Written on 9/26/21 Same Day Event
I always sit at the back when I go to church. When I was little it was because we were little and I would incessantly beg my mother to tickle my arm while we had to sit there for the hour sermon. When I was a teenager, it was because our maturity had us giggling and horsing around causing the pastor to “Shh!” us from our mockery. As an adult, it was because I’m cool, I’m trendy, I have Starbucks, and we’re close to the exit. Today, I attended solo to grab a table so I can read with my open Bible and notebook handy for note taking. Who am I?
Our fellowship leader greets me as I arrive and says, “This one is gonna be a good one!” as he’s excited to start a new series. I enjoy the way he presents the material. Fun Fact: Did you know that Tychicus is only mentioned five times in the New Testament and was regarded as impressive and faithful and what the church should model for their elders. Tychicus means casual, by chance - that’s exactly how I would describe our leader. How refreshing. Go to the Resource tab and check out the Bridge for the link.
The new series is on Nehemiah. ‘Ok I hear you Lord, I will read that book next.’ That’s the second reference in about 24 hours to check that guy out. The first reference was in the book I was reading given to me by my grandmother, Forward. I’m getting quicker now that I’m paying attention to follow his lead. I wonder if the fellowship leader noticed I was buried in the book and researching with my phone different meanings as he was discussing how to mourn through Nehemiah’s first chapter. Here’s what I found out! Nehemiah 1:1 goes like this -
“1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah:
News from Jerusalem
During the month of Chislev in the twentieth year, when I was in the fortress city of Susa,”
Nehemiah’s name means comforted by God, Hacaliah means who waits for the Lord, Jerusalem means foundation of the God of Shalem, the city of peace, complete awe. Chislev is November / December in the Jewish calendar. And Susa means scrappy, scrawny fellow.
I just love digging deeper into what these hard to pronounce words even mean. So there’s almost like a foreshadow of Nehemiah’s story just by what these names represent. Going off the notion that our Lord is an intentional one, I have to believe he included Nehemiah's story on purpose. This is piquing my curiosity to learn more about the Jewish calendar too! After church, my father and I looked up any images of Artaxerxes who was the leader of that time in Susa and this was the only photo we found. I was hoping for Lord Farquaad from Shrek, but nope.
Nehemiah 1:2-3 says,
“2 Hanani, one of my brothers, arrived with men from Judah, and I questioned them about Jerusalem and the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile. 3 They said to me, “The remnant in the province, who survived the exile, are in great trouble and disgrace. Jerusalem’s wall has been broken down, and its gates have been burned.”
Hanani means God has gratified me or God is Gracious and Judah again means from Praise. I still can’t help but see this foreshadowing of the story, like everything is gonna be alright just read NEH 1:4-11 ‘Nehemiah’s Prayer’ on what not to do, then repent like he did, and it’ll all be alright. Awe, comforting. Touching briefly on NEH 2:1-6 it reads,
“2 During the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was set before him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had never been sad in his presence, 2 so the king said to me, “Why do you look so sad, when you aren’t sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart.” I was overwhelmed with fear 3 and replied to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should I not be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” 4 Then the king asked me, “What is your request?” So I prayed to the God of the heavens 5 and answered the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor with you, send me to Judah and to the city where my ancestors are buried, so that I may rebuild it.” 6 The king, with the queen seated beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you return?” So I gave him a definite time, and it pleased the king to send me.”
Every little thing, it’s gonna be alright! I just love our Lord and how he affirms the lessons for us to be better humans and remember to Trust in Him. So Nisan is March / April in the Jewish Calendar like it was time to Resurrect the city or something and Artaxerxes means the silence of light, fervent to spoil. So interesting isn’t it!? Like Nehemiah’s fear was false evidence appearing real because he’s treated like it’s the sounds of silence when he could have had an intense compassion to spoil and that he did by sending Nehemiah back home to rebuild.
One last thing I noticed during the message that I wonder....
In NEH 1:4 he describes his mourning for the terrible news of the wall with the keyword there “days”. We can assume he was sad when addressing the King that he was still in mourning. According to the calendar, it had been roughly four months since he found out and from when he asked the King for help, but can we also assume that it was a strategy? The Lord makes no mistakes so why does the verse only say days? I mean if he was at the time his cub-bearer, are we then to assume that it took Artaxerxes four months to notice the guy was sad?
That's a lot of assuming...
So here’s what I think - If Nehemiah had that much fear in him for Artaxerxes then I would think he cleaned up his act every time he went to work to be professional. Nehemiah mourned for days, just days, because any longer suffering in that constant emotion and you become depressed and incapable of wine tasting. Then, he strategized with the Lord on the Lord’s timing as to when he would find favor with the King to ask a grand request. Possibly building up courage and learning how to let the Lord drive, if you will, like Jesus take the wheel in all, thank you Carrie Underwood!
Moral of the story is to behave and obey, trust the Lord, and follow his timing, not your own. Patience because it takes time to learn the Lord’s voice from within and then don’t forget to thank the Lord on the delivery for the win!
Fun Fact: Did you know that it took only 52 days to rebuild the wall at Jerusalem? But it took roughly 120 days to build up the courage to ask for help. Don’t beat yourself up friends cause every little thing, it’s gonna be alright! Praise God!
Jeremiah, D. (2020). Forward. Thomas Nelson.
Photo Cred: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artaxerxes_I
Artist: Bob Marley & The Wailers
Writers: Bob Marley
Artist: Carrie Underwood
Song: Jesus Take the Wheel
Album: Some Hearts
EVERY LITTLE THING
Words and Music by
Bede Benjamin-Korporaal, Michael Fatkin,
Aodhan King & Ben Tan
© 2018 Hillsong Music Publishing
These songs make me think great minds think alike... probably because the same Great inspired them!