Wanted: One Humbled, Repentant Heart Submitted to Serve God

The remnant of true worshippers of God, had returned to Jerusalem; just as God promised they would in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zephaniah. However, they met grave opposition.  Their streets invaded by people of many ideologies.  Although, they built their temple; it was openly an easy target.  The wall lays in shambles. King Artaxerxes had ordered them cease their building; because, rebellious oppositional forces sent a false, evil report to him.  Their only hope: to build a wall.  The wall: a symbol of hope, protection, national pride and that God was on their side; was desperately needed.  God chose Nehemiah, to build that wall.  God needed a repentant, humbled heart; submitted to serve Him, regardless of the cost.

We began in Friday’s post to examine Nehemiah’s prayer in chapter one, versus 5-11. Within that prayer lies key elements necessary for any Christian to go where ever God might send them to whatever task He might assign them, regardless of the danger ahead or the comfort left behind.  The first two of the seven elements found with Nehemiah’s prayer, I presented last Friday.  They are Compassion and Vision.  Until one’s heart breaks for the lost or the dear Children of God who face oppression; I daresay, no one desires to leave the comfortable place they reside in.   Ah, but when God opens that heart, fills it with His love and compassion for the lost; then, that one is restless until they answer God’s call.

Beyond compassion, they must also have a clear vision of who God is as the great I AM and a vision of His plan of Love to spread the gospel message.  Now, let’s look at the next three elements found in that prayer.

Conviction, Leading to Repentance

The clearer one’s vision of God becomes, the greater one’s sin appears. “Repentance is the keynote of the prayer. Although their God was great and awesome, they had disobeyed his commands. That divine greatness made human guilt more reprehensible.”17 Recognizing God’s just and righteous nature, Nehemiah turns to repentance.

I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.  We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses. (Nehemiah 1:6-7)

A truly repentant heart is necessary to come before a Holy God with our petition.  Only then can one understand the depth of grace with which God deals with his children. Deserving nothing, God gives to his children, everything.

Humility

Once a heart is broken by compassion, gains a true vision of God in all his glory, realizes the depth of his grace, and falls before him in genuine repentance for one’s sin; that heart can be nothing less than a humbled heart.

Humility opens a man or woman’s heart to give grace to others.  Realizing that without grace, no one can stand before a righteous God; Nehemiah had prayed for his people and his family.  He did not feel superior or prideful; because, he had a clear vision of his own sinful nature. “He humbled himself before the “God of Heaven” and confessed openly and frankly all sins of the nation, his own sins included.”18

Humbled, with a broken heart, he bowed before an Almighty God; Nehemiah asks for grace for himself and his people. He acknowledged his and their deserving nothing; yet, he pleads God’s own words of grace. “But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there” (Nehemiah 1:9).

Submission

The only left to do is to submit to God’s will; no matter what that might be.  No longer could Nehemiah be content in his former life as a cupbearer.   “Nehemiah is willing and wants to be used of God. But he is not running ahead of God; he prays about it.  He says, ‘If you want to use me, I am making myself available.’”19 The prayer changes.  “The petition, then, is not merely that I may patiently suffer God’s will but also that I may vigorously do it….’Thy will be done-by me-now’”20

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Look around you, God needs repentant, humbled hearts submitted to serve Him whatever the cost.  Our nation needs Christians, willing to lose everything to spread the good news of the gospel of Christ.  As well as those who are willing to stand in the gap, repentantly praying for our nation.  Our world, needs those Christian who are willing to leave their comfort and unashamedly proclaim the name of Christ to a world in need.  Are you that one?

DO YOU KNOW CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR?

If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Savior: I urge you to go to my page titled How to Be Saved by clicking on this link. Because there is nothing more important than this, I urge you to seek Him today.

OR ARE YOU IN OF NEED PRAYER?

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©Effie Darlene Barba, 2017

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned except for my own books.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

17 Leslie C. Allen and Timothy S. Laniak, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1995), 143, accessed September 5, 2017, ProQuest Ebook Central.

18 Charles Henry Swift, “Prayer a Vitalizing Force: The Lesson in Today’s Life,” The Christian Century, no 44, November 1, 1917, 16.

19 McGee, Through the Bible: Volume II, 506

20 C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm Chiefly on Prayer: Reflections on the Intimate Dialogue Between Man and God, (Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 1964), 26.

Copyright for the picture “A Broken and Contrite Heart” owned by RoninRon Custom art.  It is used by permission here; however, for information obtaining a copy or other art go to http://roninron.com/index.html