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The Two Sides of Favor

Nehemiah 13:30-31

So I purified them from everything foreign and assigned specific duties to each of the priests and Levites. I also arranged for the donation of wood at the appointed times and for the firstfruits. Remember me, my God, with favor.

Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem from his job as cupbearer to the Persian king, Artaxerxes, to rebuild the wall. He had surveyed the city at night to determine how to rebuild, and he stationed families together at different places in the wall to build and repair. He had faced threats of attack and instructed the people to fight with one hand and build with the other. He successfully completed the wall in only 52 days and brought Ezra to the building celebration to read the Book of the Law. He led the people in national repentance and dedicated the wall and the city to God. He established the financial support of the Levites and worship leaders from among the people and instituted reforms among the people, as were required by the law. He did everything he knew to rebuild Jerusalem according to God’s command, including the removal of all foreign gods and attachments and the re-institution of tithes and offerings. Once he did all he knew to do, he asked God to remember him with favor.

Nehemiah was a very wise and gifted administrator, but even at his best, he still required God’s favor to succeed. Our best efforts amount to nothing without the favor of God. We cannot rely upon talent alone to do what God has called us to do. We must depend upon His favor to complete the work He has begun in us, according to Philippians 1:6.

There is another side to this coin of favor that we must also consider. Nehemiah did all he knew to do, then he asked God for favor. We cannot depend upon God’s favor alone when He has clearly told us to do something. We must do what He has instructed us to do, knowing that His favor will follow. God’s favor works in conjunction with the work of our hands. If we fail to put our hand to the work, His favor waits until we do.

If you have done all you know to do in a matter, trust God’s hand of favor to act on your behalf. If God has told you to do something, don’t expect His favor to eliminate your responsibility to obey. While you are waiting on Him to move, He may very well be waiting for you. Know that His favor follows obedience, and He will intervene for you. Simply do what you know to do, and trust God with the rest.

Have a blessed day!

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