God is going to do something with all the prayers that you've been praying.
Four months 120 days.
Doing nothing else, he has no opportunity to interact with the people of Jerusalem.
He's a servant of the king.
He's going about his business, doing his job, fulfilling his role as.
The King's Cup bearer.
But the whole time, for four months he is praying.
Morning it's on his mind.
It's on his heart.
It's definitely a burden that.
God has placed there.
This is important to note.
We need to if we want to be part of the work of God, we need to be willing.
In a way that, well, takes much longer, perhaps.
Then the actual work.
The time that the actual work is required to accomplish so, Nehemiah chapter six kind of help you understand it here, and you might chapter 6 jumping ahead a little bit. Verse 15. The wall was finished on the 25th day of Elul.
In 52 days.
So think about that.
52 days was the actual work. 120 days.
Was the prayer in preparation for the work and that that conjures up in my mind the the visual of the iceberg?
You know that typical thing like you just see the the small percentage of the actual iceberg?
The majority of it is under the waterline.
You can't see all that is there and all that has gone into it and.
That paints a really good picture for us of the work of God.
That there is.
So much that happens in the preparation.
Ahead of time.
That the actual physical visible work of building the walls.
Was just a small percentage.
It took less than half the time to do the work.
As it did to pray.
For this work and for this opportunity to even come about.
This is the way that God often works in his life in our lives and in his body and his Kingdom.
He is as much interested as.
Well, in getting the walls around Jerusalem rebuilt as he is in doing a work in Nehemiah's heart.
And so this four months is not just four months of persuading God, and finally God gives in and says OK, fine, I'll let you go back and rebuild the wall is that.
That's not what's happening here.
This is four months of preparation for Nehemiah.
Because that's as much.
Of of of God's intention, as the actual physical rebuilding of the wall putting.
Stones and blocks together to, you know, reestablish the city and protect the city.
God God is interested in what he can accomplish in us in the preparation stage for the actual work, just as interested in that, it's just as important that that preparation for us as the actual work.
Many times we are just so caught up in the like getting to the activity part of things that we miss out on the preparation part.
Think about Paul.
As a convert, he was Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, knocked off his donkey, encounters the Lord, has the gospel, tries to immediately go and preach.
And is not met with great success.
It's only later he goes three years into the wilderness.
Has some alone time with the Lord.
Goes back to his hometown of Tarsus.
Has some time of obscurity.
Nothing really going on publicly that we know of.
No, no record of anything that he was doing there.
It wasn't until Barnabas went and grabbed him and brought him to Antioch that that really now.
All of that.
Preparation time that Saul had been experiencing.
Now is put to work and then the missionary journey start and then the activity starts but but this is some time after his actual conversion that there was there was that serious and important season of preparation ahead of time that was necessary.
You think about Daniel?
We'll get to him as we continue on this year, reading through the Bible in three years, praying for three weeks before the Angel shows up with the actual answer.
The message and the the prophetic word that he needed to write down you think about Israel in ******* in Egypt, herding.
In grumbling groaning before the Lord and.
God shows up to Moses and says I've heard my people groaning.
Their groans have reached my ears and and there was preparation going on in the prayers of the people as they were in captivity in Egypt, that that were leading up to the actual deliverance that God was about to bring.
Think about revelation chapter 6.
The martyrs there before the throne of God in heaven.
Their prayers are brought before the Lord.
They're crying out with a loud voice.
How long, O Lord, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those.
Who dwell on.
There's a season of preparation time.
There's there's a season of just praying.
And they're continuing to pray and say Lloyd, how long what's this many days going to be like until you finally fulfill these prayers and answer these things?
Now of course, 120 days is not the formula right? Here's all you know. I should write a book, right?
120 days to see God work right? No no, it's not that you always. Sometimes it's just two days, maybe sometimes it's 30 minutes, maybe sometimes it's decades.
That's all in God's hands.
We don't really have control of that, but what we do need to understand is there is that necessary preparation in ourselves.
And we need to be willing to pray.
For many days you know there's a lot of things that we might think about that are good ideas.
But that we're not willing to pray about.
For many days.
There's perhaps things that we shouldn't do, and it's demonstrated by the fact that we're not willing to pray about it for many days, right?
Maybe there's some things that we rush into and we're not prepared for it because we haven't invested the many days.
But maybe this is one of the ways that we can recognize and understand.
There is a work of God happening here. Again, God has put this burden upon nehemiah's heart.
There's a lot of reasons why we could.
Explain why nehemiah?
Like he really didn't have to carry this burden.
