(With all this campaign madness, I drifted dreamily back to this oldie—hoping…and praying)
I have long admired the great man of prayer and encouragement, Nehemiah. Upon closer examination, one also realizes that he was not only the king's subject, God's servant, or even a minister of the repatriates; he was a great political leader.
At such a time as this,
America sure could use one such as he. Not only does his character model leadership for our government, but our churches as well. He led the wayward exiles to confession, hearing and obeying God's Word, recommitment to covenant, and spiritual renewal.
The "gracious hand of God was upon him" (Neh 2:18) as he systematically set about successful reformation. The text records a list of roles that he filled beyond builder, in the span of this major reconstruction - all the while dependent upon God through prayer.
I see Nehemiah as:
- Intercessor (4:4ff)
- Defender (5:6ff; 13:6 ff)
- Host and Quartermaster (5:17ff)
- Registrar (7:5ff)
- Governor (8:9)
- Sabbath-Guard (13:15ff)
- Priest-Purifier (13:28ff)
That's a lot of hats to wear! What I find remarkable is that after approximately 12 years of working and leading this rebuilding project, he humbly returned to serve the king once more.
I sense from the text that at this time the atmosphere was super-charged by the very Spirit of God. I want that for
America . . . and beyond!
Would you join me in confession on behalf of the
U.S. – using the words Nehemiah prayed?
O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your [people of America]. I confess the sins we [Americans], including myself and my father's house, 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. They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. [Neh 1:5-7, 10-11a adapted]
Raise up for us leaders such a Nehemiah in this day, Lord. Bring about renewal to honor the sacred covenant of Christ for Your name sake and for Your glory. In Jesus our Lord, Amen.
Edited from the Archives
(for such a time as this)