“…Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me.” Nehemiah 2:18
As far as I can tell, nowhere in the book of Nehemiah does he say, “The Lord said to me,” or “…the word of the Lord came to Nehemiah.” Instead, we find that Nehemiah was fully persuaded that “…the good hand of my God (was) upon me.” (1:8) Why is this so very important? And why does Nehemiah not speak of the Lord’s word specifically to him?
Perhaps a part of the answer is found in that Nehemiah was NOT a prophet. His calling was not that of a prophet, but of a builder, a “restorer.” His great accomplishment was not only the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, but the laying of a foundation and means by which revival would come to the people.
Secondly, we find Nehemiah to be a very practical man, who does not live in platitudes, but in physical reality. We find him a long way from Jerusalem, in the court and service of King Artaxeres. He was with so many of his brethren, still in exile. But there, in that place of exile, we discover that he was a prayerful, godly man. His vision of God was very great, as we see in one of his prayers: “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awe-inspiring God…” (1:5). It is out of this vision of God, and the understanding of Who and What He was, that effective prayer is made. The crux of the matter concerning Nehemiah is this: though he was not a prophet, he DID believe in prayer, and that the Almighty God answers prayer in the real and tangible world. Nehemiah’s burden was for the wall of Jerusalem to be rebuilt. For this to occur, there must be the intervention of the Almighty in his circumstances, giving him not only favor in the eyes of the king, but abundantly providing materially so that he could rebuild the wall…in that very distant city, Jerusalem.
Thirdly, we see Nehemiah fully committed to the “open door,” the opportunity that the Lord sovereignly provides for him. There is no hesitation on his part, only the whole-hearted grasp, and commitment to do the will of God. It is as he advances, with the assurance that God is working on his behalf, that he will declare that the hand of God IS on him. This he will share with the elders of Jerusalem, and they too, will join him in a very difficult, yet successful endeavor.
For Nehemiah, faith is not a “flighty” and “ephemeral” hope, but an exercise of heart and will, based upon the unchanging character of God, and seen in the real world. Other men and women of faith have proved God in the same way, receiving the “desires of His heart,” and then prayerfully committing themselves to believe God for the realization of His purposes. Did Jesus not say, “If you believe, you will SEE the glory of God?”
Dear Father, grant to us a great vision of Thyself, one that is not only captivating, but which dominates all else. Strengthen our hearts and spirits to believe You for Your intervention today in our circumstances in a very practical way. Open our eyes to see the movement of Your hand. Then we too shall say with Nehemiah, as we are committed to seeing your will being done, “…the good hand of my God is upon me.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.