To be so burdened that he would pray for 120 days and risk his life being sad in front of the king, we'll see.
In a second like that.
That was not just something that was just naturally birthed in him, but this was something that God was laying upon.
This his heart in this way and and really becomes an evidence this.
This really is.
Something that God is saying, this really is something that God wants to do something about.
And so he begins to gather information.
And with that insight with that information that understanding, now he is able to really pray, and he's willing.
For as long as it takes.
To pray he didn't set the time frame OK 120 days I'm going to pray.
The Lord brought about the right time for this season of prayer to end.
But he was willing to just pray for as long as it took.
To see the fulfillment of those things that God was putting upon his heart, what have you been praying about for the last four months?
Perhaps you're right on the cusp.
You're right on the edge of the fulfillment of those things.
What's God moving on your heart are you?
Are you willing to pray for as?
Long as it takes.
To see that work of God in your family.
To see that.
Change that that impact that witnessed take place in your workplace to to see that new ministry opportunity to see that that new work of God unfold before you are.
Are you willing to pray as long as it takes?
To watch God rebuild your marriage or to see the calling that God is given to you unfold and be realized in your life.
Are you willing?
To pray, as long as it takes.
To pray for many days.
Sometimes we would think that, well, God put this.
On my heart.
So it should just happen.
And we can be really discouraged when we.
Don't see it happen right away.
But don't be discouraged.
Pray for many days.
And if it takes 10 days or 120 days or 120,000 days, I don't know how many years that is. Somebody else do the math, but.
However long it takes pray for many days. Well, the third action to take. What to do when God moves your heart point #3 wait for God's timing goes hand in hand with the praying of course, but the insight here on the timing of God is interesting to consider. We're moving now into Chapter 2 Nehemiah Chapter 2 verses one through four, it says.
And it came to pass in the month of Nissan in the 20th year of King Arctic Xerxes, 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.
Verse two notice at the end, 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 father, tombs, lies waste and its gates are burned with fire?
Then the king answered and said to me, what do you request?
So I prayed to the God of heaven.
As we look at Chapter 2 now in Nehemiah.
What seems apparent to me is that this whole exchange was not nehemiah's plan.
It wasn't that Nehemiah set the days OK 120 days, and then I'm gonna.
Go ask the king.
As you look at verses one and two.
Seems apparent to me that this was not initiated by Nehemiah.
It wasn't his plan.
Because it says in verse one at the end.
Now I had never been sad in his presence before.
Again, try to put yourself in near my shoes. He's been praying and mourning for 120 days.
And after 120 days he's saying I had never been sad in his presence before. Now being sad in the presence of a Persian king was a risky thing to do because.
All authority and power, and if he didn't like what was happening, you just get rid of you.
Think about the context of Esther, right, and her concern.
I can't just show up in front of the king, right?
Think of all of that context.
That's the historical context that Nehemiah is in.
In fact, Arctic Xerxes is probably the son of.
The king that Esther was married to Xerxes, or also known as a hashers.
So this is the context that he's in.
You show up in front of the king and you're sad.
You risk your life.
He could kill you.
He could get rid of you.
He could fire you.
You could you know, lose all everything that you have that there would be no problem.
No, no like stretch of the imagination for that to take place.
And so here is Nehemiah. For 120 days he's praying morning fasting.
But when he goes before the king, he washes his face puts on.
A smile I.
Gotta go do my job before the king.
And so he he goes. And he does his job for that 120 years while he's praying.
And he's doing his best to fulfill that role that he has as the cup bearer and not risk his life being sad in front of the king.
He's not really letting on to what's happening in his heart before the king of Persia.
I had never been sad in this presence before, not even though during the last four months, when I've been really.
Just said a state of mourning and prayer.
For the situation at Jerusalem.
And so it appears to me he could have.
Helped it on this day.
For 120 days he's been hiding it pretty well, but on this day.
His previous efforts didn't reach the same result, didn't have the same effect and.
The King notices he Nehemiah.
You're not your usual self.
I'm not seeing the same kind of bubbly, you know, excited, happy Nehemiah that I'm used to seeing you.
You seem kind of saddened.
You're not coughing, you know you're not sneezing.
There's no Red Nose.
You know showing that you've got some some issues going on.
Like you're not.
Sick, this can only be sadness of heart.
And then notice it says that he became dreadfully afraid.
Nima Nima is like Oh no.
I've been trying to hide it for 120 days. Finally, now after four months.
It comes out here.
I am in this vulnerable position before the king.
I became dreadfully afraid.
Today it showed unintentionally on Nehemiah's face.
