by Paul Nyquist



“The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah:  In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace.  The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”  When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.  For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”
Nehemiah 1:1-4

In April 2011, an airliner crashed near the western edge of Russia. Ninety–six people lost their lives in that airplane crash. This was a tremendous tragedy, but what is more, the dead included Poland’s president, his wife, and many top military and political leaders of that country.

In one brief, fleeting moment Poland lost many of its most influential leaders, and its government was faced with many empty shoes. Big shoes. Shoes that had to be filled if Poland was going to continue moving forward. Yet who would step into these big shoes?

I want to take you back over 2,400 years to someone whose people were also faced with the empty shoes of national leadership. His name was Nehemiah, and he served as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia. One day Nehemiah was told by one of his brothers, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire” (Neh. 1: 3).

Jerusalem—Israel’s holy city—was in disrepair. It had been over 90 years since the people first returned to Jerusalem after the exile, and the city’s walls still desperately needed to be rebuilt. The Jews were defenseless and without leadership.

Nehemiah did not ignore this great need; he was deeply grieved by it. For days, he mourned and fasted for his people (Neh. 1:4). Nehemiah did not ask the Lord to provide someone else to help the Jews rebuild the wall; he courageously asked the king for permission to go to Judah so that he could lead his people (Neh. 2:5). And because of Nehemiah’s willingness to serve the Jews, not only was the wall of Jerusalem rebuilt, but most importantly, the Lord brought spiritual revival to the entire city (Neh. 9:1)!

Like Nehemiah, you may be looking at a pair of big, empty shoes, and God may be asking you to step into them. Perhaps God is asking you to lead a ministry at your church, serve on your city council, or begin the process of adopting a child. No matter the shoes that God may be asking you to put on, let me encourage you that this job is not too big for you. Your feet are not too small. The job is not too large. The responsibilities are not too great.

God tells us that we are not supposed to look at the size of our feet. Friends, anybody can fill big shoes because it does not require that we have big feet; it only requires that we have a big God. Our God has promised us that He will never leave us. Our God has promised that if we walk humbly in obedience to His Word, He will give us success. That means you and me—like Nehemiah—can step into big shoes with confidence and without fear.


Devotional forwarded to you by:


NCCP Ecumenical Ministry of the Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC


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