Then & Now - Week of August 6

When You Can't Look Away
Nehemiah 1

For several months I wrestled with an important choice. There was a tough situation, spiraling out of control that I knew I had to address. The problem was that I didn't want to address it, because it might mean conflict. But I couldn't just stand there and do nothing.

I tossed and turned, trying to put it out of my mind, rationalizing my inaction as "not wanting to meddle." But the issue never died.

Then one day I read Nehemiah. I had always read Nehemiah. I had even preached sermons on Nehemiah. But this time, the Holy Spirit moved with in me and Nehemiah's dilemma came to life in my own.

Nehemiah had a good job and a comfortable position in the King's palace. Life was good. But one day, his brother came to him with a disturbing report about the condition of his homeland, Jerusalem. The walls of God's city were torn down. The people were discouraged. And previous attempts to rebuild had been shut down due to opposition or discouragement.

Nehemiah wrestled. But he couldn't look away from God's city. God put a passion in his heart to do something. After all, he was in a high and favored position with the King of Persia. That was no accident. God has placed him in a position of power to make a difference.

And so Nehemiah did. He abandoned the comfort of his good life, rolled up his sleeves, and led the effort to rebuild God's holy city.

It's real easy to want the good life. To look away from trouble or justify inaction. We don't want to meddle in someone's life. We don't want to mess up our own good lives. 

Yet here we are, in a position of power, to do something.

Maybe it's a friend who is making poor choices. You know they're headed down a destructive path, but you don't want to be "judgmental" and you don't want to "meddle." Only if nobody does anything, they will continue to destroy themselves.

It could be an injustice in your community that you have the power to right, only it will cost you something, cost you some goodwill and favor and maybe even some perks. But you can't look away. You have to do something.

Or you might have your eyes fixed on a mission endeavor, a particular spot in the globe where Christians don't live in prosperity like we do. You have the resources, the connections, and the ability to get involved.

Here's what I learned from Nehemiah. When God stirs your heart to action, move. And secondly, God will go with you. When Nehemiah went back to his homeland, he had the full power of the King and was surrounded by a well-armed cavalry. So it is, when we go forward for God, when we get up and do something, God goes with us. He surrounds us, He empowers us, He moves with us.

One more thing. The enemy also goes. Don't expect that because you're doing God's work that you'll get a free pass from Satan. When Nehemiah got to Jerusalem, he was greeted by the opposition, who worked day and night to thwart the rebuilding of God's city.

Satan does that too, but don't fear. Because if God is involved in your cause, He will go with you. 

Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at, or check out his website:

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