When Nehemiah learned that his home city of Jerusalem had been ransacked, burned, and its defenses broken down, he was overcome with grief. Though he had been away for quite some time, his heart was with his people, the Jews—the people of Israel. He was broken before God and knew that doing nothing was not an option. He asked for leave from his job in the King of Persia’s court. Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer; his position was prestigious and dangerous. He was afraid the king would be displeased, but God’s hand was on Nehemiah and God made a way for him to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city’s wall and gates. Nehemiah responded to God’s call of duty.
Eph 6:12-13; Neh 1:3-4, 7, 11, 2:2-3, 8; Ecc 3:4; Gal 6:9
They replied, “The survivors there in the province who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.” When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. (Neh 1:3-4) There is a time to cry and a time to laugh. There is a time to be sad and a time to dance with joy. (Ecc 3:4)
Is there a travesty, a disgrace, a defeat, a devastation, some brokenness that you see in our world that has the same kind of effect on you as the plight of Jerusalem had on the heart of Nehemiah? Some things bother you but other things wreck you. Often God wrecks the heart of his followers in order to get them off the couch and onto the battlefield. God wants you to be bothered, frustrated, dissatisfied and troubled to the point of action. Don’t put your head in the sand, ignore the call, or hope someone else will do what needs to be done. This is on you! It is your finest hour when you take that step onto the battlefield because anything less won’t do. We each have a call, a mission, a battle that God has assigned to us. Whether or not we accept the call is up to us.
Have you ever been deeply troubled about something? What did you do? Have you had times when you should have acted but you stayed on the couch? When have you gotten onto the battlefield for something that you could no longer ignore? What kind of brokenness does it take to drive a person to the place where even in the face of death, doing nothing is not an option? What is your call of duty for God?
Assess your response time when God calls you into action. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Listen. Ask God to give you eyes that see and a heart that moves you to action.
Dear God, there are many travesties in this world. It is easy to be overwhelmed and paralyzed by all the needs and causes. Help me to see and be sensitive to the things I can do. Move me to action and to respond when you call. Help me to be caring, unselfish, and sensitive to the needs of others. Make my way clear and give me strength in the battle. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.