We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

May I Ask a Favor? Part 2

Previously, we talked about what happens when you ask a Persian king for a favor. You can count on either being tied down in the hot sun with honey poured over your face or being cut in half.

Not only was it improper to ask a Persian king for a favor, but you couldn’t even be in his presence with a sad countenance; either approach would result in a cruel and painful death.

This background is helpful because it sheds light on the stressful decision Nehemiah has to make as he approaches a Persian king for a favor. Knowing the high probability that he could face an agonizing death, Nehemiah comes up with the strategic plan of the century.

The strategy? To pray–for four months! For four months he waits on God to open the door. And then, God does something unexpected.

Noticing the sad countenance of Nehemiah, the king confronts him. Now that we know the background of what happens when you come before a king with a sad countenance, this raises the stakes.

“. . . the king said to me (Nehemiah), ‘Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart.’ Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king . . .”

What Nehemiah says to the king is pure genius! Rather than asking for a favor, Nehemiah explains the situation back home–just facts. In response to the information, the king asks him “What are you requesting?” Do you see the strategy? God has allowed Nehemiah to ask for a favor without losing his life! And Nehemiah continues with his next strategic move–the Scriptures record, “So I prayed to the God of heaven.”

Looking for a favor? Our King invites us all to come boldly to his throne of favor that we may obtain mercy, to find favor to help in our time of need. In the Greek, this phrase means, “in the nick of time.” Prayer really works. All it takes is practice!

Published in: on April 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

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