God Approves Of Walls Built To Establish The Sovereignty Of Nations
2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”
I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?”
Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
6 Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.
A Terrifying Truth
At that time in history, no one dared enter the king’s presence with a sad face. Everyone was required to smile. To do otherwise could possibly result in a person’s immediate and very public execution. God had placed Nehemiah in his position in the king’s service to further His purposes. He has done this with many others, including Joseph, Daniel, and Esther, to name a few. Even though Nehemiah tried, he could not hide his distress from the king.
Over three hundred and sixty times in the Bible, God’s people are told, with differing words and the same message, “fear not”. Nehemiah had just heard from Hanani, one of his brothers, that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, and the gates were burned by fire. Nehemiah was the cup-bearer to the king. He had immediate access to the highest human authority in the land. God was placing a very heavy burden upon Nehemiah’s heart. It so distressed him that he had sat down and wept, then mourned, fasted, and prayed to God for days.
So when the king noticed Nehemiah’s glum appearance and brought it to his attention, Nehemiah faced his fear and told the king of the burden that he felt upon his shoulders and his heart. It should be noted that just prior to telling the king everything that was on his heart, the Bible records that Nehemiah prayed. This is a great pattern for all of us to follow. When we have fear in our hearts, our first (not last!) resort should be to consult and petition the highest authority possible – The Lord God Almighty. We should do this even (and especially) when faced with the possibility of certain death, for this is the correct path to follow.
A Royal Request
Nehemiah, burdened by God with crushed heart concerning the situation that his people found themselves in concerning the land which God had sovereignly gave to them after the Exodus from Egypt, prayed to God and asked the king for a personal leave of absence to go to Jerusalem, his homeland, to rebuild the wall.
Not only did he request the time from the king, the Bible shows us that he was even more bold. He had asked for the king to give him letters of passage across all of his lands so that no one would stop him or impede his progress – he needed safe passage. He also asked the king to provide him, from the royal park, the necessary timber to both rebuild the gates of the city as well as the house that he would need to build once he arrived to stay in. Now that takes courage!
Granted by God
Nehemiah notes that the gracious hand of his God was upon him. And he was absolutely correct. Not only did king Artaxerxes provide him with the time off, lumber, and letters of safe passage, God sovereignly placed it upon the king’s heart to provide Nehemiah with a royal escort – something Nehemiah had not asked for. This would absolutely guarantee that everyone would believe and comply with all of the requests that Nehemiah would make of them on behalf of the king through his written orders.
When we are burdened by God to do something, God will absolutely ensure that we have everything that we need to do what He has sovereignly assigned for us to do. And sometimes when we forget to ask for something that is critical to our mission, God will provide what is necessary to ensure that His will is accomplished.
And in this case, God sovereignly approved of a wall that established as sovereign the city of Jerusalem. God approves of national borders, and the right of nations to determine who is permitted to enter their sovereign soil. If God believed that everyone should have the right to enter any place on Earth anytime they wanted to, He would have stopped Nehemiah in his quest to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Those who believe God and His Son, and whose faith is credited as righteousness, should take careful note of God’s view on the sovereignty of nations and His approval of walls to regulate the flow of people into their lands.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: When faced with certain danger, what is the first thing that I do?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, there is nothing that surprises You. You are the one who sets up kings and rulers in authority. All authority in Heaven and on Earth is Yours and Yours alone to delegate to whomever You choose. Grant my heart wisdom and discernment as I read Your word so that I would know and understand Your position on national sovereignty. Help me to reconcile any thoughts, attitudes, or opinions that differ from Your thoughts, attitudes, and opinions. Help me to align my heart to Yours, and to accept, regardless of how I feel, that Your ways are above my ways, and Your thoughts are above my thoughts. Father, I do not have the proper perspective of seeing the end from the beginning, nor knowing the disposition of every bit of matter in the universe at any point in time. Help me to accept what I don’t understand, and give me peace in my heart when You do not desire to provide me with answers so that my heart may be at peace when my emotions are trying to overrule Your divinely inspired word. Thank You Father for all things. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.