Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Job No One Wanted

Reality TV is full of them...

Most Dangerous!
Deadliest catch!
Dirtiest Jobs!

Shows about jobs that no one wants...

In a free society, how come guys would choose to have a job capping oil wells on fire? Or trying to catch fish in the surging Alaskan North Sea? Or capturing aligators? Somehow, you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, and just end up doing something distasteful, or difficult, or dangerous.

Nehemiah was a captive. He landed one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Taste everything the king drinks before he drinks it. If someone has tried to poison the king, the wine taster falls dead, and the king chooses not to drink that particular wine.
That was Nehemiah's job. So every single day could be his last. "Bye, honey. I'm off to work. If I don't make it home tonight..."
There was an upside to this job. First, he had daily, personal access to the king. He was around at every meal, every day. Over time, there comes to be an easy sense of comfort in someone who is always around. The king had to have at least a small sense of gratitude for the guy who was daily risking his life.
"I was cupbearer to the king.
Nehemiah 2
1 -2 It was the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king. At the hour for serving wine I brought it in and gave it to the king. I had never been hangdog in his presence before, so he asked me, "Why the long face? You're not sick are you? Or are you depressed?"
2 -3 That made me all the more agitated. I said, "Long live the king! And why shouldn't I be depressed when the city, the city where all my family is buried, is in ruins and the city gates have been reduced to cinders?"
4 -5 The king then asked me, "So what do you want?"
Praying under my breath to the God-of-Heaven, I said, "If it please the king, and if the king thinks well of me, send me to Judah, to the city where my family is buried, so that I can rebuild it."
6 The king, with the queen sitting alongside him, said, "How long will your work take and when would you expect to return?"
I gave him a time, and the king gave his approval to send me.
7 -8 Then I said, "If it please the king, provide me with letters to the governors across the Euphrates that authorize my travel through to Judah; and also an order to Asaph, keeper of the king's forest, to supply me with timber for the beams of The Temple fortress, the wall of the city, and the house where I'll be living."
8 -9 The generous hand of my God was with me in this and the king gave them to me. When I met the governors across The River (the Euphrates) I showed them the king's letters. The king even sent along a cavalry escort."
So God gave Nehemiah favor with the king, and 13 years after Ezra set out for Jerusalem, Nehemiah also set out, to rebuild the walls and gates of the city.
He went from one job no one wanted, to the toughest assignment of his life...

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