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Monday, April 18, 2011

"The cart before the horse"

   It’s interesting the political rhetoric that comes up every four years with our elections. I can almost see the new crop of bumper stickers; and yes, they’re already available for purchase on the web for the 2012 presidential elections. However, with all the energy that is out there to make a change, either to the left or to the right, no change can be made from the top down. Even if each political party had its complete way, our political, social, and religious climate would be the same. Why? Change begins with each individual allowing change into their heart. Let’s take a look at Nehemiah.
   In the 20th year of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, (445/444 BC), Nehemiah was cup-bearer to the king. Learning that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down he asked the king for permission to return and rebuild them, and Artaxerxes sent him to Judah as governor of the province with a mission to rebuild the walls.
   Nehemiah 1:3-7, They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

What steps did Nehemiah take?

• He prayed and fasted. Notice he did not speak his mind, send out an email, write a blog, he simply prayed and fasted to the Lord.

• He reminded God of His love for His people. He repeated God’s word, the Bible, back to God. Not that God needs to be reminded of His covenant towards His people, but His people, Nehemiah in this instance, needed his faith built up in the Lord. Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

• He personally asked God for forgiveness before he asked God to forgive his people for their sins committed against God. Humility is always the best step when coming to God, and praying for forgiveness of sins teaches us our humility and reminds us how far we have strayed from the Lord and His commandments.

Part II to be continued at a later time.