Radical Faith


Nehemiah 2:1-5 (ESV) – 1 In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. 2 And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. 3 I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” 4 Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favour in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.”

Give or take Nehemiah spent 100 days in prayerful preparation before his approach to the king. He would be asking for something very difficult and if the king didn’t like the idea then there was a fair chance Nehemiah would at best be thrown into jail or at worse executed. The whim of a king was a fearsome thing, especially a king who was considered part-divine!

This was the moment Nehemiah put all his prayerful preparation into action and took the next step. It required a radical faith, believing this next step of approaching the king, was what God put in his heart (2:11). The Word tells us that he was very much afraid when speaking with the king, but despite this sudden panic he proceeded with his BIG ASK.

What do I mean by a radical faith? Well, I’m not defining a new type of faith; really I’m just trying to highlight Nehemiah’s faith as an example to us living in a dark world today. Nehemiah was just a man like any other man; there was nothing special about him, but he just literally put his faith into action.

I guess a radical faith, as displayed here by Nehemiah, has 4 components that I can recognise. They are:

1.Obedience – He was obedient to the Word (1:8-9) and to what God had placed in his heart to do (2:11)

2.Trust – I think Nehemiah’s trust in God was total (1:11) or else he would not have risked his very life for what appeared to be a lost cause.

3.Risk – This is something that is sadly lacking from our faith today – I know that is the case for me. Taking a risk or a step of faith is the difference between talking the talk or walking the walk!

4.Sacrifice – Nehemiah gave up a luxurious lifestyle to go and try to change a lost cause. What God placed on his heart was greater than his need for comfort.

The radical faith that Nehemiah shows us is something we need to emulate in the worlds that we live in today. Obedience, trust, risk and sacrifice are necessary components to the radical faith this world needs to see. People who are going to step out of their comfort zone and take a step of faith (risk) in obedience, trusting in God’s unfailing promises!

I am certain if a group of people will rise up like Nehemiah did we will see an impact in Fermanagh like nothing else and news of what God is doing will spread across this island!