Work and pray
Working and praying are mutually exclusive in the life of a believer. Man is expected to use both of them in his relationship with God. It is truly God’s loving duty to provide for his hand-made living beings. Man has his part to play by having to live up to the standard required of him to be able to get all divine benefits opened to him. For instance, Government can provide free education, parents are obliged to gear their children up to take advantage of it. The students have to yield themselves to school discipline, study at home and at school with parental guide all through the grade schools up to College level to be able to get maximum level of basic education for life. Symphony orchestra praying for good outing must do countless rehearsals for God to crown their effort on stage.
Nehemiah became sad over the destruction of the temple and walls of Jerusalem. He prayed and did fast until God answered his prayer through King Artaxerxes who, by divine inspiration, underwrote the expenses and gave papers to facilitate inter territorial journey. In Jerusalem, in the face of opposition, he and his men worked hard, prayed and were battle ready throughout, Neh. 2: 1-20. So also, before God could assure Zerubbabel that the rebuilding of the temple would be completed, he (Zerubbabel) had begun work with dedication and prayer. Zechariah 4: 6 says in his prophesy: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power but by my spirit”. Verse 9 was more profound. It says, “The hand of Zerubbabel, Have laid the foundation of the temple His hand shall also finish it.” Every believer must stick to praying and working like Zerubbabel did and got the backing of the Almighty God to finish what he purposed to do. These human acts of working and praying tend to convince God that a person is serious about his plan to achieve the blessing of God.
Love of Christ is love of God
Love locks the gate of hell against the lost loved one who the Lord used to revolutionize the spread of the gospel. This statement summarises the love of God on Peter the rock on which the Church of Christ was built, on one part Matt 16 : 18. On the other hand, the love of God figured out who HE had equipped mentally, psychologically and educationally with high-profile social status to lead in propagating the gospel to both the Jews and the gentiles. Saul of Tarsus was he that God was instructing Peter not to reject as part of his team (Jesus’ disciples) Act 10: 10-20 (NKJV)
It is just human for the disciples not to want to accept Paul based on the persecution they have been suffering. In view of Jesus earlier declaration that says: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” Matt 19: 26B (NKJV). God networked Ananias (who baptized Saul and laid hand on him to receive his sight), Judas in whose house Saul stayed for three days along the Street called STRAIGHT Act 9: 10-19 (NKJV), Barnabas in Jerusalem and lastly Peter. God told Peter in a trance that he should not reject anyone who God had cleansed Act 10: 13-15 (NKJV). It is the love of God, all must believe, that binds us together. HE, the Almighty God possesses the sovereign power to choose who to use as vessel of honor like Paul the Apostle.
What the Almighty God has done no power in heaven or on earth can undo it. King Artaxerxes under the impartation of divine love of God did send Nehemiah to rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem. He backed his authority with fund and ‘visa’ to be able to have free passage through other territories. On arrival there was ready opposition that tried to disturb and get the project un-executable in the persons of Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite as well as Geshem the Arab. Neh. 2 : 1-20 (NKJV). These people were so pissed off that they jeered at and mocked the Jews. They even went to the extent of putting up petition against the Jews with trump up allegation of possible plan to rebel against the King. They further planned to attack the builders who armed themselves in expectation. They never did because the Jews armed themselves spiritually and physically. Neh. Chs 3 & 4 (NKJV)
As it was in the days of Nehemiah, so it is now and would probably continue to be. The good news is: “but those who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits”. Daniel 11: 32b (NKJV)
As human as we are with our fullness and emptiness, it is not usual for one to see ones choicest creation or possession being misused, oppressed, abused and disgraced by others not so close to ones heart. The moment ones dearest possession cries out in anguish one must rise up in love to ensure alleviating the regrettable situation or total release from it. Nehemiah in exile and in the court of King Artaxerxes became sad because of the bad news concerning the gloom that beset the walls of Jerusalem, and even the temple. It was at a time when the princes and rulers of Jerusalem and Judah were in exile.
It is pertinent to stress that God’s compassion moved the king to see sorrow in Nehemiah’s countenance. He there and then set out to give Nehemiah the joy and happiness over what he needed most which neither hatred nor jealousy can spoil; Nehemiah chapters 1 and 2. Through Nehemiah’s love and total dependence in God through fervent prayers, King Artaxerxes sponsored the rebuilding of the broken walls of Jerusalem. There is none like God in showering his blessings with love over those who know HIM.