Nehemiah, a cupbearer to king Artaxerzes in Shushan, receives a report regarding the condition of the remnant in Jerusalem. They, and the city of God, are in great distress: walls and gates torn down (Neh. 1:3).
Nehemiah begins to weep, mourn, and pray for the covenant people of God. He repents of their sins, weeping as if he was personally responsible for Jerusalem’s destruction (Neh. 1:6). He begins to carry a burden for God’s people, and a land he has never seen.
Nehemiah carried this burden for Jerusalem, God’s burden, for several months: four to be exact. In those four long months he waited, prayed, and did his duty before the opportunity to be God’s instrument was set.
Where was he when God began to use him? He was performing his duty to king Artaxerxes: serving wine.
From there, in his ordinary daily task, Nehemiah, in all outward appearances an unqualified cupbearer, would lead thousands of God’s people across thousands of rugged, dangerous miles to rebuild the Temple of God in Jerusalem.
“The king asked me, “What is your request?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it seems good in your sight, send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried that I may rebuild it” (Neh. 2:4-5).
This exchange was potentially deadly for Nehemiah, as to displease the king would result in immediate death. By God’s grace, the king approved of Nehemiah’s request.
Did you catch the words of a cupbearer? “That I may rebuild it?”
He wept for, and was sent to a land, a city, and a promise he had never seen. This city, even in its distress, was more real than the glory of the kings court and Sushan itself. It is the city of God.
Nehemiah did not create the problem. He did not tear down the walls or destroy the Temple. Yet, he had a burden to rebuild Jerusalem as a testimony to the Lord’s glory.
How did he do this?
The Lord set in Nehemiah’s heart a burden, the Lord’s own burden, to restore the Jewish people to the Promised Land. What exalted place of influence did Nehemiah hold? He was a simple cupbearer at the side of a heathen king.
His influence was in the place the Lord set him, not where he would have set himself.
It can be entirely too easy to see your everyday, ordinary circumstance and believe that you are unimportant in the Lord’s plan. Faithfully be about your business, which in Him, is actually His business; carry His burden, and when the time is at hand, He will use you in a way previously unimaginable to you only moments before.
Nehemiah’s burden was to build the Temple where Yeshua/Jesus would one day set His feet, and teach the Word of God. Glory to God!
Be well. Shalom.