Set, Seek, Arise & Build for the Lord!
Don’t you just love it when one of your favorite books of the Bible also ends up becoming the theme of one of your favorite pieces of Cross Training Couture apparel? I have always loved the book of Nehemiah! If you’re not familiar with this powerful book of the Bible, it is an account of Nehemiah who served as the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. When Nehemiah heard about the sad state of affairs in Judah, he asked for permission from the King to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city wall. He led his people to quickly repair and rebuild Jerusalem’s walls and gates in just 52 days!
There is SO much we can learn from Nehemiah and his leadership. (And side note—If you’re reading this and feeling like this isn’t for you because you’re not a leader, let me encourage you because we are ALL called to lead as we share the Good News and lead others to Jesus Christ. In fact, the last command that Jesus gave to us was this: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" Matthew 28:19-20).
I love what Nehemiah reminds the people in Nehemiah 2:18, “And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, ‘Let us rise up and build.’ So they strengthened their hands for the good work.”
If we look at that powerful verse more closely, there are four vital truths we can learn from Nehemiah to apply to our own lives:
The first thing that Nehemiah did upon hearing about the wall of Jerusalem being broken down was to cry out to God. “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before God of heaven.” (1:4) I admire that Nehemiah’s first instinct was to set his eyes and heart on the Lord. I don’t know about you, but often I turn to a friend or family member first when I’m troubled. This is a beautiful reminder that we can and should always keep our eyes on God and go to Him first!
2. Seek God’s Will and Plans
After setting his eyes and heart on the Lord, and before going to the king to ask for permission to return to Jerusalem, Nehemiah prayed fervently, “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” (2:10-11). Nehemiah knew that the only way he would find favor from the king was if God gave it to him. He innately knew that if it was God’s will for him to go, the king would grant him permission. May this be a reminder for us to pray and seek God’s will first and then be at peace with God’s answer of Yes, No, or Wait. If God calls us to it, He will see us through it! Amen?
3. Arise. We have to boldly stand for Him
After seeking God’s will, Nehemiah approached the king. Because he looked so troubled, the king asked Nehemiah, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of the heart.” (2:2) And what happened next makes me just want to cheer for Nehemiah SO big because it’s just so courageous as he boldly took a stand for God, “Then I was terrified, but I replied, "Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire." The king asked, "Well, how can I help you?" With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, "If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.” (2:3-5)
And that’s exactly what happened. Because the gracious hand of the Lord was upon Nehemiah, the king granted his request.
Oh that we would be so bold to rise up and do the hard and holy things when we feel the Lord leading us! That requires a step of faith, an act of obedience, a surrendering of our control. But the reward of rising up when we are called is so very sweet!
4. Build. We have to do the thing.
With the king’s permission, Nehemiah traveled back to Jerusalem and examined the wall to see the damage for himself, without telling anyone of the plan God laid on his heart to rebuild it. Then Nehemiah said to the people, "You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!” Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king. They replied at once, "Yes, let's rebuild the wall!" So they began the good work.” (2:17-18)
Sisters, after setting our hearts, seeking God’s will, and boldly rising up for our Lord, it’s then time to Do. The. Thing! Whatever it is that God has laid on your heart, just begin the good work! Invite a new friend to church, make dinner for your neighbors, start that new blog, share the gospel with your co-worker, write that letter asking forgiveness, start that Bible study with a group of friends! Because if God has called you to it, then as Nehemiah reminded his friends, “The God of heaven will give us success.” (2:20)
And He will! I’m cheering for you!
Liz Patton - CTC Influencer
Liz's heart belongs to Jesus, her husband, Jason, and their three teenage boys. She's passionate about helping women find body and food freedom so they can live their healthiest, happiest, and most free lives in Christ.
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