But he's had this four months of preparation.
And so, although he is afraid.
He's freaked out.
He's terrified, he.
Knows his life is on the line.
He figures well, I've been praying for this day to happen.
Apparently this is the day, and so he says in verse three may the king live forever.
Why should my face not be sad?
Jerusalem lies waste.
In verse 4 the King says what do you want?
He says I prayed to the God of heaven and now he's going to go on to give his request.
He's about to ask permission.
Can I go back and rebuild Jerusalem?
That this was something that Nehemiah anticipated.
But he didn't quite feel ready for it.
Again, he didn't say OK on the 120th day. I'm going to go in there. I've determined God told me I'm going to do this on this day and I'm just going to ask.
With boldness, no.
He kind of got caught off guard.
He's in his own mind.
He's in his.
Own head, he's.
Expressing the emotion he's been feeling for for the last four months, but.
He didn't mean to.
But God used that to knock down the door.
Nehemiah, there's an open door in front of you.
Here's the most powerful person on the planet at this time.
Inviting you to share the burden.
And so he says, OK?
I'm gonna go for it.
You know he could have said nothing.
Don't worry about it.
I just had a rough morning.
I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
You know how that is?
Maybe you don't.
You're the king of Persia, so I woke.
Up on the wrong side of the bed.
You know, I I'm OK, I just I just need a little bit of rest and he kind of just shrugged it off and moved on.
But no, no this this was the right time he understood.
It wasn't his plan, but this is now God timing.
And suddenly, before he feels prepared before he's worked up the courage to.
Ask the question.
Suddenly the opportunity is.
Meets the opportunity the right way.
Because he spent the last four months in prayer for this very day.
For this very occasion, even though he didn't know what day it would take place, Pastor Warren Wiersbe says when you wait on the Lord in prayer, you are not wasting your time.
You are investing it.
God is preparing both you and your circumstances so that his purposes will be accomplished.
However, when the right time arrives for us to act by faith, we dare not delay.
This was the right time.
It wasn't time for Nehemiah to try to like shrug it off.
To try to escape.
Not share the burden, not share the plan.
Not ask for the things he needed to ask for.
It was the time.
It was God timing.
God has opened the door and now is.
The time now the timing.
Of this is really interesting to consider.
There was so much more going on than Nehemiah could really understand or imagine.
And we can only consider it because of the rest of the scripture that is written for us.
But you can tie this directly with the prophecy given to Daniel and Daniel, Chapter 9.
And Daniel Chapter 9 is that like.
Incredible prophecy about the the end times.
The tribulation period.
Time frames are given.
There's like this incredible death to Daniel Chapter 9.
But Daniel Chapter 9 verse 25 is very interesting because here God speaking to Daniel through Daniel says no, therefore and understand.
That from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem.
Until Messiah the Prince there shall be 7 weeks and 62 weeks.
The streets shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.
Off the scene in history long before Nehemiah was on the scene.
Daniel prophesied in Daniel Chapter 9 about.
A period of 70 weeks or 70 periods. 77 year periods.
Verse 25 Daniel Chapter 9 isolates 69 of those 70 weeks.
Also known as 483 years.
And so he says.
All right, through 483 years on the board, there's going to be this time span and it's going to begin.
With a certain event and it's going to end with a certain event.
The event that begins.
This 483 years.
Is the command to rebuild Jerusalem?
That's what's about to happen here in Nehemiah Chapter 2.
The point that ends.
This 483 period a 400 and.
83 year period is.
He says in Daniel 925 until Messiah the Prince.
So you take the command.
Arctic Xerxes gave most scholars believe around March 14th, 4:45 or 444 BC.
You count 100 or 483 years from there.
And you get Messiah the Prince now.
Dates and history and chronology are very, very difficult, and there's lots of scholarly work in seeking to pinpoint all of these things exactly.
But what we end up with is a variety of opinions about when exactly this 483 period 483 year period ends. But let me just run through a couple.
Possibilities after 483 years, Jesus is.
Born after 483 years, Jesus is baptized after 483 years, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey with the people crying out.
It is the one who comes in the name of the Lord or Jesus crucified on the cross.
After 483 years from this command and there's some debate and discussion, and that's not so important, I'm not going to get into the details there, but, but the point is, there's this beginning event and then the Messiah comes. After this time period.
And whichever interpretation you take, you end up with Jesus that that Messiah has arrived.
Messiah is on the scene, whether it's his birth or his crucifixion, or somewhere in between.
And and the exact timing of that could not be orchestrated by Nehemiah saying alright for 120 years or 120 days.
