Nehemiah 5:19 – Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.
I have never read Nehemiah non stop, but part of our Sunday School lesson was to do so. It is very difficult for me to read the Bible for long periods of time without stopping because there is just so much good in it and I am afraid I am going to forget my thoughts and questions. So when the first thing I had to do was read the whole book without stopping, I did feel a bit anxious because I can’t stand doing that! I tried, I really tried, but I only got to chapter 5 before I just HAD TO stop and write down my thoughts. Here they are:
The only things I can remember somewhere in the back of my brain about the book of Nehemiah is something about a wall that needed to be rebuilt and about the Jews working on rebuilding along with packing a sword because of all the haters. I remembered that Nehemiah was a cup bearer and he asked the king’s permission to go and rebuild Jerusalem, other than that, I don’t really remember anything else. The book, up to chapter 5, talks about that a bit. It also gives a lot of numbers of who showed up and who did what. Nehemiah, besides being a great leader, is an A-type organizer, but throughout the book there are sprinkled these short prayers, like the one I cited above. AND I LOVE THAT ABOUT HIM! It is like, “Joseph, you and your family fix this wall. James, you and your family fix this gate. Mary, you bring water to this section. OH LORD GUIDE ME WITH THESE PEOPLE! Now, Thomas quit doubting the wall wont get done. OH LORD HELP ME! Miriam, she doesn’t hate you. She is just not feeling well. Go give her a hug. We need 480 more cedar planks for this structure. OH LORD REMEMBER ALL I DO!”
What a human. That is the best way I can describe Nehemiah. He was is so real. And in ministry I think that is so beautiful. These exclamations throughout the book just reminded me of how life is as an active Christian. There is always so much to be done within our church body. Women are hurt, children need homes, men are discouraged, finances are tough, jobs are lost. Then there are those who are sick or healing. And that’s only the spiritual. There is also the administrative and maintenance side of church life. And let us not forget those who are not yet believers. We must love on them also. Can you relate!? There is just so much to do and I empathize with Nehemiah as he exclaims a prayer and simultaneously an encouragement to himself. “Lord, FOR MY GOOD, remember all I have done for this people.” It is good for Nehemiah to let God know what he is doing for his people. It is good for us to see and admire the works we do in the church body. Never boasting, but as an encouragement. Lord, for my good, remember that children’s ministry is hard for me; but in my weakness you make me strong. Lord, for my good, remember how difficult it is for me to love my sister in Christ who hurt my feelings last week, but you loved me when I was still Your enemy. These prayers are so conversational and it is so great to have that kind of relationship with God. Can you just see yourself throughout your day, toiling, mortifying your flesh, struggling through sanctification and then bust out, “Lord, this is hard! I didn’t think it would be this hard! Help me!” Or you are looking out your car window and your phone is dead so it is all silent and you see the most beautiful sunset and then bust out “Lord, what beautiful things you make! I will never see those exact same shades of purples, pinks and oranges ever again! What an artist You are!
Involve Him in all things! Let Him know your feelings. He knows them, but something happens when we admit them to Him. We suddenly connect to our Creator. Yes, are there moments of long prayer times. Yes! And I hope we have them every day. But there are also lots of moments and seconds where we can connect with Him in this way. When we naturally respond to our circumstances by exclaiming a short prayer that reflects our emotions and heart.
It is good to remind the Lord what we do, not because He forgets or because we want acknowledgement from Him or others, but because it reminds us what we do, always remembering that it is the Lord’s work. It is encouraging to see the fruits of our labor grow or mature. We sowed,watered or planted. God made it grow. What a great collaboration with our Father and Creator!
In the previous chapters Nehemiah constantly gives God the credit and mentions how all of this is the Lord’s fight, doing and work . But what a beautiful thing to remember that He allows us to be a part of it.