Characteristics of Prayerful Leaders

Steve Viars April 22, 2018 Nehemiah 2:1-10
Outline

3 traits of men and women God uses to build His kingdom and further His will

I. Prayerful Leaders are Patient

A. An important chronological detail

1:1 - …the month Chislev, in the twentieth year…

2:1 - …the month Nisan, in the twentieth year…

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…

B. What this tells us about the way the Lord answers prayer

Sometimes God says yes, sometimes God say no, and sometimes God says wait

C. God wants us to grow in patience and He makes such a lifestyle possible

Hebrews 6:12 - So that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises…

Psalm 40:1-3 - I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and set my feet on a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.

Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience…

D. What is the relationship of this to the leadership process?

“Three statements in Scripture have a calming effect on me whenever I get nervous and want to rush ahead of the Lord. “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14:13), “Sit still…until you know how the matter will turn out (Ruth 3:18 NJKV) and “Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). When you wait on the Lord in prayer, you are not wasting your time, you are investing it. God is preparing both you and your circumstances so that His purposes will be accomplished. However, when the right time arrives for us to act by faith, we dare not delay.” (Warren Wiersbe, commentary on Nehemiah)

E. Relationship to prayer

John 13:23 - “…Truly, truly I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in my name, He will give it to you.”

F. An opportunity to grow in Christlikeness

Matthew 14:23 - After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

John 7:8 - Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.

II. Prayerful Leaders are Bold

A. Even in the midst of fear – v. 2

2:2 - …then I was very much afraid.

Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the conquest of it

B. Where the focus is on honoring God and serving others – v. 3

v.3 - I said to the king, “Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?”

John 2:17 - His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”

C. Bathed in prayer, even if sometimes it is done quickly – v. 4

Nehemiah 2:4 - Then the king said to me, “What would you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.

D. Motivates us to make God-sized requests – v. 5

Nehemiah 2:5 - I said to the king, “If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

1. Asking the king to release him from his responsibilities

Nehemiah 2:6 - Then the king said to me, the queen sitting beside him, “How long will your journey be, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time.

2. Asking the king to overturn his own decree

Ezra 4:7-8 - And in the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of his colleagues wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia…a letter against Jerusalem…

Ezra 4:11-13 - …“To King Artaxerxes: Your servants, the men in the region beyond the River, and now let it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us at Jerusalem; they are rebuilding the rebellious and evil city and are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. Now let it be known to the king, that if that city is rebuilt and the walls are finished, they will not pay tribute, custom or toll, and it will damage the revenue of the kings…”

Ezra 4:21 - “So, now issue a decree to make these men stop work, that this city may not be rebuilt until a decree is issued by me.

3. Asking the king to support the development of a potential rebellious and/or rival nation

Ezra 4:14-16 - Now because we are in the service of the palace, and it is not fitting for us to see the king’s dishonor, therefore we have sent and informed the king, so that a search may be made in the record books of your fathers. And you will discover in the record books and learn that that city is a rebellious city and damaging to kings and provinces, and that they have incited revolt within it in past days; therefore that city was laid waste. We inform the king that if that city is rebuilt and the walls finished, as a result you will have no possession in the province beyond the River.

E. Allows us to pray like our Savior

John 17:13 - But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.

John 17:15 - I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.

John 17:17 - Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

John 17:20-21 - I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Proverbs 21:1 - The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.

III. Prayerful Leaders are Ready

A. He thought through the time

v. 6 - …so it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time…

B. He thought through the steps

v. 8 - …and the king granted them to me, because the good hand of my God was upon me.

Luke 16:10 - He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much, and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.

- Have you ever been in a situation where you hoped something would occur, but for whatever reason, God has not allowed it to happen yet?

- I would be surprised if you did not have a number of events from your past that fit in that category, and at least one or more you’re facing right now…

- where you’re hoping something will occur, but for whatever reason, the Lord has not allowed it to happen yet…

- let’s start simple…

1. Let’s say your car is getting old…or your house is feeling cramped…you hope to get a newer car…you hope to get a bigger house…

- and perhaps you’ve been praying about that…not just in a “I’m going to ask Santa Claus to give me what I want” – but genuine biblical prayer that considers your heart motivation and your desire to make decisions to honor him…

- but even after going through that process – you’ve reasonably concluded your car is getting unreliable and maybe even dangerous…

- or your house is so tight it’s hard to meet even basic needs of your family…

- but the Lord has not made those purchases possible yet…

- would we all agree that there are certain extremes that have to be avoided when you find yourself in that situation?...maybe we would label one extreme…

a. impulsive impatience…(anyone ever been there)…

- so you buy the car without even taking the time to research what the new monthly insurance costs will be…(they tell me it’s more expensive to insure at 2018 Corvette compared to a 1977 Chevy Vega…)