I'm going to pray and then it will be the perfect time so that then 483 years after that then the Messiah will be, you know, like there is no amount of calculus or imagination that Nehemiah could have too.
Work this out this this is a product of God's timing.
Nehemiah is completely oblivious to it.
He doesn't know what does he know.
He knows I have this burden on my heart for Jerusalem, and I'm going to pray and mourn and fast for as long as it takes.
Until I got the opportunity to do something about it.
That's all he knows.
But on this day, God knows.
I'm going to let down Nehemiah guard a little bit, let him show on his face the sorrow that's happening within that he's been hiding for the last four months, and I'm going to give him the opportunity right now so that this will be the day that the command is.
Given so, that's.
This prophecy in Daniel Chapter Nine will be fulfilled and Jesus the Messiah will be revealed after 483 years. From this day that Nehemiah stands before King Arctic Xerxes. Wait for God timing listen, there are things happening.
With those things that got us put upon your heart, there's things that are happening that you have no clue.
About that you couldn't.
Calculate, no matter how much you tried, no matter you know how many calculators you had or how smart you are, there's there's so much going on behind the scenes.
That you can't figure out that you have no discernible understanding of.
But God does.
And that's why it's so important to wait for God's timing.
To wait for him to say knells the time.
Yes, you want that work of God to happen within your family.
But but you have to allow God to reveal and to bring it about in his timing, because he knows the best timing where.
All of these.
Things will connect and converge and unfold at the right time, so.
That the people.
Are prepared that the workers are prepared that that he can establish what it is that he wants to establish.
All that thing in the workplace, yes, you're excited about it.
You want to push forward.
You want to make it happen, and that's great.
God put it upon your heart, but but you can't rush ahead.
Wait for his timing because only he knows when all the pieces are going to be, they're in the right place so that the impacts.
Will have its intended effect.
A new ministry opportunity.
The rebuilding of your marriage.
Listen, you want your spouse to be different.
You want yourself to be different.
But it can't happen overnight and it can't happen by you forcing it or by you rushing it.
Wait for God timing to take the steps.
That he's called you to take.
God is doing so much more behind the scenes.
That you have no clue about.
Pastor Warren Rizvi says true faith in God brings a calmness to the heart that keeps us from rushing about and trying to do in our own strength.
What only God can do.
We must know not only how to weep and pray, but also how to wait and pray.
To weep and pray.
And to feel that sorrow oftentimes can really cause us to try to rush ahead.
We want to get out of that pain.
We want to get out of that sorrow we.
Want to resolve?
The situation we feel bad for the sorrow in the situation that others are going through.
And so we want that to relieve them as quickly as possible, right?
Like that, that's a normal thing.
But sometimes we need to wait.
The appropriate amount of time.
To a time that only God knows and sooner is not always better.
Sometimes 120 days is the exact right time.
Sometimes you know, hey, maybe Nehemiah was like all right. I'm going to fast and pray on this for the next two years and God says, no, you're not 120 days and I'm.
Going to make your face show before the king and have you, you know, have this conversation with him right then when you weren't.
Expecting he's like I thought.
I had another ten months to pray on this, Nope.
Today's the day is God's timing.
Measured up matched perfectly with the prophecy of Daniel.
Chapter 9 brings about the fulfillment of the Messiah.
It's so much bigger than Nehemiah had any clue about.
Well, finally verses 5 through 8 gives us the 4th action to take.
What to do when God moves your heart?
Plan to volunteer verse 5 through 8 says this 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 father, 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 Kings 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.
Here we see in verses 5 through 8 that Nehemiah volunteers.
He says here I am, Lord send me.
Prayer of Isaiah in Isaiah chapter 6.
We we see him.
Of course, this was his plan all along he was planning to volunteer you.
Go back to Nehemiah chapter one, verse 11, as he concludes that beautiful prayer that he prays.
He says, let your servant prosper.
In this day, I pray and grant him mercy, talking about himself in the sight of this man, talking about King Arctic Xerxes.
He wasn't just praying that the people in Jerusalem would be helped by someone randomly.
He was praying.
Lord, they're in this trouble.
I want to help.
Please send me to Jerusalem that I could go and help establish the walls.
And so when he gets the chance to bring this before the King of Persia.
He says out loud the things that he's been praying to God for the past 120 days. I ask that you send me to Judah.
Volunteering for this work, and he's been planning to volunteer this whole time.
He's been planning to be part of the work this whole time.
It's then on his heart, not just in a general way that somehow the work would get accomplished.
But he's saying, Lord, I'm.
