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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Work of Restoration, #30
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, (Nehemiah 1:4)
What are we to do when the Word of God comes to us? We personally (if we wait for someone else, the Lord will not be pleased with us) are to repent, to turn to God, to weep and mourn over the backslidden condition of the churches.
We are to pray to God that the Holy Spirit will return and fill us with the wisdom and power of God. We are to confess our sins to God. There are many sins listed in the New Testament writings, and every one of them is abounding among God's people today.
Then we are to remind the Lord of His marvelous promises to those who repent.
If we ignore the needs of the church and continue on in our positions of importance and responsibility in the world, we will experience the judgment of God on our lives. When the Lord calls us out of the world (the word church means "called out"), then we are to come out of the world. If we do not come out voluntarily, as did Nehemiah and Ezra, the Lord will chasten us until we have a willing and obedient heart.
We will find that when we cease our self-seeking and commence doing the Lord's will, doors will open to us that always before have been closed.
This is what Nehemiah discovered when he repented and prayed before the Lord, and then approached Artaxerxes.
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. (Nehemiah 2:6)
Nehemiah proceeded carefully and in prayer. He moved ahead through the open door set before him. He was diligent, reasonable, and prayerful.
Many times God's people miss the calling on their life because they do not pray and seek the mind of the Lord. Either they step out rashly and presumptuously in the "work of the Lord," or else they spend their energies in the world in the belief that if God wants them to do anything in His Kingdom, He will yank them by the hair of their head.
When we pray for an "open door" of service, let us remember that a door does not have to be wide open. It only has to be open enough for us to squeeze through (although without forcing). We must learn to be faithful in the small, practical realms of service that are at hand. We actively must "prove" the will of God.
King Artaxerxes was the stepson of Queen Esther, and Esther may have been alive when Nehemiah presented his request. This may account for the kindly attitude of Artaxerxes toward the Jews and their desire to restore the Temple and Jerusalem.
All kinds of opportunities for Christian service exist in the world. But we do not realize the hidden opportunities when we are not stepping along in faith, moving through the small openings we do have. We may be waiting for the grand opening. But the grand openings usually do not come to us until we have taken advantage of the smaller opportunities.
To be continued.