- or you buy a house whose payments max out your budget so now you’re “house poor” – boy is it nice but a little food would come in handy from time to time as well…

- so impulsive impatience takes us to a bad place in situations where the Lord has not yet done what we were hoping and praying for…

- is there another extreme?...

b. Maybe we would call that – Lazy passivity…so the little old lady down the road calls you and says she needs to sell her car – and sure it’s 10 years old but it only has 12,000 miles on it because she only took it out of her car to drive to church on Sundays when the sun was shining…

- but she needs to sell it for cash right away because of some other obligations…besides, she has 3 more just like it so it’s time to sell…

- and it’s an incredible deal…but because you hadn’t even tried to save a reasonable amount of money, you have the let the deal of a lifetime go by…

- so the Lord did what you were hoping He would do but you missed the opportunity because you weren’t ready when He opened the door…

- impulsive impatience on one hand…and lazy passivity on the other…don’t serve us very well as we wait…

- now we could lay that same template down on issues that are far more important and consequential…how does this apply to…

2. praying about a promotion at work or a new job opportunity?...

3. the question of considering marriage or having children

4. what about hoping a friend or a loved one will become a Christian

5. how about a ministry opportunity…a serving position at church?...

- see, what do you do when you’re in a situation where you hoped something would occur, but for whatever reason, God has not allowed it to happen yet?

- now – let’s add two more ideas that make this more complicated…but also potentially more rewarding…

1. Every one of us is a leader in all sorts of ways – probably far more than many of us realize…

- so others are watching the way we wait…and in many cases are affected by how we wait…

2. Then there’s also this – who was the perfect model and example of waiting well?...our Lord Jesus Christ – who synchronized His plans and desires with the will and timing of our heavenly Father in ways that are breathtaking…meaning that if we can identify and take the right path in this area of life…we can take meaningful steps to become more like Him…

- that’s what we want to talk about this am…Characteristics of Prayerful Leaders

- with that in mind, please open your Bible to Nehemiah chapter 2…page 352 of the front section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- our theme this year is Being Careful How We Build…this spring we’re doing a verse by verse study of the book of Nehemiah which is one of the many fascinating stories of building projects in the Bible…we’re calling this Becoming a Godly Leader…because often the Lord uses godly men and women to lead some aspect of the accomplishment of His plan and program…

- I appreciate the work Pastor Aucoin did in launching this series (FW – and Pastor Birk for teaching the latter portion of chapter 2]…

- because we’re learning this was a critical point in the history of Israel…

- please keep in mind that the books of the Bible are not arranged chronologically…

- most of what we read in the OT occurred or was said prior to the days of Nehemiah…

- so let’s just take a little matching quiz based on just a few of the most important details Pastor Aucoin mentioned…

- I’ll offer 4 important dates in biblical history…and fore of the main characters in the OT…but you have to match the dates…ready?...

1. 2100 BC

2. 1450 BC

3. 1000 BC

4. 444 BC

- now let me give you the names, but out of order…

a. David

b. Nehemiah

c. Abraham

d. Moses

- please match the correct name to the correct date:

1. 2100 BC                      c. Abraham

2. 1450 BC                      d. Moses

3. 1000 BC                      a. David

4. 444 BC                         b. Nehemiah                

- so by now the Babylonian captivity is over…some modest attempts have been made to rebuild the city…but all of that was halted 10 years earlier when the king Artaxerxes, the king of Persia, received a report that the Jews were rebuilding Jerusalem 1000 miles away from his capital with a plan to rebel against his rule and reign…

- so in chapter 1, a group of Nehemiah’s Jewish brethren report to him how bad the conditions are in Jerusalem…and his grief and sadness motivate him to offer a heartfelt prayer of confession and repentance on behalf of his nation…

- then in typical near-eastern literature fashion…he throws a bomb into the story in the very last verse of chapter 1…oh, by the way, I was King Artaxerxes’…cupbearer…one of the most trusted and influential positions in the kingdom…

- so now what position is Nehemiah in?...where he’s hoping something will occur, but for whatever reason, God has not allowed it to happen yet…

- let’s see what happens next…read Nehemiah 2:1-10…

- so we’re talking about…Characteristics of Prayerful Leaders…and with the time we remaining, let’s think about 3 traits of men and women God uses to build His kingdom and further His will.

