June 6, 2004
Read Nehemiah 1 - 3
In Today's Reading:
for Jerusalem and his leave of absence; Nehemiah inspects Jerusalem's walls; the builder of the walls
When Nehemiah's relative Hanani arrived in Persia from Jerusalem, he told Nehemiah of the pitiful conditions that existed there. Nehemiah recorded: When I heard these words . . . I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven. . . . both I and my father's house have sinned. . . . and have not kept the Commandments (Nehemiah 1:4,6-7). Over a period of about four months, he continued to pray.
When King Artaxerxes asked why he was so sad, Nehemiah told him that it was because the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchers (tombs), lies waste (2:1-3). The king graciously responded by appointing him governor over Judah and commissioned him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The king even provided some of the materials (2:6-8).
Three basic characteristics made Nehemiah's efforts a success. First, his desire to do the will of God (1:4-11). This led him to leave the luxury and security of living in the king's palace in Persia and to endure the hardships in Jerusalem in order to restore the City of God.
Second, he not only fasted and prayed, but he confessed: We. . . have not kept the Commandments (1:4-11). He recognized that obedience to the Word of God is essential to answered prayer.
Third, he was determined to persuade his people to join him in rebuilding the walls, regardless of opposition. Sanballat and his crowd expressed their hostility to Nehemiah, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us (2:19). Their ridicule then turned to slander: Will you rebel against the king? (2:19). In addition, Judah's nobles put not their necks to the work of their lord (supervisor) (3:5).
Nehemiah refused to become discouraged and give up because he knew that accomplishing the will of God is dependent upon remembering that He is Sovereign over the affairs of our lives. Be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me (Hebrews 13:5-6).
Through Nehemiah's prayer for his people (Nehemiah 1:4-11). Christ also prayed for His own throughout the ages which includes us today (John 17:20).
1:5 terrible = awesome; 2:2 countenance = face; 2:7 convey me = allow me to pass; 2:20 no portion = no part or property; 3:19 turning = corner; 3:23 over against = in front of; 3:25 lieth out = extends from.
Staff: Pam Pendergrast · Government Officials: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN), Rep. David Bonior (MI), Rep. Allen Boyd, Jr. (FL), and Rep. Eric Cantor (VA) · Country: Cyprus (754,000) in the Middle East · Major languages: Greek and Turkish · No open evangelism or conversions to Christ · 75% Greek Orthodox; 19% Muslim; 1% Protestant; 1% Roman Catholic
Prayer Suggestion: Pray persistently; you will receive an answer (Luke 11:9-10).
Optional Reading: II Corinthians 8
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 1:16