Sunday, August 13, 2017

Planning Our Way

O. T. #1041  "Planning Our Way"
August 14, 2017
Nehemiah 2-Part 3


Planning for our future is good. We plan our education, job, family, community, retirement. But, do we get so busy planning our way that we leave behind God's way? Without His power and blessings, we will fail.

Nehemiah had done more than pray in his closet for 4 months. He had been planning, which as an exercise of faith. He was so sure God would let him go to Jerusalem that Nehemiah drew up an agenda in case the king asked him how much leave of absence he would need. The presence of faith does not mean the absence of organization.

Proverbs 16:9 tells us,  The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

So it pleased the king to send me. (verse 6)

Nehemiah made preparations for the long journey to Jerusalem.  When the king asked how he could help, Nehemiah requested letters. These were necessary in order for him to safely pass through the territory of the Persian governors west of the Euphrates River. He would need a large military escort which did not pose a threat to the local governors. Also, he need to secure materials from the king's forest.

God stirred the heart of the king and such requests were granted. This cupbearer was on his way to being a chief bricklayer and a governor.

In Swindoll's book,Hand Me another Brick, he gives us 4 principles for getting started God's way:
  1. Changing a heart is God's specialty. Don't try to manipulate people, play games, plan schemes, trick, or deceive them. Instead, tell God on them!
  2. Praying and waiting go hand in hand. Learn to pray and wait, letting God take charge.
  3. Faith is not a synonym for disorder o a substitute for careful planning. Organize a plan of action while waiting on God to work.
  4. Opposition is o be expected when God's will is carried out. Following God's will usually involves at least one person in opposition. Press on and execute God's plan His way.


Scripture does not record anything about Nehemiah's journey to Jerusalem. From the capital of Susa, it could have taken 2-3 months. Obviously he had success in the territories through which he traveled. Once he arrived in Jerusalem, events began to happen rather quickly. Opposition was about to greet him. Of course, this had been going on 90 years as the building of Jerusalem was opposed by those who settled there while the Jews were in captivity.

Two officials, Sanballat and Tobiah, heard what was doing on in their region. They were very angry at the new governor, Nehemiah, being appointed in Jerusalem. (verse 10) What a welcome wagon.

A discovered ancient letter said that Sanballat was governor of that district, which he was from, Beth Horan, located some 12-18 miles from Jerusalem.
Now, Tobiah was either a governor of Ammon or else a high official who served under Sanballat.  Tobiah was married to the daughter of Shecaniah, one of Nehemiah's workers. His son was married to one of the daughters of Nehemiah's supervisors, Meshullam.  Also, Tobiah was closely related to the High Priest Eliashib. Both of these officials served under the authority of King Artaxerxes.
(The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible)

Obviously Nehemiah was a political threat to those two men. They feared loosing their power, authority, and influence over the people. Unfortunately, I have found this to be true in churches. When new people come in, those in control fear loosing their power. The shifting is not pleasant.

Are we serving God or our self? If we oppose God's work, there is a heart problem. Unity is important as we work together spreading the gospel of Jesus and teach His Word.

                     ... of my plans and ask God what His plans for my life are.
                                ... and ask God to direct my plans and steps.
                                ... and realize opposition will be waiting.
                                ... submitting to God's will, giving Him glory.

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