Tuesday, July 14, 2009

For Such A Time as This

Nehemiah 1:1 “…in the month of Kislev…”

I was recently given the honor at my church to do a daily blog for 52 Days. We are beginning a study of the book of Nehemiah and how God used Nehemiah to mobilize the people and rebuild the wall around Jerusalem in just 52 days.

As I was studying today, I came across something that was just so fascinating to me. I am very intrigued by God’s timing. So when times are mentioned in the Bible, I realize that there is a reason for it and I am interested to learn more.

In the Jewish calendar, the month of Kislev (or Chislev) is in the winter during the time of sowing and plowing. It is the rainy season (Ezra 10:13). The Bible records several different events which occurred during the month of Kislev (Zechariah 7; Jeremiah 36; Haggai 2; Ezra 9 & 10).

There is a common thread that runs through the events that occur during the month of Kislev. It relates to the struggle that many of God’s people go through during this season of the year. It is a season when the enemy puts a lot of pressure on God’s faithful remnant to compromise their faith and conform to the world.

And here’s an interesting fact. The month of Kislev is very special on the Jewish calendar. The Feast of Dedication occurs during this month which is better known as Hanukkah. (John 10:22-23).

The Feast of Dedication actually began after a small army gained victory over Greek oppression because of God’s miraculous deliverance. It is a time to celebrate. So it makes sense that the enemy would be working overtime during a time of celebration for believers in the month of Kislev. The enemy will do anything to try to rob God of His glory. And in the words of Beth Moore, “Isn’t it just like God to use a pitifully small army to defeat a big giant one?” When the underdog wins, God is the one to receive the glory.

Since Hanukkah is typically a family celebration, I wonder if that’s why Nehemiah’s kinsmen were coming to visit him in the first place? I can just get carried away in God’s timing of everything. I can just picture Nehemiah and his family sitting around the dinner table talking about what’s happening in their lives when the subject came up of what was happening back home. And then one thing led to another…

It’s all a part of the plan. There are no insignificant parts. The fact that this happened during the month of Kislev, I don’t think is insignificant. If it was, then it wouldn’t have been mentioned in the Bible. I think the month of Kislev and the events that take place then, provided the opportunity.

Nehemiah may not have even seen the opportunity coming. But God knew his heart. He knew that Nehemiah was the right man for the job. He had been preparing Nehemiah all along for such a time as this.

Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king. That's a pretty risky job. I don't think I would want to do it. Basically, his job was to go around with the king and test everything that was given to the king to eat or drink before the king ate or drank it to make sure it wasn't poisoned. So, that means if it was poisoned... bye bye Nehemiah. Yikes! But being in this position, the king had to have an awful lot of trust in Nehemiah because basically, his life was in his hands.

So many little details went into this that could have only been orchestrated by God. As I was doing my Daniel Bible study today for my Bible study group I'm a part of, one question in the workbook was something like, "What makes you put your hope and trust in God?" It's stuff like this. Seeing God's timeline play out in the past... whether that's in my own life, or through the stories of the Bible.

So cool.