By Toni Ford
I have loved reading and studying the Book of Nehemiah this month! Last week I shared how one of Nehemiah’s greatest attributes was the way he cared for his people, the Jews. He demonstrated that by asking about his people even when he was living a very comfortable life in another country. He cared by crying out to God to provide help and protection for his people, and even praying and fasting for days on their behalf.
Once Nehemiah was finally able to go to Jerusalem and see for himself how the Jews were doing with the rebuilding of the wall, he cared enough to jump in and begin volunteering to help with the rebuilding.
This week, I would love to share about another inspiring quality Nehemiah possessed, which was his faith in God. Martin Luther once said, “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. It is so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” Jesus told us in Matthew 17:20 that faith can move mountains, and in Mark 9:23, He says, “All things are possible to him who believes.”
As I read the second chapter of Nehemiah, not only was I inspired by his faith; I also had to stop and examine my own life by asking if I was living a daily life of faith. Here are examples of how Nehemiah demonstrated his faith.
Nehemiah had faith to wait. Four months had passed since Nehemiah had received the bad news about the Jews and their situation in Jerusalem. However, Nehemiah waited patiently on the Lord for direction, trusting that the Lord would show him at the right time what his next steps would be. Not only did Nehemiah fast, pray and cry out to God during his time of waiting; he also knew how to wait and trust. True faith in God brings a calmness to the heart that keeps us from rushing about and trying to make things happen in our own time and in our own way. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” I love what Warren Wiersbe says about this verse: “When you wait on the Lord in prayer, you are not wasting your time; you are investing it.” Is anyone like me, in having been waiting on God to answer a prayer that I have been praying for days, months or even years? I encourage all of us today to not give up but keep praying and keep trusting God to answer in His time and in His way, knowing that His way is always for our best!
Nehemiah had faith to ask. When Nehemiah was in the presence of King Artaxerxes’ presence, the king could tell that Nehemiah was sad. So the king asked him, (Nehemiah 2:2) “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.” Nehemiah at that point could have given the king a vague answer, missing out on a great opportunity. Instead, Nehemiah takes a huge step in faith by asking the king for what might seem impossible. Nehemiah 2:5 says, “If it pleases the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.” Is there something you need to have faith enough to ask for? It could be in your job, with your family or even with the Lord.
Nehemiah had faith enough to challenge others. In the rest of the chapter we find Nehemiah conversing with several different groups of people. At times he had to encourage some to “get moving,” and with others he had to be willing to confront and give push back all for the purpose of protecting the Jews and the mission God had given him. If it were not for the caring heart of Nehemiah, his dedication and determination that came from his faith in a great God, he might have never accepted the challenge or finished the work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem!
Thank you, Lord, for the example of faith you have given us in Nehemiah. Please strengthen our faith in You today, knowing that You are a God who is always working on our behalf and You will always win the battles!
If you would like me to join you in prayer please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to pray for you!