Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 1:1-2:20 / Revelation 16:1-21 / Psalm 147:1-11
Interested in going to Mars? A Dutch company is planning to send four lucky people to colonize the planet of Mars. An unmanned launch is planned for 2018 in order to study and establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. After a few years of study and testing, the four space travellers are scheduled to land on Mars in 2025. The only difficulty with the trip…the travelers will never return to earth!
This has not diminished response for the trip as more than 200,000 enthusiastic people, since April 2013, have signed up for the maiden journey. They are not concerned about never returning to the earth and living the rest of their lives on Mars. You can say that they are on a mission that is out of this world!
Nehemiah was also on a mission, “I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem.” (Nehemiah 2:12) Nehemiah’s mission would only take him 900 miles away but the impact of it would surpass that of Mars to the end of the heavens.
Nehemiah’s journey started in Persia, as he was the cupbearer of King Artaxerxes I. He had a position of honor and influence. Nehemiah was a trusted and respected officer. Life was going well for Nehemiah until he inquired about the exiles that had returned to Jerusalem. He was told that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, the gates were burned and the city was a waste. Nehemiah grieved. He wept, mourned, prayed and fasted over the devastation of the Holy City.
His heart was deeply moved and his face, as well as his disposition, reflected his sorrow. Nehemiah’s grief lasted many days and he carried the burden of the city deep within his spirit. He understood the significance of the broken walls as reflective of God’s judgment and wrath upon Israel’s sin. They had broken their covenant with God and Nehemiah was moved to repentance on behalf of his people.
Nehemiah found favor in the eyes of the king and was commissioned by Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem. Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem and surveys the city by night. He takes a few men with him as he inspects the burned gates and crumbled walls. Nehemiah was silent about his plans because he would encounter opposition. He was calculating and wise because that which God had laid upon his heart was all-important and divinely appointed.
When God places dreams, directions and a calling upon our life, we cannot help but lay everything else down for the supremacy of His plan for our lives. Nehemiah was consumed with his mission and was willing to risk everything and give everything to see the walls of Jerusalem rebuilt. If 200,000 are willing to die for a mission to Mars, are we willing to die for an eternal and divine mission? God doesn’t necessarily ask us to die for His cause…just live for it! What’s your mission?