I’ve been listening to a sermon series by a guy up in Seattle (Mark Driscoll)  that I am continually challenged by.   And this particular series is hanging onto one of my favorite stories in the Bible; Nehemiah.   I don’t want to jump too far into the story because I have a feeling that as I traverse this series with them I will spend more time telling the story because it has had such an impact on my life already. 

But to start the story off, I want to set the stage…  The Israelites have been scattered across the land by the Babylonians and they are being prevented from returning to Jerusalem and rebuilding the city / temple / kingdom that God had established.  They are there for a while – a long while by today’s standards…  Nehemiah’s working for the king as a cup bearer – he tests his drink to ensure the king is not poisoned.  So things are clicking along and Nehemiah is told about how the city of Jerusalem has been destroyed – the walls torn down, the gates burned and the temple eliminated.  Upon hearing the news, Nehemiah fell down and wept for days. 

Now I can understand feeling grief upon hearing your home has been completely destroyed.  But scholars don’t think this is the first time Nehemiah’s heard of this and beyond that, it’s news that is 140 years old.  Today, this would be like me telling you that Abraham Lincoln had been shot and you fell down and wept for days.  It seems to be a bit much and way too late… 

This is where I had my socks knocked off.  If this news isn’t new to Nehemiah then why is he so affected?  Driscoll points toward a change in his vision.  He doesn’t weep for Jerusalem’s status because he’s seeing it through his eyes, but through Christ’s.  Just like Jesus weeps for Jerusalem in Luke 19:41, Nehemiah weeps.  And then he does something that smacked me right between the eyes…  He did something!  He didn’t blog about it.  He didn’t complain about it.  He didn’t gather together his friends and go into seclusion because of it.  He prayed and prayed and prayed.  And then when he had the opportunity to make a change he stepped out and put his neck on the line. 

Guilty as charged!  But praise God, he’s extremely patient and giving me another chance to make a difference in a community and even within his church!