DEVOTION: A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO SUCCESS IN LIFE!
DEVOTION: A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO SUCCESS IN LIFE!
Nehemiah understood a very important Biblical principle about success in life. It permeates the rest of his book. Let us look at a few of these:
When he inquired about those who survived the exile and about the city of Jerusalem, he got this response:
They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” Nehemiah 1:3
And here was his reaction:
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.Nehemiah 1:4
Take a close look at what he said in his prayer.
Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. Nehemiah 1:5-7
Notice that Nehemiah begins his journey with a prayer of repentance. Remember the issue at hand is the remnants that are in great disgrace and the wall of Jerusalem, which is broken down, and its gates burned with fire. But read again how Nehemiah begins the solution of these problems.
I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. Nehemiah 1:6b-7
Waaaaw! In order to deal with a physical problem, he first dealt with a spiritual one. Nehemiah knew that the reason they were facing these problems was because the Israelites including himself had sinned against God by disobeying His commands.
God answered Nehemiah’s prayer by granting him favor before the King. In addition to other favors, he was allowed to travel from Babylon to Judah in order to rebuild the wall. And with God’s help he was able to complete the wall in a record time, 52 days.
But now, notice what Nehemiah did next. In chapter 8, Ezra read the scriptures in public. While it is not specifically mentioned, Nehemiah is definitely the reason this was done. Read these verses:
Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:9-10
But on the second day of the reading of scripture, something was found that caused a revival in the land. Read it.
On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the teacher to give attention to the words of the Law. They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make temporary shelters”—as it is written. Nehemiah 8:13-15
The response from the people was nothing short of a revival.
So the people went out and brought back branches and built themselves temporary shelters on their own roofs, in their courtyards, in the courts of the house of God and in the square by the Water Gate and the one by the Gate of Ephraim. The whole company that had returned from exile built temporary shelters and lived in them Nehemiah 8:16-17b
Here is why this was a revival.
From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great.Nehemiah 8:17b
This led to a truly major spiritual revival in the land.
On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.Nehemiah 9:1-3
In chapter 13 we see more spiritual reformations led by Nehemiah. We cannot detail all these revivals in the book, but suffice it to say this: Nehemiah understood that in order to solve a physical problem; you must first solve the spiritual one.
1. Are you facing any challenges in your life? Is it possible that even though it is a physical problem, it has its roots in a spiritual issue in your life?
a. Pray that God will reveal to you this spiritual problem
b. But if you are aware of it, then, deal with it right away
c. You cannot live anyway you want with complete disregard of God and rebellion against His clear principles of Scripture.
2. Is there anything that you have been asking God and to date, He has not answered? Examine yourself! Do you have any sin that is hindering your prayers?
a. Remember Nehemiah’s initial response to a physical problem was a prayer of repentance.
b. I must mention here that there had been an attempt by many other leaders to rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem. But after 150 years, no one succeeded. But Nehemiah did it in 52 days.
c. What was the secret of Nehemiah’s success? He understood that you have to deal with a spiritual problem first in order to get a solution to a physical problem.
3. There is a good reason why in the Lord’s prayer that we should pray daily, Jesus included this:
a. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12
4. Notice also that a number of these revivals started as a result of reading or hearing the reading of God’s word. So you might think you are doing okay spiritually and yet you are not reading God’s word. Remember God’s word is our mirror. It reveals to us the sins that we need to confess before the Lord. You must read God’s word daily.
I have come to this conclusion that
God has a comprehensive approach
In dealing with His people
He looks at all aspects
Of their lives
A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO SUCCESS IN LIFE!
–Pastor Shadrack Ruto