Today’s theme is found in Nehemiah 2:8 – “the good hand of my God upon me.” Providence is the unseen hand of God guiding human destiny. It is illustrated clearly in Nehemiah 2. Know that God is working now, even if you can’t see it!
PROVIDENCE ARRANGING OPPORTUNITIES
God is arranging opportunities for you. Nehemiah prayed and he waited. Between chapter 1 and chapter 2 there are four months. What was Nehemiah doing for four months? Praying! Nehemiah 2:4 says, “Then the king said to me, ‘What do you request?’ So I prayed to the God of heaven.” His prayer was not a long prayer. Nehemiah was caught up! He quickly asks God to give him the words and wisdom, and He did. God puts a premium on prayer and patience!
One day Nehemiah could hide his sorrow no longer. Why that day? God had been preparing the king’s heart. God is the God of the open door! He opens doors that no man can shut, and he shuts doors that no man can open. Nehemiah could only build when God gave him the opportunity. In Ephesians 5:16 Paul said, “making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” You cannot run ahead of God and neither can you lag behind. Be prayed up so that when God gives you the opportunity, you are ready!
PROVIDENCE ADMINISTERING ORGANIZATION
God had prepared the king’s heart and he granted Nehemiah’s request! God was in control. Where God guides, He provides. Where God directs, He protects. The king said in essence, “If you mess with Nehemiah, you are messing with me.” Nehemiah had God’s protection and God’s provision.
Every child of God has been sent by God. There is a purpose, a work for you to do for King Jesus. Nehemiah knew that he had been sent by the king and he had a plan. For four months he was not only praying, but he was planning. He knew the time he needed, he knew the letters needed to pass through lands, and he knew he needed a request for timber. He had thought it through!
If we fail to plan, we are planning to fail. Good leaders plan ahead. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). God honors good organization and planning. Look around at creation. God is a God of order.
PROVIDENCE ANTICIPATING OPPOSITION
Can you believe it? God sent Nehemiah to build the walls and the city, but there were people who were not for it! They were “deeply disturbed” over what Nehemiah wanted to do (v. 10). Paul said that opportunity and opposition go hand in hand together. “Because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me…” (1 Corinthians 16:9). There were those who did not like the apostle Paul. There were those who did not like Jesus. That makes me feel better!
Don’t ever think that everyone is going to like you. Anytime God is doing a great work, GET READY for Satan’s attack. Opposition will come from both the outside and inside. There will always be those who minimize and criticize you if you are trying to do something for God. The Chairman of Deacons at my first church was an older man. One day he encouraged me with these words, “Grant, anything that moves ahead will face friction!”
Nehemiah was a man of vision and vocation. He was prayed up and He trusted the providence of God through his opportunities, in his planning, and as he faced opposition. Rest assured, God is working and you are in good hands with Jesus!