“Now I beseech You, O Lord, let Your ear now be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and the prayer of Your servants who desire to revere Your name; prosper Your servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man” (for I was the cupbearer to the king).
And the king granted me, according the good hand of my God upon me.
In this post-exilic time when the scattered remnant of God’s people are being called back to rebuild the temple, one Jew who works in the home of the king tells his side of the story. He is a taster for the king, and therefore has close access to him. His job, literally, is to die for the king, should someone decide to poison him. But because of his close access, he can also gain the ear of the king. And so it is in this context that Nehemiah the cupbearer prays to God, asking Him for favor in the sight of the king. He prays that God will hear his prayer, and the prayer of all who desire to revere His name. He asks that God prosper his mission, and that is exactly what happens. Nehemiah had no power within himself to bring about success; circumstances in which he found himself were actually impossible to manipulate in his favor. But God turned those circumstances into an ally; He gave Nehemiah favor. Moreover, Nehemiah recognized this as “God’s good hand” that was upon him.
God is good. He is not Zeus, waiting to toss a lightning bolt in your direction. He wants what is good for you. He desires to grant you mercy and give you favor. Your task is simple: revere His name and trust Him. Let the whole world see you trusting Him. He will bring you out into a spacious place, and He will give you favor and mercy in your circumstances. He delights in taking care of you; trust Him. Just as God took care of Nehemiah and His children through the actions of “this man” (the king), who was technically their enemy, so He will take care of you. Your circumstances are no hindrance to Him.
The good hand of God is upon you.