4 The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’ Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, ‘If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favour in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.’ NIV
How amazing when the king says, ‘’What is it you want?’’
Well, Nehemiah knew. He’d had time to think everything through carefully. He had not only prayed; he had also planned. Some people plan without praying; some people pray without planning. Nehemiah did both! He recognised that in God’s work, these two are not ‘singles’; they are married!!
Artaxerxes, rich and powerful as he was, also happened to be limited and human. But how wonderful that our Almighty Heavenly King, who is unlimited and divine, bids us come and ask of Him. (See Hebrews 4:14-16. The word ‘’boldly’’ in verse 16 means ‘freedom of speech’).
‘Thou art coming to a King, large petitions with thee bring; For His grace and power are such, none can ever ask too much.’
Warren Wiersbe says of Nehemiah: ‘He was not content merely to get answers to prayer: he wanted to be an answer to prayer.’ (From ‘With the Word’).
In his Old Testament commentary, Wiersbe also writes:
‘The king’s cupbearer would also have to sacrifice the comfort and security of the palace for the rigours and dangers of life in a ruined city. Luxury would be replaced by ruins, and privilege by ridicule and slander. Instead of sharing the king’s bounties, Nehemiah would potentially pay for the upkeep of scores of people who would eat at his table. He would leave behind the ease of the palace and take up the toils of encouraging a beaten people and finishing an almost impossible task.’ (P.755).
Like Isaiah, he was saying, ‘’Here am I. Send me! (Isaiah 6:8).
In His willingness to go, he reminds us of Jesus, who sacrificed more than anyone to get God’s will done on earth, as in heaven (See Philippians 2:1-11).
PRAYER: ‘I will go Lord, if you send me. I will hold your people in my heart’.