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Ring of Truth provides 366 daily ‘proofs’ that the Bible is consistent throughout from Genesis to Revelation, and relevant for our lives today!

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Nehemiah 2:2

So the King asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid…

There are some things you just don’t do.

Especially if you are the cupbearer to the king. Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king of the most powerful nation in the world at the time. The super-power’s boss. He was not only the frontline bodyguard - he tasted the wine first to make sure that it hadn’t been poisoned. If it had … goodbye, cupbearer. But more than that, he would have been a close companion of the king and a trusted confidante, if not an official advisor. Like all powerful bosses, the king wanted always and only to hear good news and didn’t allow miserable-looking people into his presence.

Nehemiah was also an exile, so his position was even more precarious. He knew this only too well. But he had been praying and making his plans. In the last verse of the previous chapter, it reads, “Give your servant success TODAY, by granting him favour in the presence of this man” (1:11). He had decided that the best way of broaching the subject was to look sad before the king. Even during his fasting, he had not done so. The king knew nothing until today. But Nehemiah had decided to make his move now and trust God.

“The king said to me, ‘what is it you want?’ Then I prayed to the God of Heaven and I answered the king…” (v 4). I’ve often been told that this was an immediate answer to a crisis prayer - but it wasn’t really. Nehemiah had spent days working out his plan - laying it before God - probably revising it and expanding it as God put extra thoughts into his mind. This was no spontaneous plea for help. This was the execution of a thoroughly well thought out, detailed and strategic plan.

Yes, God does answer spontaneous prayers in miraculous ways sometimes. But God is also a God of order, not chaos. In Joshua 5:12, we read that “the Manna stopped after” the people ate from the produce of the Promised Land. The Christian life is not all about continuous miraculous experiences. It’s also about common sense. We do not have to turn off our brains in the Presence of God - just our pride, arrogance, self-importance and self-dependence.

God still seeks generals who will plan and execute those strategies for the extension of His Kingdom. Nehemiah’s instant prayer came from days of seeking the Lord - not only for the details but also for the right timing.

Can I encourage you?

Yes, pray, pray, pray, pray and fast but also plan, plan, plan and then pray and do.

Then stand back and watch, and you will see God respond with His miraculous work, which you could never have accomplished on your own.

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