Saturday, August 8, 2015

when I heard these words

Have you ever read Nehemiah?  As I was reading Nehemiah today, I was struck by a particular verse.

Nehemiah 1:4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

This was Nehemiah's response when he heard about the captives that had returned to Jerusalem, the broken walls and gates of Jerusalem and the great distress they were in. 
He broke down and wept, mourned and spent many days in fasting and prayer. 
God, then, opened up doors for Nehemiah to be sent by the King of Persia to rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem.  The King paid for the supplies and sent troops to protect Nehemiah. 
God honored his response, fasting and prayers.

I began to think about the many things we are hearing about in our world. We are hearing about shootings, persecution, our country turning from the Christian roots upon which we were established,  and great evils being committed.  
What is my typical response when I hear these things?  What is your typical response?
I may express concern and shock.  I may discuss with others and how unbelievable it is. I may even say a few prayers over the situation.  I may even choose to say, "another sign of the times."

This is not the response I believe God is wanting from his people; from His Church. I realized when Nehemiah responded, it was a complete, spiritual response.  This response of fasting and prayer was by one man. This one man was then given the resources and support of the king to bring about the rebuilding of a city that this very kingdom had destroyed. 
Nehemiah did not call fellow worshippers to join him for discussion of the problem.  He did not call for a group prayer or even group fasting.  He responded. God in turn, used him in a mighty way. 

I am seeing here that it takes one person to respond to a terrible situation by getting hold of the mind of God through complete prayer and fasting. Nehemiah mourned over the situation.  He repented on behalf of the entire nation of Israel and called upon God to remember His promise to restore Israel. 

Have I taken on the responsibility or burden of a grave sin of our nation or even the body of Christ?  Have you?  Have I realized that my inaction and callousness has allowed our nation to sanction the killing of unborn babies for the last 40+ years?  Have I recognized that the church body has ignored the sins going on around them, participated in them and allowed the government of the United States to actually believe they have the power to change the laws of God?

What has my response been?   Not enough!  Not at all in line with Spirit of God!

What is God wanting my response to be?  He is wanting his people, at least one of them to fall upon their face in mourning and repentance. He wants someone to take responsibility and call upon His name. He is wanting someone to respond with fasting and prayer.  He is wanting someone to be the one he can use to perform a supernatural rebuilding of the walls that have been broken and the gates that have been taken down.  He wants to bring about the promises He gave us for His church, but he needs someone to take it upon themselves to respond as Nehemiah did when he heard the distress and destruction of Jerusalem. 

Can you or I say : So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven?

Lord help us respond as you would to these attrocities taking place around us. Lord help us be the one who really turns to you as a response to hearing about the effects of our failures to truly be your Body. 

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