Nehemiah was a Jew who lived in 5th century BC. He served as the cup-bearer for King Artaxerxes of Persia before returning to the land of Judah to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. Joseph was a Jew who lived around the 23rd century BC. He was sold as a slave to an Egyptian officer and lived as a slave, manager, and prisoner before being appointed to a high position of authority under Pharaoh.
What did they have in common? God was with them and they walked with God. (John 15:4)
Nehemiah looked to God for help. Nehemiah 2:4-5: "Then the king said to me, 'What do you request?' So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king..." Joseph trusted in God's leading. Genesis 50:19-21: "Joseph said to them, '...you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good...to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.' And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them."
Neither Nehemiah nor Joseph charted out the ways that God would use them. God was the author and the hand that opened the door for them. Therefore, since I trust in this same God as my brothers, these two sons of Abraham (Galatians 3:7), God will surely take control in my life and He will be the one to make me a blessing. (Genesis 12:2)
My prayer for the new year is this: that I may stop worrying about what I can do for God and start trusting in what He can do through me if I choose to surrender myself to Him and live in obedience to His word.
"Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.' 'I cannot do it,' Joseph replied to Pharaoh, 'but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.'"