September 21, 2020
The Lord is With You
The Lord is with me; He is my helper.” (Psalm 118:7)
Friend to Friend
I’m not sure enough can be said about the goodness of God’s love. The psalmist celebrates it time and again in both Psalm 117 and 118. “For great is his love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.” (Psalm 117:2)
The more we know the depth of God’s love, the more courage we have to rise up in times of trial, confident in His faithfulness and strength. “In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; He is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.” (Psalm 118:5-7)
Confident worship like this reminds me of our Old Testament buddy Nehemiah. Remember him?
Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king of a land far from his home. (Which means he held a trusted position that allowed him personal access to the king.) When some old friends came to town, he found out that his people, the Jews, were in a terrible situation. Deeply burdened by the news, he wept, mourned, fasted, and prayed. He took the devastation of his people to heart and responded on a soul level.
The Bible shows us that Nehemiah prayed. (Nehemiah 1:5-11) He was pressed but not crushed. Like the psalmist, he knew of God’s love and asked Him for help. Nehemiah talked straight. He told the Lord he was sorry for the way he and his people had rejected and disobeyed His commands. He remembered the instructions of God to His people and reminded the Lord of His promises. Finally, Nehemiah asked God to hear his prayer, give him favor and lead his responses. (He was very thorough!)
Nehemiah’s prayer is a vibrant example of the way I should respond when difficult situations come my way. When my loved ones are hurting. When my homeland is unsafe and vulnerable to attack.
Nehemiah wept and mourned. He felt the feels. A fresh reminder I don’t need to pretend I’m “fine” when life hurts. Instead, I can do what Nehemiah did: cry. Be sad. Mourn. Grieve.
Life can be hard! And just because we’re Christians doesn't mean we get easy passes.
Thankfully, God knows sorrow well and is the generous source of comfort we need.
Nehemiah poured out his soul in prayer and began with confession. He reminded God of His Word and promises. He petitioned God on behalf of his people, asked for success, and asked for mercy.
And after Nehemiah prayed, the king recognized his cup bearer was totally bummed out and overwhelmed with grief. Boooyah! Nehemiah experienced the favor he’d prayed for! Then he had to face his fears in order to step into the provision God had for him. Here's what he wrote about it.
“I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” (Nehemiah 2:2-3)
Amazingly, the king cared! He asked what he could do to help, and then provided Nehemiah with everything he needed to go back to Jerusalem and help his people rebuild the ruins.
Nehemiah didn’t let fear hold him back. Instead, he took his broken heart and hopes to the Lord, then moved forward down the providential path God paved.
What has your heart grieving today?
Where do you needing healing?
Broken hearts and bruised hopes heal in the hands of Jesus. He specializes in transforming burnt down, broken situations into beautiful displays of His grace. He is with you. He is faithful, and His love for you is great.
Like Nehemiah and the psalmist, we can call on Jesus to be our Help and confidently celebrate His love.
Dear Lord, You are compassionate, gracious, faithful, and powerful. Please forgive me my loved ones and me for the ways we’ve disobeyed. Please bring redemption and healing to _________________. Pour out Your favor and mercy on us today and help me to follow Your leading.
In Jesus’s Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Nehemiah 1. Write out Nehemiah’s prayer, but personalize it. Visit my blog to write out a prayer of response in the comments.
If you want a personal Bible study plan but don’t have one right now, get a copy of the downloadable Psalm Adventure Bible Study Journal and get started today!
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