The Ones Who Honor God

“The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”
Nehemiah 1:10-11a New Living Translation

Nehemiah was a man who saw a need and responded to the crisis at the heart of that need. He was serving King Artaxerxes as a cupbearer in the Persian capital of Susa. Many Hebrews had returned to Jerusalem, including, apparently, his brother. When his brother gave him the report of the condition of the wall of Jerusalem and the lack of safety for those who had returned, it caused great distress for Nehemiah. It caused him to mourn the fate of his family’s homeland.

Nehemiah’s first response to the need in Jerusalem was to pray. God had caused something to stir in Nehemiah’s heart and he was compelled to do something about it. Therefore, he turned to God in prayer. After beginning with praise about God’s faithfulness, Nehemiah turns to confession and identifies with the sins of his nation and his family. He doesn’t dismiss the sin as someone else’s problem. He takes ownership of the sins of his people. He, then, reminds God of His promise of restoration once people have repented.

Knowing that it is God’s heart to forgive the repentant ones, Nehemiah takes a bold step. He asked God for favor with King Artaxerxes as he prepares to present his desire to the king. He is confident in God’s character to listen to those who seek to honor Him, even when many have rejected Him before. Not all Hebrews rejected God now, therefore Nehemiah’s call was for the sake of those who sought to honor the name of God. In a sense, they would be the ones who stood in the gap for the rest of the nation.

As followers of Jesus, we have the opportunity to stand in the gap for our communities and nation, as well. When we see society around us reject God’s ways and seek their own direction, we can take the role of those who still seek to honor God despite the rejection of God all around us. In those times we must acknowledge our own part and repent on our community’s behalf. As we do that, though, we can stand confident in God’s character to forgive and desire to hear the prayers of those who seek to honor His name.

Prayer:
God, forgive us for the ways we and our community have turned our backs on you. Give us favor in our desire to honor and represent you to a world that often rejects your ways.

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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