If you haven’t already, check out part 1 of this post, “Nehemiah, The Cupbearer Who Prays,” for some background!
After the devastating news Nehemiah heard, the king noticed that he wasn’t himself at all.
So the king said to me, “Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart.” Then I was very much afraid. 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?” Then the king said to me, “What would you request?” | Nehemiah 2:2-4
It was risky for Nehemiah to bring anything up at all. He worked for the king. Not that I really care about politics much, but to put it in perspective – it’s like Obama or Queen Elizabeth asking you “Why are you so sad?” My response would be, “Uhhhh, I’m not sad!!” And I would immediately smile to cover up any sort of emotion that may rub the president or the queen the wrong way. I would never want to worry them with what I’m sad about…they run countries and wear pretty clothes! Thankfully I have no contact with such people. And on top of that, thankfully the King I work for loves to hear about all my worries and sadness.
Nehemiah was taking a risk in being honest with the king. And even though the king didn’t know Nehemiah’s people or the place he was from, the king wanted to do what he could to help Nehemiah. Sure, cupbearer wasn’t such a low position, but still, Nehemiah was a servant. He served the king. The king wasn’t obligated to care about Nehemiah. But he did. That’s favor. Uncalled for favor. Not favor from the king, but favor from Almighty God. Who was Nehemiah for the king to ask him what he wanted? No one. But who was he to God? Definitely someone. God worked on his behalf as he spoke to the king.
Nehemiah’s first instinct after the king asked him a huge question was to pray. Are we drawn to prayer in the midst of a trying situation? Do we consult God for every little or big thing that comes our way? Nehemiah “prayed to the God of heaven.” Only after he prayed did he speak. As we seek God’s will and vision for our lives, He shows us His favor as we continue to make decisions for Him. Nehemiah wanted to go. But he had to pray first. He wanted to go and rebuild. He wanted to do the work of the Lord amongst his people.
And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me. | Nehemiah 2:8
The king gave Nehemiah the go ahead to go. More importantly, THE King gave Nehemiah the go ahead to go. Yes, the king showed Nehemiah so much favor, but I think it’s safe to say that the Lord is the one who made all of this possible. And Nehemiah knew that. Do we recognize when God is working? Do we understand that He pours amazing grace on us? Without Nehemiah’s humble heart, who knows what would’ve happened.
Nehemiah was the cupbearer who stepped in obedience to the Lord. Praise God for His vision that He bestows on us! Even through trying times and painful situations, the Lord’s plan prevails. Will we be willing to do what He says and to go where He wants us to go? May the Lord Jesus be our only agenda. May our prayer be that as He moves, we move and as He says “yes,” we act.
Up next, “Nehemiah, The Cupbearer Who Builds.”