Monday, August 2, 2010

Nehemiah 1-2: Body Life

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that God's plans never involve only one person.
I hesitated to make this claim because it's rather absolute and I've been taught to be wary of sentences that include "never" and "always."  In fact, I wrote and rewrote the claim several times before adding the caveat that I was going to go out on a limb.

I just can't think of any instance that only involved a single person.
I'm sure I'll get some suggestions, and I'm happy to hear them if you have any.  (I hope to get some suggestions.)

God lays it on Nehemiah's heart to go to Jerusalem and direct the building of the wall and the gates.  It's part of God's plan to return the people to Israel so they can worship him at the temple in Jerusalem.  (God's ultimate plan involves relationship with the people he made.)

In this plan, we see King Cyrus.  God moves his heart and he issues a royal declaration allowing Jewish people of Persia to return.

We see a rather large group of Jewish families returning to Judah.  God moved their hearts and they went.

We see King Darius, who God uses to fund the project.
We see Ezra, who goes to remind the people what God's word says.  Remember, they can't all read, and they haven't been studying the Law.

And now we see Nehemiah.  The plight of the people in Israel moves him so much that he fasts and weeps and mourns.  Finally he asks God to allow him to return.

And then we see the King, who not only allows Nehemiah to go back, but also provides funding for the project.

God needs each of these men and women.  Before them he needed Jeremiah, who warned the people.  And he needed Daniel, who prepared the hearts of kings to listen to God.  And he needed Esther.  Yes, she's in this time frame too.  And he needed all the people of Israel to live honorable lives in Persia.  And he needed each individual who returned to Jerusalem.

And all these people were part of God's plan to return the people, to get ready for the arrival of Jesus.  And so on.

Even when we don't know it, even when we feel all alone, we're part of a team, working together to bring God's plans to life.

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