Nehemiah 2:5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.
Nehemiah has spent months preparing for the moment of chapter two, verse four. The process began with a realization the Jews were in danger because the wall had been broken down leaving them without protection. This led Nehemiah to get his heart right through repentance, prayer, and rededication to God.
After getting his heart right, Nehemiah needed to get his mind right. This involved waiting for God to open the door (2:1-2), and planning for that moment beforehand (2:3). Its possible that Nehemiah wasn’t sure God was opening the door for him to help the Jews, but the kings question in 2:4 “what do you want to do?” was abundant proof.
The words that had been going through Nehemiah’s mind for months finally had the opportunity to come pouring out. “Let me go rebuild the wall!” he begged.
Those words didn’t just come from his brain though…it was a calling from God
Towards the end of his prayer in chapter one, Nehemiah asked God for wisdom and mercy because he served King Artaxerxes (1:11). This wasn’t just a prayer for protection, but for divine guidance. I’m sure that he wanted to rebuild the wall himself. However Nehemiah didn’t want to do this till he was sure God had called him to do so.
It was the realization that rebuilding was Gods plan instead of Nehemiah’s desire that gave him confidence.
Nehemiah here illustrates for us that God always follows a burden with a calling.
Nehemiah did not just allow himself to be broken over the need of Jerusalem (a burden), he clarified the calling of God, and as we shall see, developed a specific plan to fulfill that calling.
This is important for us to remember because it’s very easy to have a burden, but never follow through with a calling.
Burdens aren’t that difficult:
- They involve expressing emotions others can understand
- Pointing out problems that others agree with
- Allow us to take a stand on important issues
- And bring lifestyle changes
A Calling however is hard:
- It involves taking a step of faith
- And planning things out
- It means you will get attacked (not everyone will agree with you)
- and LOTS of hard work
This leaves us with many people who have a “burden” about a specific problem, but don’t feel “called” to do anything about it.
God does sometimes plan for us to be broken (burdened) over a need and not be part of the solution. But usually the disconnected burden without a calling has nothing to do with God’s plan, and everything to do with our wanting to stay where it is safe.