The Passage: Nehemiah 2:3. Additional reading Romans 13
The Point: Respect God’s authority.
Today’s devotional is a one-off. It’s really easy to skip over the first part of Nehemiah 2:3 because so many interesting things are going on in the text. Instead, let’s take some time to contemplate the way Nehemiah approached the king. Here is the bottom line: respect authority because God grants authority.
In Nehemiah’s prayer, he spoke of God as the “the God of heaven” while calling his king “this man.” This shows us whom he respects more. You might think Nehemiah then walks into the king’s presence, thinking of himself as all holier than thou. Yet that’s not the case. Nehemiah says, “Let the king live forever!” and then goes on to speak of his burdens. Don’t miss it. Nehemiah isn’t some perfect person or professional Christian. He isn’t just trying to get what he wants. He is telling the king that he’s on his side. He respects him and serves under him. Just because Nehemiah respects and honors the Lord far more than his king doesn’t mean he treats him differently. In fact, it is because he respects and honors the Lord that he treats the king with dignity and respect. Who do you think has allowed him to serve as king?
We are far too quick to sit in judgment over who deserves respect that we fail to realize that we are merely children sitting in the true judge’s lap. Let God do His part while we gracefully and lovingly serve the ones whom God has placed over us as leaders. This is freeing because we serve a God who doesn’t rule us with an unfeeling fist but like an understanding father. We aren’t bound by our leaders here on earth. We have a Father who leads us so well that we can free our leaders of the responsibility to meet our needs. Take a moment to submit to the authority of God Almighty and thank Him for the leaders He has sovereignly placed over you.
- What do you think about the people you serve under?
- Are the ways you treat them based on what you think they deserve or based on how God has called you to treat them?
- How does Nehemiah give us encouragement in this?
- In what ways do you need to grow in respect?
- What is something tangible you could do for one of your leaders this week?