The Gracious Hand of God

Along the Journey – The Gracious Hand of God

Nehemiah began the project of rebuilding Jerusalem with his eyes wide open. He knew how desperate the situation was, he understood could no longer accept the current reality that went beyond repairing walls and hanging new gates, he was aware he would need to gather people to join him in the task, and he was cognizant of the opposition he would face.

In chapter two, Nehemiah had a confrontation with the bad guys – Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem. Dripping with contempt, they scoffed at the plan to restore the city. Nehemiah’s answer displayed his confidence that he was not unequipped for the job: “The God of heaven will help us succeed. We His servants will start rebuilding this wall. But you have no stake or claim in Jerusalem” (Nehemiah 2:20).

I love his fighting spirit. I admire his determination and confidence. He placed his trust in the God who had heard his prayers, guided his planning, and would provide in the challenging days ahead.

We see similar displays of faith and courage in Scripture. David warned Goliath that he was outmatched: “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord Almighty” (1 Samuel 17:45). Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego defied King Nebuchadnezzar as he condemned them to the fiery furnace: “We do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. But even if He doesn’t, your majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).

Peter and John were arrested by the Sanhedrin and threatened. The two disciples were ordered to never again speak about Jesus. They responded, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than Him? We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19,20).

These and many others depended on the gracious hand of God to guide, to protect, to bless, and to use their lives. God has not changed. His hand is still gracious.  Let us claim the same confidence and trust as He leads us!

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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