In What Nehemiah Prayed For – Favor, I submitted that favor leads to success. Success is pursuing and accomplishing the will of God. Nehemiah knew that God wanted him to help in having the wall and gates of Jerusalem repaired. When God has called us to do something, we simply need to follow Nehemiah’s process of praising God, confessing our sins, recalling His Word that supports what He has called us to do, and proceeding forth with the plan or steps God gives us. Where you are unsure, ask Him to lead you in His path of righteousness for His name sake.
Why was favor manifested? I proffer that it was for God’s servant who wanted to do God’s will. In Nehemiah 1, Nehemiah uses the word servant in his prayer 8 times from verse 5 to verse 11. The Hebrew word for servant is `ebed (eh’·ved) meaning slave, subject and worshiper of God. Again, I want to underscore the importance of the relationship one has with God in order to have God move and empower him to accomplish the will of God. How do we know the will of God? Romans 12 tells us “1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Therefore, the servant must be one who is offering himself/herself to fully to God and is actively being transformed by renewing his/her mind by adhering to what the Word of God says. Nehemiah demonstrated this in the midst of his circumstances. He and many of his people had been forced into servitude as they were taken from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. That empire was eventually assumed by Cyrus of the Persian empire. Notice what Romans 12:2 says about the will of God: it is “good, pleasing and perfect.” Experientially, it may not be good, pleasing or perfect to us in the midst of suffering hardships, but with the right mindset, one can see how good, pleasing and perfect one’s circumstances are.
Over and over again, we see God use people in an inopportune circumstance. From Abraham and Sarah, to Joseph and Job to Paul being an incarcerated apostle to Nehemiah being an enslaved cupbearer, God, when the person is truly submitted to Him and His will, uses the person to accomplish His will bringing glory to God. There are 665 occurrences of `ebed (eh’·ved) in the Old Testament. Review them and see how God interacts and supports the true servant of God.
It goes without question that you want favor. The question is whether you will fully submit yourself to Jehovah in order to God to place you in position to receive favor. I am sure that Nehemiah could not have dreamt the circumstance he found himself in at the moment he prayed about. He simply served the king each day in honor of his true King, Jehovah. In the ultimate cliché fashion, one cannot experience favor unless he is in an unfavorable circumstance. That being said, don’t be sad, hurt, and destitute when we are placed in unfavorable situations. While God has not obligated himself to do the miraculous in every situation, God, when His will dictates as with Artaxerxes 1, will grant favor to His servant who is seeking to do God’s will. Seek to do God’s will, and you just might receive favor.