The book of Nehemiah opens with him being informed of the condition of Jerusalem and the people of Judah. The people were in great affliction and reproach. The walls were broken down and the gates burned with fire. The city and the people had been in ruins for years now. Nehemiah 1:1-3
Nehemiah 1:4 reveals how Nehemiah was instantly effected by the somber report he received. He was deeply moved. Though not having seen the destruction personally he took it personally. He allowed himself to be impacted by the heart of God! When, if ever, has anything impacted us like this impacted Nehemiah. The condition of our own country, the cry of the untold millions, the moral decay all around us, the disintegration of the family, anything?
it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept.
This was Nehemiah’s initial and intense reaction. The
report he received created an image in his mind that brought tears to his eyes. He
was moved immediately at the thought of the people being in great affliction
and reproach and the city being in ruins. Nehemiah
had his emotions stirred at a very intense level. Nehemiah
was not a cry-baby! Anything but! But
here was a man that allowed his heart to be touched with the things that touch
God’s heart! The
fact that he was so stirred is probably the first indication we have that here
is a man God can use, because
he is a man of intense passion. We
are not a weeping people because we are not a passionate people.
mourned certain days.
passion was not a “flash in the pan”. His
was a passion that while quickly ignited burned continually. His
was a heart haunted by the images of a city in ruins and a people in
could not shake it. Maybe
we should begin by praying that God would give us a vision we cannot
vision that will not leave us alone.
fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
His passion affected his diet. His passion affected his spiritual priorities. His passion affected his focus. When
is the last time we were in such earnest we fasted? Not
for diet sake, or health sake, or medical procedure sake, or weight loss sake,
but for spiritual passion sake. To
ask it another way, When is the last time you fasted and prayed? We
don’t have many wall and people builders in our day because we don’t have many
spiritually passionate people in our day. It
is this level of spiritual earnestness that will get us before the God of
is the last time we were more concerned about being before the throne of God
than we were sitting at the dinner table? Fasting
is not a very popular topic in a land with super grocery stores and ten million restaurants. It
is not a matter or deciding not to eat but having a burden so great you
don’t want to eat!
Where is our passion for the spiritual! Or maybe a better way to ask it is, What ignites your passion? Is there no need so great we are compelled to weep, and mourn, and fast, and pray?