Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nehemiah 1: Passionate Prayerful Response

As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. (Neh 1:4)

I started studying Nehemiah with the other CalvarySLO KingdomBuilders leaders a couple of weeks ago. We finally got into Chapter 1 last night.

It felt like the chapter hinged on the verse above. Nehemiah just heard news that his fellow Israelites were "in great trouble and shame" (v.3) and verse 4 was his response. See it so moved him that he wept and mourned...for days!

We reflected on what moved us to such a passionate response and we all struggled. Mainly because we were ashamed of what really elicits emotions from us...sports. Yes that hit us all right between the eyes.

Sports will drive me out of my seat and wake up my wife when my team wins a game. Sports will make an "unemotional" man cry when his team loses. Sports will make the quietest man all of a sudden become animated when you ask him about the last professional game he saw live.

Nehemiah? He wept over his people who were in distress and being slandered. The Israelites who were under foreign rule and told they could rebuild Jerusalem and then later told they can't because of some lies told to the king.

This was no game...God had promised in Deut 30:1-5 that if his people turned back to him he would not only restore them but make them more prosperous than their fathers. This is what moved Nehemiah to tears.

The fact is sports are fine, emotions are fine. I think we need to see sports as far less worthy of our emotional investment, though. There are many people who are in "great trouble and shame." People that are in our sphere of influence and beyond.

God give us a Holy passionate response to the things that move your heart. May that passionate response drive us to prayer, a prayer like Nehemiah's...a prayer that leads to action. (Even jumping out of one's seat and waking up one's wife for a Godlier cause than a puck going into a net.)