Friday, February 2, 2007

Nehemiah: The Man of God - Part I

1 ¶ The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,
2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.
(Nehemiah 1:1-4)

As I read through Nehemiah as part of my daily bible reading, I was really struck by the character of this minor prophet. He is the kind of Man that I could learn from in my quest to be a Godly man. So my next few posts will focus on some attribute of Nehemiah that I believe can help us as men in our roles as leaders, husbands, fathers, and sons of the Most High.

In the passage above, we see that Nehemiah was sensitive to the Spirit of the Lord. Now we as men tend to think of 'being sensitive' the same as being 'soft', but that need not be the case. When I speak of being sensitive, I don't mean that you like chick flicks and cry when watching them. If you do, you probably think Yanni and Richard Simmons are masculine. They're not. The kind of sensitivity I'm speaking of is the kind that Jesus had. We read in the gospels that when Jesus saw crowds coming to Him, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. He had compassion on them because He was sensitive to them and to their spiritual needs. Like Nehemiah weeping after he heard the condition of Jerusalem. He knew that wasn't what the Lord wanted for His people.

What about you as a husband...are you sensitive to the needs of your bride, like Jesus was to His? If you're not, you have an unloved wife. See, our wives feel very loved when we as their husbands and protectors are sensitive to them. Don't get me wrong, there's a time to knuckle-up and fight, and we'll see this later in Nehemiah 4, but when you're with your wife take the armor off and put the sword down, she's not your enemy. Or she's not suppose to be anyway! She is one with you and in covenant with you. She is the one who the bible says you should delight in and enjoy in all ways. She is the one that Paul told men to 'love as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for'. This means we are to love our wives as Christ has loved us. Sacrificially, completely, etc., etc.. This is not accomplishable without being sensitive to her as a lady, by not "living with her in understanding as the weaker vessel", as the bible says in 1 Peter. Your wife is like fine china, not cement. You be cement, let her be fine china.

So go ahead and try it. Try being sensitive to your wife. Try meeting her emotional needs. Try loving her as Christ loved the church. Then get ready for what's coming when the lights go out!!!