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How Then Should I Begin My Fast? Making God my go-to person

Nehemiah 1:4

Daily Bread #16

nehAs you begin a new day in Christ, may you find comfort and hope in the reading and meditation of Nehemiah 1:4ff. By the time you finished reading this wonderful chapter of Nehemiah 1, I pray you I’ll have a greater appreciation for the term “my go-to person.” Nehemiah was a cup-bearer and then some in the king’s court at Shushan. When news came to him that the wall was torn down and the gate was being burned, the text says, “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven (Neh. 1:1 ESV). But if I read chapter two immediately after chapter one, I would be tempted to ask, why go through the ritual of a fasting and prayer when Artaxerxes will give Nehemiah anything he asks of the king?

The best of timber was his. If he needed more gold and silver the king would be willing to provide those also. As a matter of fact, observe that the royal court saw to it that Nehemiah was escorted by soldiers, and not just soldiers, but captains of the army and horsemen to provide safe passage for an official who was in the king’s service. This is not an indictment on Nehemiah because he accepted protection while Ezra looked to God rather than the king for protection (Ezra 8:22). As my old professor would say, “when you look at the lives of both men, Ezra was the spiritual leader of a people. Nehemiah was governor – a political figure for the king.” As such, the spiritual leader would want to show his true dependence on God and not in the power and might of men. Nehemiah was “Governor Nehemiah,” and the king would want to secure the safety of a trusted servant.

So what is the point of the fast if Nehemiah could get all that he wanted? His faith was not in the king’s gold, silver, timber, captains and the horsemen. He was calling out to someone, God, who can make Artaxerxes and all that the king has to serve him. When the highest court makes a decree, all other established rule will have to follow heaven’s decree. Nehemiah was indeed a cupbearer of a mighty king, but his true go-to person was the “good God of heaven.”

  • The world creates multiple sources to go to when it faces a crisis.
  • All that a faithful child of God needs is One Source, God.
  • Our source doesn’t close on weekends; sorry, you will have to come back Monday. He is always on a twenty-four hour call.
  • We begin a fast by identifying a need. It could be a spiritual or a physical need.
  • I must have a deep sense of care about that need that it propels me to do something about it.
  • We then look to the Source, and I show how much I want His help and intervention that I am willing to give a half a day or a day of personal comfort (food, television etc. and let my attention focus on God) to achieve this.
  • My fasting and prayer will require purity, sincerity, and humility.

♦♦♦

Nigel McPhersonNigel McPherson is a minister at the Beltway Church of Christ, 3600 Davis Boulevard, Camp Springs, MD 20746.

The Beltway Church of Christ is located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in Prince George’s County, MD near Joint Base Andrews.

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