Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Do You Have a Servant's Heart Like Nehemiah?

Tonight we're going to look at the rest of Nehemiah chapter 1.

It's such a beautiful prayer that he prays to the Father...and his heart shines through his words.

Neh 1:5
I said, "I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,
Neh 1:6
let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father's house have sinned.
Neh 1:7
"We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.
Neh 1:8
"Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples;
Neh 1:9
but {if} you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.'
Neh 1:10
"They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand.
Neh 1:11
"O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man." Now I was the cupbearer to the king.

Our Monday night Precept class is studying The Sermon on The Mount, and last night we dug deeply into the Lord's prayer.

We saw that the first thing that is said in the Lord's prayer is "Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name..."

Do you see how Nehemiah's prayer was so similar? He began his prayer with praise to the Father, recognizing His almighty power and His character.

The term "lovingkindness" is a covenant term. You see it over and over again when studying the covenant's of the Lord. By the fact that Nehemiah is speaking this term back to God, about God's character, tells us that Nehemiah truly KNEW the LORD.

He speaks to God of His promises to Israel. He reminds God of His covenant with her, and how He said that if she was unfaithful, but then returned to Him, that He would do something very specific for the sons of Israel.

What was it that God had promised to do?

I realize that I'm skipping around a bit here, sorry for that...but I can't figure out how to "cut" in Blogger, so forgive me.

Do you see what Nehemiah does on behalf of the sons of Israel in verse 7?

Why, when you read it in context, was is necessary for there to be admission of sin on the part of Israel?

If you study the Lord's prayer, you'll see a place within it that the one who prays it will also make confession before God.

To confess means to agree with God about our sin. How can we repent (have a change of mind) if we aren't willing to make an admission of sin?

I love that God, in His command to Israel through Moses, didn't say, "If you return to me, I'll do such and so...".

No. He won't be mocked. He didn't just say "return to Me", there was a condition that He placed upon His people. What was it?

Do you see it?

It's pretty clear, isn't it?!

"Return to me, and keep my commandments, and do them."

So, fast forward back to the day of Nehemiah, and we see the remnant of Israel, the exiles, now back in the place where God chose to cause His name to dwell.

Yet, as we learned yesterday, the city is in trouble.

Enter Nehemiah.

One man.

One man, willing to be faithful to God's AWESOME call on his heart...God's HUGE call on his heart.

And what does Nehemiah do? It's found in verses 5-11. Every single one.

How does Nehemiah refer to himself?

And how does he refer to the sons of Israel?

What is your mindset when God calls YOU to a huge task on His behalf, and for His glory?

Do you think to yourself, "Man, I'm so gifted. I'm really going to master this challenge?"

Or, do you repeat over and over that you are God's servant, here for His pleasure, to do as He calls and He asks?

I think it's amazing that Nehemiah had this great call on his heart from God, and yet he still prays for favor from the Lord.

What was his request from God?

Isn't it awesome that he asked God to grant him compassion?

He knew he was about the Lord's work, but he still asked the Lord to pave the way.

God is blowing our minds with all that He is doing for this retreat. We continue to ask for your prayers, that God will fill the retreat center up. Our hope is that there won't be one bed left open.

We are requesting this of God, that our state might be set on fire by the study of God's Word.

We are praying that women who are already leaders will form wonderful relationships with other leaders, to equip and encourage one another for years to come.

We are petitioning the Lord for many new women who will fall in love with Precept studies, and will then go and be trained to take inductive study into their own churches and communities.

We are begging God for the retreat center to be full, that it would be a HUGE blessing and encouragement to Precept Ministries International.

We are also asking this of the Lord, that Living Water Retreat Center would be hugely blessed.

They are such wonderful people dedicated to serving the body of Messiah across denominational lines. Being at Living Water makes me truly feel like we are one body in Christ, just as the Word tells us that we are.

Let us pray as Nehemiah did.

Won't you pray with us?

No time to proof-read, hope it's all good...

Have a great night,

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