Nehemiah 2:6-A Burden Needs a Plan
Nehemiah 2:6 And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
In 2:5, Nehemiah is finally allowed by God to share the burden that God had placed on his heart, and the specific calling to meet that need. I’m sure that he wanted an immediate “yes” or “no” answer from the king. But instead the response was “wait.”
while we cannot be sure, it appears that Nehemiah was summoned to the king at a time later on that night. Our biggest clue for this is the queen herself is sitting with him (she wasn’t there before). The king probably took some time to think about Nehemiah’s request since this was a very big decision.
We can imagine Nehemiah was very nervous when the king called him the second time. But when Artaxerxes asked “how long will you be gone?” he knew the answer would be yes.
What happens next is very important…
The Bible tells us Nehemiah “set him a time”, or explained in detail how long he planned to be gone. This along with Nehemiah’s specific requests (2:7-8) shows he had put a lot of thought into this trip to Jerusalem.
We’ve already seen in 2:3 that Nehemiah “thought things through” and was able to deal wisely with problems. Verse five shows us that the planning went deeper than just troubleshooting. He had a very detailed plan to fulfill the calling of God.
We see a very balanced view of dealing with a burden in chapter two. One the one had Nehemiah refused to move before God opened the door (2:1) and answered the Kings question with wisdom (2:3). But when the door was opened he expressed a calling to go along with his burden, and an extensive plan to carry it out.
To put it simply, He displayed both Faith, and Common Sense
it is easy when we think about “walking by faith” to envision someone who doesn’t plan at all. In extreme cases, those who do take the time to plan will be confronted over their lack of faith! However, there is room in the plan of God for both. The important thing is that we develop the calling of God for our lives, instead of developing one for our own goals.
Walking by faith means we seek out the Will of God in an intense way. We saw that in chapter one where Nehemiah turn to the Lord in repentance, and prayer. Then having. clear understanding of God’s calling, he planned for it. In this way his planning was a form of worship and submission to God which was obviously based upon prayer.
Planning becomes sinful when we put together our own strategic plan or list of Goals, and then ask God to bless them. Scripture is clear God’s agenda is almost always different than ours, and though it may be frustrating in the moment, it is always better.
So what can we learn from Nehemiah 2:6?
God is glorified in our planning.
Lets say that King Artaxerxes was ready to let Nehemiah go and instead of having a detailed plan, he responded with “umm” or “uh” and shrugged his shoulders. It’s almost certain he wouldn’t get to go! Even worse, it is a disrespect to the calling that God had given to him!
We cannot truly plan for everything, and thats okay. But make no mistake, God cannot be glorified by those who don’t plan for anything.