When I started to write this one, I didn't think it would be this long. But hang in there, I think you will get something great out of it.
Nehemiah now has to work through proper channels to do God's will. What? If it's God's will, why does he have to go to the king to get help? God will take care of all of my needs, who needs the king anyway?
It never occurred to Nehemiah that he was going to do what God asked him to do without King Artaxerxes permission and blessing. Why? Nehemiah understood how authority worked. First of all, the king was the king because God wanted him to be king. (Rom 13) Remember that in this time, the king owns everything. Legally Jerusalem is his property. What he was asking to do was remodel some of the kings property, revive the local economy and boost the tax revenue to the overall kingdom.
Why is this so important to us? All of us have served "wicked" authority figures at one time or another. Unethical bosses, cruel owners and greedy managers or supervisors just to name a few. We have heard the overused line, 'it's just business" to excuse sinful behavior and brutal practices. All of us at one time or another have been used by someone as a stepping stone to power or money. Something within all of us wants to rise up and rebel. In fact, we live in a culture that not only encourages it, but demands it.
So with that said, here is the question. If God asks you to do something that requires you to get the permission or help of an authority over you, an authority that you at least perceive as wicked, unfair, cruel and even abusive. An authority that doesn't believe in nor respect the God you worship. Do you still have to get their permission to do God's will? (insert long pause here while you think about it) The answer is yes, you do. What? Why? What if they say no!! What do I do, wait? Give up on my dreams and hopes? There is no way I'm going to let some greedy, abusive authority figure steal my future!
Ok here it is. A) All authority over us is appointed by God. What they choose to do with it is up to them. They will be held accountable before God for their choice. B) The reason why you have to approach them is because it has to do with something that they either outrightly own (property, equipment, etc.) or that they have a right to (i.e., your time during business hours). C) God never said treat people the way they deserve to be treated, He said love everyone, always! D) We don't know God's plan for our lives or theirs. The "no" answer may be the right answer at the right time, even though we don't know why.
How many people came to the king and made the same request that Nehemiah made? We don't know. I'm sure someone had to try. But God needed a servant to lead. Someone who understood authority and how it worked. It's that person He can use to accomplish His will in many things. It's through learning how to serve one another that we learn how to lead one another.