I. Prayerful Leaders are Patient

- now, before I go any further, can we all agree that it’s acceptable for a pastor to speak about something before he’s perfectly mastered it?...has a long way to go to master it?...needs to hear this all 5 times he’s going to deliver it at FE and FW?...

- now, there’s…

A. An important chronological detail

- please compare the date in chapter 1:1 with the date in chapter 2:1…

- 1:1 – the month Chislev, in the twentieth year…

- 2:1 – the month Nisan, in the twentieth year…

- so what’s that tell us?...probably not much, other than it was a different month…

- this is why we have pastors who work one day week…freeing them up to research stuff like this…so without getting overly technical – it’s a period of 4-5 months…

- that’s a helpful detail though, because when you read the last verse in chapter 1…

- 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…

- if the chronological detail at the beginning of chapter 2 wasn’t there – I think we’d assume that the events of chapter 2 occurred the very same day Nehemiah first uttered this prayer…

- but that’s clearly not the case – and we assume he was patiently praying in a very similar way day after day until the Lord granted the opportunity he desired…if in fact the Lord was ever going to do that…

B. What this tells us about the way the Lord answers prayer

  • Sometimes God says yes, sometimes God say no, and sometimes God says wait.
  • Hebrews 6:12 – So that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises
  • Psalm 40:1-3 – I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me and heard my cry.  He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and set my feet on a rock making my footsteps firm.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.
  • Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience…
  • John 17:13 - But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.
  • John 17:15 - I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.
  • John 17:17 - Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
  • John 17:20–21 - I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

- and what’s the upshot of that to people like you and me?...

C. God wants us to grow in patience and He makes such a lifestyle possible.

- you might say – that’s hard (or maybe – that’s impossible)…be encouraged with this…

D. What is the relationship of this to the leadership process?

- God was not just building a wall.  He was building a man, and ultimately a nation.

- obviously the Lord could have answered this prayer on day 1…or even before Nehemiah got involved, for that matter…

- but the Lord is honored when we exercise our faith and trust him for the timetable…

- Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe said – “Three statements in Scripture have a calming effect on me whenever I get nervous and want to rush ahead of the Lord.  “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14:13), “Sit still…until you know how the matter will turn out (Ruth 3:18 NJKV) and “Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).  When you wait on the Lord in prayer, you are not wasting your time, you are investing it.  God is preparing both you and your circumstances so that His purposes will be accomplished.  However, when the right time arrives for us to act by faith, we dare not delay” (Warren Wiersbe, commentary on Nehemiah)

E. Relationship to prayer

- the act of prayer is not conforming God to our wishes but conforming our will to His…

- [cf. the pastors in Medellin explaining that hit men would stop by a shrine and ask the virgin Mary to bless the bullet they were about to use in an assassination…]

- that’s part of what it means to pray “in Jesus name”

- John 13:23 – “…Truly, truly I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in my name, He will give it to you.”

- and that’s what we see Nehemiah doing in this book…

- and prayer helps him to relax…to conform his will to the Father’s…to trust Him for the timing and patiently wait in the meantime…

- is it possible that one of the reasons that some of us struggle with patience is because we’re not prayerful enough?

F. An opportunity to grow in Christlikeness

- how often do we see Jesus during His earthly ministry come apart from responsibilities and people to pray to the Father (which is absolutely amazing when you stop and think about that)…in places like…

- Matthew 14:23 - After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

- perhaps that’s why we often see such a clear focus on the part of our Lord on the timetable of the Father -- John 7:8 - Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.

- is there a possible take-away emerging from this passage for some and perhaps many of us in this room this am?...

- now, the 2nd trait we see in this text is….

II. Prayerful Leaders are Bold.

- throughout this book there’s evidence that Nehemiah was very authentic about what he was experiencing emotionally…

- and that could be very dangerous for a man in his position…

- but his concern for the plan of God and the people of God was weighing on him…so much so that the king took notice and asked him about it…and so, yes he was bold, but…

A. Even in the midst of fear – v. 2

- 2:2 – …then I was very much afraid.

- now what does that teach us about godly leadership?...

- It is perfectly appropriate to have some level of fear as you lead…that has to be true…

- Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

- leadership without that is doomed to failure…

- there are all sorts of legitimate fear…for example, if I told you I was too afraid to walk down the middle of SR 26 (FW – NW Ave) – would you say, well you’re not much of a leader?...I doubt it…(you’d probably say – that makes it more likely that you’ll live to lead another day)

- we don’t have enough information to know what was going on in Nehemiah’s heart at the moment…but we have enough to affirm a statement our former Pastor Goode used to like to make – Courage is not the absence of fear but the conquest of it.

