Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.
In Nehemiah 2, we have looked at four principles for handling difficult people: practice prayer, exercise patience, recognize providence, and be ready to make your petition. The fifth principle is this: develop a plan. In verse 6, Nehemiah wrote, “Then the king said to me, the queen sitting beside him, ‘How long will your journey be, and when will you return?’” Artaxerxes wanted some specifics, and Nehemiah was prepared to give them. Look at his response: “So it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time,” and then Nehemiah went on to list all of the things he would need from the king (vv. 6-8). Nehemiah had obviously been doing more than praying those last four months–he had also been planning. If you are going to see your God-given dream turn into reality, you have to have a roadmap that tells you how to get from point A to point B. God honors planning. It is not a sign of a lack of faith or a lack of spirituality–it is obedience to God’s Word. Look at Proverbs 15:22: “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.” Or Proverbs 21:5: “The plans of the diligent certainly lead to advantage, but everyone who is in a hurry certainly comes to poverty.” Nehemiah knew that careful planning was absolutely critical to the success of his project.
But all of the planning in the world cannot substitute for the power of God. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.” That is what Nehemiah did. Yes, he made plans, but look at Nehemiah 2:8: “The king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me.” Unless God’s favor is upon your plan, you will not succeed. But with God’s power, all things are possible. Nehemiah planned, and God blessed. He supernaturally worked in Artaxerxes’s heart, and Nehemiah went back to rebuild the wall.
That would have been a great point to end the story. But whenever one obstacle is removed between you and your dream, do not be surprised when there is another. That leads to the sixth principle: expect more problems. Look at verse 10 of Nehemiah 2: “When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about it, it was very displeasing to them that someone had come to seek the welfare of the sons of Israel.” We are going to meet these two characters over and over again in Nehemiah. They had a vested interest in making sure that wall was not rebuilt. They did everything they could to stop Nehemiah. Whenever you have a God-given dream, do not be surprised when difficult people or difficult circumstances come. That is not a sign you are outside of God’s will–it may be confirmation that you are right in the middle of God’s will. When you decide to declare war on things as they are–in your job, in your family, in your own relationship with God–do not be surprised at the opposition that comes against you. That is our enemy, the devil. But if Nehemiah 2 tells us anything, it is that through persistent prayer and careful planning, we can experience the wind of God’s favor at our backs.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How To Handle A Difficult Boss” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible®, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.