I am currently fascinated with Scotland! The castles! The landscape! The royal escapades! Just this week I've received three research books in the mail on the topic. One details the tales and traditions of Scottish castles. Another focuses on the life of King James IV. And my favorite so far: a book on the life of Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland (once she married James IV).
So it's kind of interesting that I would read about another king and his cupbearer this week. I'm in the book of Nehemiah these days for my daily Bible reading. Nehemiah was one of the Jews living in exile in Babylon. In the beginning of chapter one you don't really know who Nehemiah is but you realize pretty quick that he was a man who relied on God. When he's told about the sad state of affairs back in Jerusalem, with its walls completely demolished and the people in trouble, Nehemiah sits down to weep. He mourned and fasted for several days before the God of heaven. Then he prayed this really great prayer. The kind of prayer I wish I could pray instead of stumbling over words and thoughts. Anyone who can pray like that must be a priest or a prophet or someone reeeeeally important, right?
Well, at the very end of the chapter, after that really great prayer, there is this one line:
"I was cupbearer to the king."
Huh? It seems kind of out of place, this little tidbit of information. My first thought when reading it was probably something like, "So what? I thought you were somebody important."
The "so what" is answered in the next chapter where we see that Nehemiah is cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. And as cupbearer to the king, Nehemiah was in the king's presence quite often. So often that the king notices when Nehemiah is depressed and sad and asks him what's up? When Nehemiah tells the king he wants to go rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, the king gives him permission. Building materials, army officers and cavalry are also sent with Nehemiah courtesy of King A.
What does this story have to do with anything?
To me, it is yet one more story of God's perfect provision for the faithful. Yes, Nehemiah was in exile, but God had placed him in the king's circle. Nehemiah was right where God needed him to be, doing what God needed him to do at that moment in time. Had he whined about being a lowly cupbearer and quit his job or called in sick, he would not have been available to be used in God's plan. I doubt Nehemiah ever imagined the things that would happen next and the amazing provision God would lay out before him. One day he's simply serving wine to the king, the next he's in charge of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem.
Are you where God needs you to be?
You may feel like you're in exile. You may feel like the future is bleak. You may be in a dead-end job or not have a job at all. Life may be getting you down or you may simply be bored with where you're at right now.
"I was cupbearer to the king"...today. But there's no telling what God will do tomorrow if we are faithful!