- we might even go far as to say this – if people are not experiencing at least some sense of fear in the way they leads – that’s probably because…

                             1) they’re either reckless…

                             2) they’re not leading aggressively enough…

B. Where the focus is on honoring God and serving others – v. 3

- v.3 – I said to the king, “Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?”

- please compare that to what we read in chapter 1:3

- there is a sense of “holy boldness” that grips a follower of Jesus Christ when you’re sure that you’ve been praying about the advancement of God’s kingdom, not your own…and now you’re talking about/acting upon/seeking what will bring Him to the most glory and others the most good…

- selfishness shrinks both your world and your heart

- that was surely connected to the boldness of Christ

- for example, after one of the cleansing of the temple episodes - John 2:17 - His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”

- [please think about this for a moment – what’s the relationship between A and B? – fear provides an opportunity to check our motives – am I pursuing what I’m pursuing selfishly, and is that why I’m afraid…because of something I might lose/sacrifice…]

C. Bathed in prayer, even if sometimes it is done quickly – v. 4

- Nehemiah 2:4 - Then the king said to me, “What would you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.

- Nehemiah’s prayer life is fascinating…and I hope as all of us consider this matter of Being Careful How We Build – both as individuals and as a church – I hope one of the results will be a growing prayer life…

- we saw in the previous chapter an example of a more extended prayer…and probably one that characterized his life on a daily basis since he heard the news…

- what we’re reading here some have defined as more of a “telegraph prayer”…there wasn’t a whole lot of time here for anything more than that…

- but when you’re praying without ceasing…when you’re walking with God (like Enoch) or you’re “walking in the Spirit) as Paul explained to the Galatians…then a quick telegraph version will come out as just the natural course of the way your heart works…

- that too can fuel godly boldness…but what’s the result?...

D. Motivates us to make God-sized requests – v. 5

- Nehemiah 2:5 - I said to the king, “If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

- oh, is that all?...

- if you’ve ever read any of the secular business planning literature by Jim Collins in books like Good to Great and Built to Last what would this be an example of?...what he called – BHAG’s (big hairy audacious goals)

- well, why was this so outrageous?…

1. Asking the king to release him from his responsibilities.

- you may have noticed the king’s first question…

- Nehemiah 2:6 - Then the king said to me, the queen sitting beside him, “How long will your journey be, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time.

- did you also notice the other little factoid the author inserts right at that point?...

- “the queen sitting next to him”…almost like – honey, I know I need a cupbearer because being poisoned would ruin my day…

- but while we’ll learn later that the wall was built quickly, Nehemiah remained as governor for 12 years…

- but on any job – can you imagine having this conversation with your boss…I need 12 years of vacation…[Well sure -- anything else I can do for you today?...]

- and again – we don’t know for sure what he said – and perhaps he went back and forth…but whatever answer he gave was asking for the moon…but far more importantly…

2. Asking the king to overturn his own decree.

- see, why had the rebuilding project stopped?...

-There is some debate about the Chronology of this period but Artaxerxes is probably the one who stopped the building in the first place.

- we read about that in the book of Ezra…Ezra 4:7–8 - And in the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of his colleagues wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia…a letter against Jerusalem…

- time doesn’t allow us to read the whole letter although you may want to later because it’s amazing…

- here’s just a taste - Ezra 4:11–13 - …“To King Artaxerxes: Your servants, the men in the region beyond the River, and now let it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us at Jerusalem; they are rebuilding the rebellious and evil city and are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. Now let it be known to the king, that if that city is rebuilt and the walls are finished, they will not pay tribute, custom or toll, and it will damage the revenue of the kings…”

- [just follow the money..]

- and here’s what the king wrote back - Ezra 4:21 - “So, now issue a decree to make these men stop work, that this city may not be rebuilt until a decree is issued by me.

- now do you see why Nehemiah was afraid..and do you see how incredibly God-sized this request was?...

- what was the likelihood the king was going to agree to this?...most people would have bet on – Nehemiah is about to spend his last day on earth…

3. Asking the king to support the development of a potential rebellious and/or rival nation

- here’s a little bit more of what the opposition had previously written to this king…

- Ezra 4:14–16 - “Now because we are in the service of the palace, and it is not fitting for us to see the king’s dishonor, therefore we have sent and informed the king, so that a search may be made in the record books of your fathers. And you will discover in the record books and learn that that city is a rebellious city and damaging to kings and provinces, and that they have incited revolt within it in past days; therefore that city was laid waste. We inform the king that if that city is rebuilt and the walls finished, as a result you will have no possession in the province beyond the River.

