Today's Verse

..."I was terrified." — Nehemiah 2:2 NLT

Devotion

Nehemiah, King Artaxerxes' Jewish cup-bearer, was troubled. He had just received word that the Jews that had returned to Jerusalem from captivity were not doing well. The walls and gates of the city were still lying in ruins. The effort to rebuild them had come to a halt. In response, he mourned, fasted, and prayed to God. He confessed the sins of the people, his family, and his own sins. He reminded the Lord of His promise to bring the people back from captivity, if they returned to Him and His commands. He also asked that God would grant him favor with King Artaxerxes. (Nehemiah 1)

As Nehemiah was serving as cup-bearer, the King noticed his sad countenance. The King asked him, "Why are you looking so sad? You don't look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled." (Nehemiah 2:2) That's when the terror he mentions in our verse for today swept over Nehemiah. Artaxerxes was an absolute monarch. He held life and death in his hands. Nehemiah had been a witness to his power. He knew that impertinent approaches to the King could have disastrous consequences. Nevertheless, he answered the King.

"With a prayer to the God of heaven" (Nehemiah 2:4), he asked the King to release him and give him what he would need to rebuild Jerusalem. Artaxerxes agreed. God answered Nehemiah's prayer and granted him favor with the King.

There's a task at hand that needs you as well. You've seen the issues and the problems You've seen what needs to be done, and God has placed a burden on your heart to do the job. That's why, like Nehemiah, you've been praying about it. You've been praying for favor with the right people. After all, it will take a lot of resources and help. The right people must be approached if the task is to succeed. If they refuse to grant you what you need, then it will never even get off the ground.

The trouble is, however, that the thought of approaching them terrifies you. They're above you in the pecking order of life. They move in circles you know nothing about. The thought, as a result, keeps running through your mind: "Why would they listen to me? Why would they help someone like me?"

When that happens, remember Nehemiah. Then, "With a prayer to the God of heaven," go to them and ask them for what you need.