2 Samuel 22 and Nehemiah 2 “What’s On Your Sleeve?”

Sometimes like Nehemiah and Timothy we face the same presence of fear which is revealed in our countenance.  While Timothy lived centuries later the advice is the same: 2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Four months into Nehemiah’s fasting and praying regimen he entered the king’s presence. Now either Nehemiah felt it was time for God to act and he chose to step out in faith or the king was just plain perceptive. Whatever it was, the king was alarmed at Nehemiah’s countenance.The King was very perceptive and noted that this one whom he knew personally had sadness of heart. Truly we often wear our heart on our sleeve exposing our emotions and making ourselves vulnerable. The King had the power of life and death for his servants—even his trusted cupbearer Nehemiah! But once the door was open Nehemiah did what was very ordinary to him: he prayed to the God of heaven.  Perhaps in his quiet time he had come across God’s challenge to Moses:  “Who gave a mouth to man…is it not I the Lord?” [Ex 4:10] Had he memorized those words for such a time as this? Perhaps. But, Nehemiah was saying in his heart; God you can do this; I am your servant! 

Nehemiah had studied the scriptures. He knew the words of David:  “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called to my God. From his heavenly temple he heard my voice; he listened to my cry for help.” [2 Sam 22]

What is on your sleeve today? Fear or Courage?

How often do you pray and think God is not listening? Do you think that what you are saying is falling upon deaf ears because you don’t see any movement from God? Nehemiah knows this principle: a key aspect of prayer is to listen, discern and use your time reflectively and then wait expectantly for God’s timing to happen. Like Hannah, Jeremiah and Daniel and many others, Nehemiah did not just pray once but many days—in fact it was four months before there was a breakthrough.  How long are you spending in a mode of prayer for yourself, your church, your country?

Like David in Psalm 5 Nehemiah began; Lord carefully consider; or pay attention to my cry. Nehemiah knew he was a servant of King Artaxerxes but his real king was Jehovah. Like the psalmist, Nehemiah came in a mode of repentance and a heart of repentance: “I am praying to you today throughout both day and night on behalf of your servants the Israelites. I am confessing the sins of the Israelites that we have committed against you – both I myself and my family have sinned.”

Use today to pray for yourself, your family, your church, your country. Use your time wisely. Spend time in prayer and “then wait expectantly for an answer” knowing that God rewards the godly and protects them with His shield.