Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

The Burden
Pastor Joe Bulman
Nehemiah 1:1-4
Have you ever received news about something that rocked you to the core? Something that you just can’t shake, you lose sleep over it, you can’t stop thinking about it, you just have to do something about it? I believe this is right where God wants all of us, right in between sorrow and passion. God has a calling for each of us, sometimes it is something you didn’t even see coming, but you know it is Him and you have to do it. It’s not enough to just be passionate or excited about, He needs us to be burdened by it.

Today we are going to take a look at Nehemiah and how he was burdened to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. If we allow God to use us, we will see that He has sharpened and formed us to do the work He has called us to do, no matter how difficult it is.

Nehemiah 1:1-4
Nehemiah, had never even been to Jerusalem, that we know of. He grew up in Persia and had somehow, probably through the gifting God had given him, found himself in a position of favor with the king. He was a man of prayer, he was a humble man and had a heart for his nation, the people of God. Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king of Persia. This was not just some little role to play. The king trusted his life to his cupbearer, the cupbearer spent a significant amount of time in the presence of the king and, as we see here in Nehemiah, he has a certain amount of relationship with the king. However, Nehemiah was more than willing to give all this away for what God had burdened him with.

1) We, like Nehemiah, have to find our _____________.

a) Why be _____________?

A burden leads to action, there is no getting away from it. It is one thing to have a calling, to be passionate about something, but it is a whole other thing to be burdened for something.

Moses was burdened for God’s people, the Israelites. Paul was burdened for the Gentiles and spent his life fighting for a certain measure of equality for them in the church, and Nehemiah was burdened, ultimately, for the reestablishment of Jerusalem.

b) Are you burdened _____________?

What is it that you just can’t let go of?

But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot (Jer 20:9).

c) A burden will either _____________ you in _____________ or push you towards _____________.

A burden pushes you to do more and to go further.

So, are you burdened? Is there something you just know you have to accomplish? If not, could it be that you haven’t taken the time to examine what is going on around you? Could it be that today God is saying, “Look and see what I have for you.”

Take a look around and see where the needs are. Are there things that you have written off that God has called you to? Listen, the Christian church in the United States is in decay and the only way to fix this is for us to stop playing games, stop playing church, stop judging the world, stop sitting on the sidelines and get up and do something. If we don’t put ourselves aside and become entrenched in the calling God has for us to the point of “burden” then we will fizzle out and lose our voice. We need to ask God for a burden, something we can’t shake. The only way this happens is by taking our eyes off of ourselves and putting them on others and ASKING God to give us a burden for our calling.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us---whatever we ask---we know that we have what we asked of him (1Jn 5:14-15 NIV).

2) Don’t ever _____________ out.

It’s easy to disqualify ourselves. Nehemiah admits in his prayer, in verse 5, that he is a sinner and is just as responsible for the sins of Israel as anyone else. But he doesn’t allow it to disqualify him, he repents and asks God to use him. He also doesn’t make excuses on why other people would be a better choice.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen (1Pe 4:10-11).

a) God doesn’t _____________ the most likely candidates.

Nehemiah at this point could have said, and possibly did, “God we need a wall builder, someone with experience in building, someone with experience in leading large groups of people.” But he didn’t. To the physical eye Nehemiah would look to be the wrong person for this job. He didn’t have building experience, he had never been to Jerusalem, that we know of, and he was a cupbearer, not a builder.

God didn’t need a wall builder, He needed a leader.

b) God often _____________ to go through things to _____________ for His purpose.

Interesting enough, God knows what He is doing. Years earlier the work of fortifying the city of Jerusalem was stopped under the order of the king, Artaxerxes I, because he was urged to do so by neighboring leaders. The only way to change this decree was to have someone the king trusted, ask to rebuild the walls. God had the man and had already given him the burden to see the job through to completion.

Has this ever happen to you? Has God ever spent time preparing you for a job that you never saw coming? Maybe that is happening to you right now.

God quite often puts us in positions, equips us with abilities and calls us to things that we may think we are not fitted for, but He knows what He is doing. We must be like Nehemiah, willing to go and do, willing to fill a position because God needs it filled, not because we are competent to do it.

c) Will you _____________ to take on whatever it is, _____________ you to?

God has called each of us and we have to accept that call, be burdened by that call, throw away any excuses, and take hold of that calling.

1) If you are burdened for your calling, what will you do about it?
2) If you don’t have a burden, will you open your heart?
My burden is: _____________________________________________.
3) Have you disqualified yourself and made excuses for why you’re not the person for the job?
4) Will you choose to take on whatever it is God calls you to?
5) If we allow God to use us, we will see that He has sharpened and formed us to do the work He has called us to do, no matter how difficult it is.


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