Wednesday, October 24, 2012
confession as a path to leadership
let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned.
This was the prayer of a man whose heart was broken and burdened. Nehemiah's heart was broken over the sins that had led to Israel's exile. He realized that the reason the people were removed from their homeland was the broken covenant. Their sin had led to their current state. Nehemiah does not self-righteously judge others. Instead his brokenness leads him to own up to his part in the disobedience. He confesses the sin of the nation and owns his part in it.
Nehemiah's heart was also burdened. When the report came back to him of the derelict condition of Jerusalem's walls, he wept over it. God was putting a ministry vision upon him. And Nehemiah was close to the king. As royal cupbearer, he had privileged and intimate circle access to the king. He sensed the time was right to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city. This burden moved him, even in his broken state, to seek the Lord's guidance.
Sometimes God breaks a person in order to use a servant. In the case of Nehemiah, He filled him with a sense of sorrow over sin. As Nehemiah owned his own sinfulness, confessed and repented, God filled him with the hope of a new vision. And that became a driving dream and a life destiny for him. God can turn a broken man into an awesome accomplisher of His purposes. Nehemiah went from servant to leader. He went from cupbearer to engineer, to project manager, to governor of the territory of Judah. And it all began with this prayer.