Welcome to 2020! A new year and a new start. A chance to begin again, start over, refocus, or all of the above. As we move into 2020, I am focusing on radical obedience that brings amazing change in just 52 days. We’ll be spending the first 52 days of 2020 going through Nehemiah.
Day 1 – Nehemiah 1:1-4
The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol, that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem. They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.” When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah 1:1-4 NASB
Nehemiah’s story is amazing. And it starts here in chapter one with our understanding of who he is and the problem he is told about. Nehemiah is serving the pagan king in Babylon. He was part of the Jewish people that were exiled there after Judah was captured.
When Nehemiah’s brother brings word to him of the difficulty, trouble, and disgrace the people of Israel are facing now that they have gone back to Jerusalem, it is absolutely unthinkable to him. He cannot focus on anything else other than the terrible situation that he has learned of.
When was the last time we were consumed by a problem or a difficulty or a area that God is passionate about? Are we focused on the areas that God is focused on? Are we passionate about the things he is passionate about? Do we get angry about the things they he gets angry about? If we do not have that focus, then we are missing our opportunity to find our way to amazing and radical obedience.
The entire cascade of events that took place and is recorded in this book, begins with near Nehemiah’s heartfelt passionate embrace of a problem that he saw and of a trouble that the people were experiencing. When was the last time we allowed ourselves to be bothered by something that bothers God? We will never have an opportunity for amazing and radical obedience until we get angered by sin and disobedience and the things that anger God.