Editor’s Note: The AMI devotional from October 26 –November 1 are provided by Pastor Charles Choe of Tapestry Church.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. 3 I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” 4 Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” 6 And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. 7 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, 8 and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.
One of the most comforting truths for God’s children is that everything that happens to us, and everything that we do, can ultimately have a meaningful expression of purpose. Four months have passed since Nehemiah had begun praying about the condition of Jerusalem. Nehemiah was intimate enough with King Artaxerxes that he noticed Nehemiah’s burden as conveyed by the sadness in his heart. What was otherwise a crime punishable by death (appearing sad before the king) actually caused Artaxerxes to ask Nehemiah about his state of mind.
How was Nehemiah, a Jew, even in the presence of the Persian king to begin with? He was selected to be the king’s cupbearer, and one of his main duties was to taste the food and drink before the king would eat it. For Artaxerxes, this was personal because his father had died from being poisoned, so he would not have chosen lightly his cupbearer. And as the cupbearer who had the trust of the king, Nehemiah alone was in a unique position to influence the king.
Whether it is cup bearing to a king or a nine to five job in a cubicle somewhere, we see through the life of Nehemiah that God is always working behind the scenes, that He never calls us to something without a reason. He works and maneuvers to place us right where He wants us. So often we question why God allows certain things to happen to us; but as we learn to trust Him, we realize that God has actually positioned us. And when the moment comes, we find that it has been worth every bit of effort—our waiting time has not been wasted time.
Nehemiah reminds us today that God’s sovereignty is quietly at work in our lives. In what we might call coincidences, insignificant events, we can be confident that God can and will use it for our good.
Consider the ordinariness of your life; know today that God has placed you. What you are doing, where you are located at this point in your life, it is no accident. You may not know what God is up to behind the scenes of your life, but you are positioned. It may be difficult to see the connection now; but in time, it will come together.
Bible Reading for Today: Haggai 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 8:28-30
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
Questions to Consider
- What is required for God to act in our interest, for our good according to verse 28?
- In verse 29, we are told that God “foreknew” us and that God “predestined” us? What is the aim of God knowing us and choosing us?
- Paul tells us we are predestined by God, not to be theologically controversial, but to show us the strength and security of God’s love. Does the word “predestination” bother or comfort you?
- We need to love God; making that as the ultimate goal of our life is what’s for our best interest.
- To be conformed to the image of God.
“Success comes when a thousand hours of preparation meet one moment of opportunity.” – Anonymous