I’m excited about reading Nehemiah through. I’ve never sat down and just read this book – parts, but not the whole. I’ve always admired this man’s leadership ability and faith and trust in God. Through him, the Jewish nation was revived and rejuvinated. He not only rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem, but he then led the people in worship and Bible instruction. Nehemiah was key in reestablishing the nation of Israel after its destruction by Babylon. The thing that jumps out at me today is how Nehemiah heard and acted.
2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” 4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Once the news reached Nehemiah, something hit him. Suddenly his responsibilities in the Persian government were not the important thing in his life. He was given a mission. The temple had been rebuilt at Jerusalem already, but the walls remained in disrepair. The walls of a city represent power, protection and beauty. But, no one was stepping up to rebuild them after 70 years. So, instead of sitting around whining and complaining that the wall was broken down, instead of protests or hunger strikes against the government, Nehemiah turns to God.
That’s the key! When there’s something stirring in your heart, when you’re suddenly feeling hopeless or passionate about something, or if you feel that some task is suddenly very important – ask God what to do. Like David who prayed about every little decision, it would be wise to turn first to God and get His recommendations. For days Nehemiah fasted and prayed to God. As a result – he got the vision. Instead of just reacting, he worked it out with God and received what he needed from God to get the job done. Lastly, I so much appreciated Nehemiah’s prayer:
5 Then I said, “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! 7 We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, laws, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses. 8 “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you sin, I will scatter you among the nations. 9 But if you return to me and obey my commands, even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’ 10 “We are your servants, the people you rescued by your great power and might. 11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success now as I go to ask the king for a great favor. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”In those days I was the king’s cup-bearer.
Verse 9 brings comfort to wayward hearts. If the Jews who have been scattered come back and obey His commands, God will return His blessings.
Kind of like us today – no matter what has happened, no matter how far away from God we feel, no matter what the enemy has us thinking about ourselves and our relationship with our loving Creator – He will return His blessing if we return and obey.
That’s the message Nehemiah received. He knew what he had to do – and he set out to do it by first asking God, then acting on what he heard.
What’s God putting on your heart to complete today? What broken down walls do you have in your world? Seek Him for the plan, then step out in faith and in His power.
Good message for today, Nehemiah.