Sunday, August 11, 2013

What Happens When You Make a Bold Request

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Sunday, August 11, 2013:  Nehemiah 1:1-3:14

Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”  So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”  Nehemiah 2:4-5 (NKJV)

Nehemiah made a bold (some might say "audacious") request.  The king had asked a simple question, but it was loaded with implications.  If Nehemiah answered wrongly, he risked offending his master.  That could have dire consequences for Nehemiah and his people, the Jews.  Nehemiah could have played it safe.

Before answering, he PRAYED.  Have you ever prayed one of those "arrow prayers?"  You're on the spot.  You've got to answer quickly and you don't want to screw it up.  "Oh, God!  Help your servant!  How do I answer?!"

Instead of making some half-hearted, self-serving, just-make-it-by request, Nehemiah asked for something that would require a miracle. 

Jerusalem, his original home, was in bad shape.  Over the previous several decades there had been a slow return of Jews to their homeland.  The Temple had been rebuilt, and the scribe Ezra had begun teaching God's law again.  But the walls around Jerusalem remained in ruin.  As a result, Nehemiah had gotten the report:  "The survivors who are left ... are in great distress and reproach.  The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and the gates are burned with fire." (Neh. 1:3)

Nehemiah asked for the impossible.  He made an over-the-top request.  He wanted his home city to have a massive wall built so the Jews would once again be safe.

So, here's the picture:
1.      There was a BAD SITUATION.
2.      Nehemiah had a BURDEN FOR SOLUTIONS.
3.      He had a make a BOLD REQUEST.

From that point forward, God began performing miracle after miracle.  Against all odds, the king granted Nehemiah's request.  He not only SENT Nehemiah, he also SUPPLIED him for the job!  Once Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, God enabled him to overcome every obstacle.  In 52 days, they build the wall!

It all started with a BOLD REQUEST.  If Nehemiah had played it safe, we would not today be reading a book about the miracles that surrounded his life.
Are you playing it safe?  Is it time to begin making some bold requests of God.  Here's what happened in Nehemiah's day, and what will happen for us, too:

1.      Take a good look at the bad situation
2.      Hear God's heart about what He wants to do.  That will involve His burden.
3.      Make a bold request that doesn't just bring a quick fix, but takes everything to a higher place.

Then, get ready for God to show up.  We are in miracle territory.  Jesus calls to us:  "Ask of Me!  ... that you joy might be full!"

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