Willing if if I can be part of the work, if I can be part of this thing that you want to do.
When Wesby says he was not content merely to get answers to prayer, he wanted to be an answer to prayer.
Has God used you lately to be an answer to somebody?
There's many times where we may notice a need.
We may have a heart for something.
But it may or may not be something that God wants us to personally get involved with.
But when God's moving upon your heart.
To not just see it unfold, see it happen but but be willing to involve yourself to risk your life.
I think we're all praying for the situation in Ukraine and all those who are hurting right now with this invasion from Russia, right?
But how many of us are praying?
Lord, I want to go to Ukraine and help and be part of that situation.
Probably not that many of us, and that's not necessarily wrong.
'cause that's perhaps not what God has called.
You to but but there.
Needs to be some people.
I guarantee you there are some people that God is calling there.
And it needs to be part of their heart.
Needs to be part of what God desires for them and their prayers and their willingness to volunteer but.
It's not just that he volunteered.
And it's not just that he intended to volunteer all along, but but he planned.
To volunteer, he planned this whole thing out.
Notice in verse six, he calculated a time frame.
I said a time.
Although he's far away in Persia, away from Jerusalem.
He's working out OK, like Jerusalem is this big and OK? Let's assume I can get this many people to help, and if I can get the King's resources OK, how long is it going to take me to rebuild this?
He he's figured.
Out he is spent some time doing some math. Calculating times. OK, let me test a £50 boulder.
How long does it take me to move it 5 feet over?
OK, now I have to move these.
Things this many.
Feet like he's he's working out and understanding.
OK, this is the kind.
Of time frame that I need.
But he's also done some calculations about the permission he needs.
In verse seven, he says, hey, give letters to the rulers over there, 'cause they're not going to like this work, and there's going to be some opposition.
He anticipates that and says alright.
I need this kind of permission.
I need this kind of authority.
I need this kind of permits, you know, to to go through and do this work.
He could have said, hey God, putting this on my heart.
I don't need protection.
No, he said here's the protection that I need and he requests that of the king and he calculates the resources needed in verse 8.
You have a forest over here and I'm going to need this much lumber for this and that, and I'm going to need you know this for the house and this for the wall.
This for the gates there's serious.
Amounts of planning.
He wasn't just praying that whole time.
In other words.
The last 120 days he was praying as he's drawing blueprints.
He's praying as he's working out and doing math and and running the numbers and doing the calculations.
He's praying while he's figuring out how can this happen, what's going to take for for this plan to unfold and and for this work.
To be done.
And so he plans to volunteer.
He has a plan in place. He's got a good understanding. He's gathered his information. He's been praying and fasting over the the past 120 days waiting for the right opportunity. But in that time of waiting.
He's put something in place.
He's got an idea if this is how it can come to pass.
He's been praying, Lord, leave me how do you want me to, you know do this and how?
How do you want to provide for this and and he's been letting the Lord guide him in the instructions.
For how this should unfold and so here in Nehemiah we have a great.
Encouragement to respond as God moves upon our hearts.
Following this pattern, gathering information, being willing to pray for many days waiting for God's exact right perfect timing.
All the while intending planning to be part of the work that God wants to do and putting some effort in organizing, calculating, figuring out what's it going to take for this to happen, and how can I be part of.
One final quote to finish off.
Pastor Warren Rasby says God put Nehemiah in Susa just as he had put Esther there a generation before.
Just as he had put.
Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon.
When God wants to accomplish a.
Work, he always prepares his workers and puts them in the right places at the right.
Time you're God's worker.
He's got you somewhere.
At some place.
At this time, what is the work that God wants to do?
That he wants to prepare you for that he wants to move on your heart.
Maybe you already know it.
Maybe you need to invite the Lord and ask him to.
Show you it.
As he speaks to you, gather the information.
Pray for many days about it. Wait for God's timing.
And then plan to volunteer.
Work out the details and get involved in the work that God called you to you.
Lord, I thank you for this example and Lord, thank you for the opportunities that you give us to be part of your.
Work, we're undeserving.
We're unworthy, we're frail and we fail.
And yet God you are able.
To use these.
Broken vessels, these broken tools to accomplish your purposes and to bring about good things for your glory.
And so God, I pray that you would help us to approach your work.
In this pattern, Lord in this way, Lord, that we would be willing to wait to pray to allow you to prepare us.
As we work out the plans as we.
Understand from you how you want things to.
And Lord, may we be willing to personally involve ourselves to roll up our sleeves and get to work?
As you give us opportunity to participate in your Kingdom, I pray this in Jesus name.