Cup-bearer to the King


In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before,  so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”

I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”

Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.

I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah?  And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests.  So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me. – Nehemiah 2:1-9

Our God is the God of perfect timing.  He places where we need to be, when we need to be, around the people we need to be around.  He doesn’t miss anything or make mistakes in this regard.  However, we can and do miss these opportunities.  Our focus is on something else, or we move the other direction out of fear, but we miss the appointment He has set for us.  Nehemiah made his appointment.

Cupbearer to the king was a trusted position in the court.  He was responsible for protecting the king from poisoning and had unparalleled access to the king and his family.  Very often cupbearers were chosen for their attractive qualities, both physical and mental.  In other words, Nehemiah had a lot going for him.  His position and the manner in which he filled it gained him the concern of a very powerful king.  And yet, by Nehemiah’s own words was “very much afraid.”  It was Nehemiah’s willingness to overcome fear that allowed him to say the right thing at the right time to the right person.  God had moved things in such a way to place Nehemiah in that circumstance and Nehemiah completed the equation.

Parenting requires us to not only pay attention to the appointments God has for us, but the appointments He sets for our children.  We need to have open eyes and attentive ears to take in all that God is putting out there for us to see and hear.  We need to be in tune with Him so He can use us as instruments of His will and work in our children’s lives.  We will need to overcome our fears to keep our eyes on Jesus and not the potential risks of raising children.  And God will meet us every step of the way.

Lord, help me have the courage of Nehemiah to be in the right place at the right time with the right heart for my children.  Give me eyes to see and ears to hear when You are moving in the lives of my children.  Let me be an instrument in Your hands to draw them toward You. Amen.

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