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Tuesday, 10 September 2019 07:00

Keep the Fire Burning: Nehemiah's muddy water

 2019.52.Keep the Fire Burning 6 Nehemiah.main blog image

Today we have another installment in the series of blogs which encourages us to be inspired by the stories in the scriptures which feature fire. We turn to the story of Nehemiah, a faith filed man who no doubt helped many see the gift of muddy water.

 For when our ancestors were being led captive to Persia, the pious priests of that time took some of the fire of the altar and secretly hid it in the hollow of a dry cistern, where they took such precautions that the place was unknown to anyone. But after many years had passed, when it pleased God, Nehemiah, having been commissioned by the king of Persia, sent the descendants of the priests who had hidden the fire to get it. And when they reported to us that they had not found fire but only a thick muddy water, he ordered them to dip it out and bring it. When the materials for the sacrifices were presented, Nehemiah ordered the priests to sprinkle the liquid on the wood and on the things laid upon it. When this had been done and some time had passed, and when the sun, which had been clouded over, shone out, a great fire blazed up, so that all marveled. (2 Maccabees 1:19-22)

 When I doubt, help me know,
Muddy water is enough.
Show me where I am called to go,
Muddy water is enough.
 
When I wonder what gift I bring,
Muddy water is enough.
Teach me how to stand and sing,
Muddy water is enough.
 
Help me follow in faith and trust,
Muddy water is enough.
You create beauty from the dust,
Muddy water is enough.
 
When my weakness is laid bare,
Muddy water is enough.
Help me in love’s greatest dare,
Muddy water is enough.
 
To create a pot of finest clay,
Muddy water is enough.
Gently molded day by day
Muddy water is enough.
 
Teach me how to tell your story,
Muddy water is enough.
To show the world al your glory,
Muddy water is enough.
 
When my world is an endless night,
Muddy water is enough.
To set aflame the brightest light,
Muddy water is enough.

Imagine the faith and courage of Nehemiah as he ordered the muddy water onto the wood and the things laid upon it. I often wonder what was going in the minds of those looking on. Did they think he was crazy? Were they hopeful? Did they believe it was possible that a fire would burst forth? Sometimes, we can feel like we are not enough – that we do not have the gifts or resources to bring into fruition the things we desire. Nehemiah is a strong reminder to us that we can and should trust in whatever we have to offer. When we come as ourselves in faith, God can use what seems like muddy water to us to enable a fire to burn brightly, beyond anything we can imagine.

So next time you are held back by feeling what you have is not enough, remember the story of Nehemiah and be encouraged.

Mel Edwards