Read Nehemiah 2:4-8
As cupbearer, Nehemiah was charged with risking his life every time he brought King Artaxerxes something to drink. His job then, as many of you know, was to taste test the drink prior to the King’s ingesting it. A poisoned cup meant a dead cupbearer and a safe king. At least that was the concept. Surely the king had to have some level of appreciation for Nehemiah and obviously he paid special attention to him because in verse 2 King Artaxerxes calls Nehemiah out about his sad face. Nehemiah explains the situation in verse 3 and herein we enter into today’s reading. The king asks what he can do to help. How marvelous that question must have sounded in Nehemiah’s ear. Many of us would have blurted out a slew of off the cuff potential assistance but Nehemiah sets a standard for us here, he prays to the God of heaven before he responds. Here’s the thing, guys, we all the time want God’s hand on our lives, we want Him to move on our behalf. We ask Him to do things for His glory in our lives.
Face it, we pray magnificent prayers, prayers that sound great and seem sincere. Yet, when our King Artaxerxes moment occurs, “What are you requesting?” the job gets offered, the incurable illness disappears and the doctors ask for an explanation, whatever the case may be, we just jump on the verbal diarrhea train rather than stopping and praying. We get to the verge of answered prayer and then we screw it all up by letting our tongues run rampant. Nehemiah allowed God to speak through him and no doubt he ended up getting far more than his feeble human mind could have requested of the king. We need to take heed, ask God to speak for, and through, us if we’re really trusting Him to answer our prayers.
Father, remind us to hold our tongues. Speak through us in the midst of answered prayer so that You truly are the One getting the glory. Please, Jesus. Amen.