The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”
As we begin the book of Nehemiah, we find Nehemiah facing desperate situations. He has just discovered that Jerusalem is in ruins. They have no protection from enemies or safe place to live. He is heartbroken to discover that his people are in such dire straights.
Have you ever felt a bit like that? I know that when I began reading Nehemiah, I felt like I would never see a clean kitchen counter. I would never master tracking our finances. I was afraid the kids weren’t doing well enough with their school. I felt overwhelmed with everything. Even though my situation may seem small in the big scheme of things, it still matters to YHVH. He wants us to have a fulfilling and satisfying life. He wants us to have an impact on those around us, not be swallowed up by our circumstances.
What’s the first thing you do when you feel overwhelmed with everyday life? I tend to read a book, or go online for a system that will work better. I try a new organization system or begin keeping a to-do list. This new effort usually only lasts about two weeks, and then I fall into the depths of despair, right back where I started.
Nehemiah did something different when he met with horrible news. He did not do research on building stone walls, or seek the advice of others.
Nehemiah immediately began to pray to YHVH. He pleaded with YHVH to hear him, because YHVH is an almighty and loving Elohim. He repented of his sins and the sins of his people. He reminded YHVH of His promise to restore them from captivity when they chose to obey once again. Then he ended his prayer with a plea for success on his next action, even though he didn’t know what his next action would be!
If you are struggling with your family life, taking care of your home, feeling overwhelmed, or struggling with something, don’t try to solve your problem just yet. Don’t look for info or ideas or advice. Don’t look around you and get overwhelmed with your physical surroundings. Find a quiet place and seek the only One that can give you a solution. Pray to YHVH, the almighty and loving Elohim. Praise Him for who He is! Just seeking Him instead of others is a way to honor Him. Don’t hesitate to repent of your sins. Perhaps you have been lazy. Perhaps you have harbored a negative attitude about your lot in life. Confess these sins and purpose to not fall into them again. True repentance is turning away from your sin and returning to the ways of YHVH. Plead your case with YHVH, knowing that He will hear you. Then ask Him for success in your next step, even though you don’t know what that is yet!
When I took the time to pray in a pattern similar to Nehemiah’s, I knew it was the beginning of a new way of thinking. I was no longer seeking worldly wisdom and quick tricks to solve my problems. I was seeking my Creator and Designer. He knows the best solution to every problem. My solution will be different than your solution, even if we are facing the same problem. YHVH knows all about that! We can trust Him!
Spend this week seeking YHVH’s face only. Don’t look for solutions to your problems on the internet or in books. Just seek His face, with praise, repentance and confidence.
Next week, we’ll look at how to find out what that next step is. 🙂