One of my favorite songs by Donnie McClurkin, Stand, begins like this:
What do you do when you’ve done all you can
And it seems like it’s never enough?
And what do you say when your friends turn away
And you’re all alone, alone?
Tell me, what do you give when you’ve given your all
And it seems like you can’t make it through?
Well you just stand when there’s nothing left to do
You just stand, watch the Lord see you through
Yes, after you’ve done all you can, you just stand.
As I began to think about the 9th chapter of Nehemiah, I heard Stand so clearly. The Jews who had lived in a foreign land had returned to Jerusalem, their homeland, and had worked hard to rebuild the wall of the city. They read the Book of the Law of Moses and mourned when they realized how far they had come from keeping God’s commandments. Nehemiah encouraged them by saying, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
After a time of rejoicing, the people gathered together for a time of prayer and fasting, confessing their sins and the sins of their fathers. They spent a quarter of the day reading the Book of the Law of the Lord and another quarter in confession and worship.
Then several dedicated men encouraged the people to STAND UP! As I read verses 5 – 6, I saw THREE STEPS IN STANDING:
1. Humble yourself and make His name great- “Bless the name of the Lord your God forever and
2. Remember and Celebrate God’s past deeds- “You have performed Your words, for You are
righteous.” Most of Chapter 9 covers God’s mighty acts in the history of His people.
3. Remind God of His promises- “Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and awesome
God who keeps covenant (promise) and mercy: Do not let all the trouble seems small before
God is great and greatly to be praised. He delights in helping us. Like a mother hen gathering her chicks, He desires that we come to Him, realizing our need and draw strength from him. He is our peace, our comfort, our everlasting Father. Let us boldly acknowledge the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the same God who is there for us at every turn.
All the promises are “Yes and Amen in Christ!” He has called us to rest in Him. Do you find yourself struggling, distracted, frustrated in your circumstances? If you do, STAND!
Next week, read Chapter 10 and meet me at the “Water Gate.” Let’s continue to drink deeply!