Chapter two can be broken into five parts:
- Nehemiah’s request: The Derision of the enemy: Secret: Investigation of walls: Exhortation to Work and More Derision.
Nehemiah had several possible reasons to be afraid of Artexerxes.
First, the mention of wine before him suggests a feast of festival, which was often a time when mourning would have been forbidden. Second, Artexerxes was the one who ordered that the work be stopped in the first place.
Nehemiah throws up an arrow prayer and addresses the King. Here we have dependence and boldness at the same moment. What makes this arrow prayer effective is the four months of beating down God’s door for help. A short prayer at this moment of testing is made all the more affective by a lifestyle of prayer from day to day.Prayer and careful planning are not at odds with each other.
And Nehemiah acknowledges the Good Hand of God at work as Artexerxes grants him all his requests.
Which raises an interesting question: Would Nehemiah have said that the good hand of God was on him if God had said no? What does it mean to have God’s good hand upon you? Does it mean you will get a yes to everything you ask for? What does God’s good hand look like?
There’s a clue to that question found back in 1:11. Nehemiah prayers for the success of those who delight to fear God’s name. Which is to say those who find their joy in His commands. It matters what motivates you to serve in God’s Kingdom.
Nehemiah’s desires – His joy – is governed and shaped by God’s design, and Nehemiah loves to have it that way. Thats what the good hand of God does. God’s enemies, on the other hand, hate it that way.
Don’t under-estimate the power and deception of the enemy, but, don’t be deterred by it either. If your desires are governed and guided by God, you will prosper and the good hand of God will be upon you. Pray this way.
Lessons For little Saints…
- Why is Nehemiah afraid of the King?
- Why do the people outside of Jerusalem hate Nehemiah?
- Why are the walls so important that they should rebuild them?
- Why is God’s good hand on Nehemiah?