- Remember the adversaries of Israel were attempting to gossip about Israel. While it is true that Israel rebelled against Assyria, Babylon, and later Rome, the adversaries were attempting to suppress Israel (and God’s plan). The report is biased. …”as a result you will have no possession in the province beyond the River”—That is not necessarily true.

- now Nehemiah is asking the king for permission to go rebuild the wall around the city he previously determined was rebellious…

- it’s incredible that Nehemiah would have had the audacity to pray about things like this…and far more incredible that when the time came – he actually had the boldness to let the words come out of His mouth…

E. Allows us to pray like our Savior

- using Christ’s high priestly prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, would we say that Jesus prayed about small things…or big ones?...

- that’s a rather tall order…

- this provides another set of take-aways, doesn’t it…please think about one of the examples that came to your own heart when we started this am – where you are hoping that something will occur, but up till now, God hasn’t allowed it to happen…

- and then layer on the two wrong extremes we discussed…specifically to what you’re facing…

1) are there any examples of impulsive impatience…trying to make it happen through sinful means…

- cutting corners, bending the rules…using your anger or the force of your personality to make it happen…whether the Lord is really in the picture or not?...

2) what about lazy passivity?...

- spending your time and energy being bitter at the Lord because His timetable isn’t matching yours?

- becoming envious of others who have what you wish you had?...

- quitting – throwing in the towel?...

- what would being more careful about the way you build look like for you in the here and now?...

- are you cultivating the kind of faithful prayer life that leads to these important leadership qualities?

- are you trying to grow in biblical patience as you wait…letting the timing strengthen your hands instead of frustrating your heart?...

- are you also believing that the Lord could work in this situation in God-sized ways – preparing your heart and life so if the Lord decides to move, it doesn’t catch you unable to respond?

- do we really believe…Proverbs 21:1 - The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.

- I’m thankful for the many men and women in this church over the years who have allowed the Lord to develop in them the twin traits of prayerful patience…and prayerful boldness…

- it’s amazing how many ministries that now make up the way we are trying to serve the Lord around here over which we could write the words – we talked about and prayed for that for a long time…often for years…

- by God’s grace -- “rushed and reckless” are not the kind of words that describe our church family…

- but on the other hand…we’ve tried to trust Him to accomplish things that only a powerful God could do…

- we often say around here – as long as the Lord is who He says He is in His Word – we’re going to be fine…

- but it’s possible for a Christian, or for a church, to be so cautious that they have essentially insulated themselves so that even if Scripture isn’t true – they have enough human insulation that it won’t matter much anyway…

- can I ask you this – when is the last time you dared ask the Lord to do something – for His glory and the good of others – that could only happen if the king’s heart is really in his hand?...

- a broken wall needed a courageous leader…any broken walls in your heart and life?...

- so prayerful leaders are patient, and prayerful leaders are bold…

III. Prayerful Leaders are Ready

- you can’t help but see that emphasis in the passage…

- this is one of the many, many places in the Bible when you wish we had the video…

- wouldn’t it be great to hear Nehemiah’s tone of voice right about now?...

- I wonder if he did a little fist pump?...

- I wonder if he pulled out a list?...

- in fact – this little point is just for my staff…the original Hebrew suggests that at this moment, Nehemiah pulled out his yellow legal pad because he was a Christian and therefore not overly enslaved to electronic devices…

- wouldn’t it also be great to see the looks on the faces of both the king and the queen?...or of any other officials who were watching all of this unfold?...

- but one of the clear emphases of the passage is – you never want to be in a position where God is prepared to bless you, and you in unusual ways – but when the time comes, you’re not at your post…

A. He thought through the time

- v. 6 – so it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time

- the man had a Gant chart…God’s blessings didn’t catch him by surprise…

B. He thought through the steps

- don’t you love what we read in verses 7-9

- I’m going to need a few letters…for the governors for the next 1000 miles

- I’m going to need a little timber if you could prepare a purchase order for that it would be appreciated…

- and then the end of verse 9 – we don’t know if Nehemiah asked of if the king just threw them in for good measure…

- I’ll need all the kings horses and all the kings men…

- don’t you love the summary verse – v. 8 – and the king granted them to me, because the good hand of my God was upon me.

- friend – what do you need to be preparing now so the Lord can use you the way He desires in the days ahead?

1. Being prepared by trusting Christ as Savior?

2. Being prepared by allowing trials to have their perfecting work?

- cf. James 1, 2 Cor 1

3. Being prepared by being faithful in whatever ways God is trusting you now?

4. Being prepared by seeking additional training/equipping/education?

5. Being prepared by planning what will be needed when the time comes?

6. Being prepared by believing not necessarily that God will, but certainly that God can.


Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video