Sunday, June 22, 2008

Committed to the Goal

The good hand of God is on each of us. He has wonderful plans for us. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2: 10 NASV

I pray that I, that each of us, would be so committed to His work that we would persevere under trial, buckle down when we're questioned and stay the course when attacked or discouraged.

May we be like Nehemiah. He was a Jew and a cup bearer to the King. Nehemiah wasn't born into greatness, yet he became great. Nehemiah didn't pray for God to remove his difficult circumstances. Instead, Nehemiah looked for opportunity within his circumstances. He was burdened for the things of God.

Nehemiah learned the wall of Jerusalem was broken down and its gates were burned with fire. He says, "Now it came about when I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven." Nehemiah 1: 4 NASV

Nehemiah didn't stop there. He beseeched God. He interceded on behalf of the people. He prayed, "...we have sinned against Thee; I and my Father's house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against Thee and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which Thou didst command Thy servant Moses." Nehemiah 1: 6-7 NASV

Nehemiah was courageous. He was committed to the work and the goal, in spite of trials and regardless of circumstance. While rebuilding the wall he and his men were mocked. Others were trying to wage war with them.

Nehemiah says, "Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars appeared." Nehemiah 4: 17, 21 NASV

It's hard to carry on in the face of discouragement. It's hard to focus on the goal and what is truly important when urgent matters clamour for our attention. Momentary distractions perpetually exist. We often want gratification now rather than hold out for what God longs to give us. We need to press in and strive for the end goal.

Like Nehemiah, we need to be tenacious. He did not allow distractions of the moment to inhibit his goals. Certain persons wanted to meet with Nehemiah. They were trying to detain him and stop the work. Four times they sent messages to him desiring to meet with him. I stand in awe of his response. Nehemiah would not be detained.

He said, "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down." Nehemiah 6:3 NASV

Isn't that perfect? Nehemiah knew how important his work was. He had found favour with God. He knew he was doing the Father's work. He did not allow for persistent men to postpone his commission.

May we be committed, tenacious, and persevere, like Nehemiah. May we not get caught up in the minutia and neglect what is important. May we faithfully do what He has called us to. May we be courageous and wait on His strength to complete all He's called us to do.

"...let us lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,..." Hebrews 12:1


Belinda said...

Avoiding distractions is a huge thing in our lives.

I loved reading about Nehemiah's skills as a spiritual leader. There is much to learn from his excellent example.

Night Owl said...

Who exactly is Nehemiah? (Sorry, did I miss the part when you explained that?)
I just wanted to say that this post reminded me so much of my favourite place in the Bible, Romans 5. "...but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
I always read that (sometimes over and over quite a few times) when I'm discouraged, or distracted from my goal, or disappointed.

Belinda said...

Hi Night Owl,
You are out and about early this evening! :)

Thanks for pointing out that not everyone knows that Nehemiah was the cup bearer to the king of Babylon after the Jews were taken into captivity. Although he had a high and privileged position of trust in the court of the king, his heart ached for his homeland and the temple that lay in ruins. He begged to be allowed to go back and the king not only granted his request but sent materials to help rebuild the temple. You can read all about it in the book named...drum roll...Nehemiah!! :)

Belinda said...
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Susan said...

What is the goal anyway?

(Hmm. Maybe I'm supposed to know that.)

Night Owl said...

I think "the goal" is just what we need in life. It's different for everyone. But I think God knows our goals better than we do! :)
I can't find Nehemiah... is he Old Testament? I'm too tired to go downstairs and retrieve our Bible... Some Night Owl I am, huh? :) Tomorrow morning. :)

Belinda said...

Hi again Night Owl,
Nehemiah is on page 796 in my bible! :) Sorry; couldn't resist!
It might be easiest to look in the index, but he's just before Esther and Job.

Belinda said...
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Night Owl said...

Hi Belinda,
Guess who's on my page 796? Jeremiah 30. :) hehe... Their names rhyme! :)
Nehemiah's on page 486 for me. What's 486 for you?
Are you reading the whole entire Bible? I want to, too! Am I too far behind though?

Joyful Fox said...

Wow! I've been out of the loop! I've been busy and not checked for comments.

Susan, the goal is whatever God has you working on. For me it is to become more discerning with my words, to have a meek spirit with my children and husband.
What is it for you?

Thanks Belinda for sharing where Nehemiah is.

Night Owl,

I have been doing the biblical marathon and I am reading Job right now but should be in Psalm 51. I am several weeks behind. I have done this read- the- bible- through- in- a- year thing several times before. I'v never completed it in a year but I have always completed it.

Don't worry that you're too far behind! God is not concerned about our marathons, just that we get to know Him and His word.

Blessings to all of you!