Read Nehemiah 1 -- 3
In Today's Reading:
Nehemiah's prayer 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 was heartbroken and wept, prayed, and fasted. There is no record of Nehemiah being involved in the sins of the people. But he recognized that, as an Israelite, he was included with the sinful nation and, as such, he prayed for forgiveness (Nehemiah 1:4,6-7). He continued to pray over a period of about four months.
When King Artaxerxes asked why he was so sad, Nehemiah told him that it was because he had learned that the city where his ancestors were buried had been destroyed by fire and left in ruins (2:1-3). The king graciously responded by appointing him governor over Judah and commissioning 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, he desired to do the will of God (1:11). This led him to leave the luxury 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 confessed that the Israelites had not kept the Lord's 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 and then insinuated that he planned to rebel against the king (2:19). To make his plans to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem even more difficult, many of the prominent leaders of Israel refused to cooperate and do their share of the work (3:5). Still, Nehemiah refused to become discouraged or to give up.
Accomplishing the will of God is dependent upon our remembering that He is sovereign over the affairs of our lives. By doing so, we have utmost confidence that we are not victims of circumstances or of man, but that we are under the control of our Creator (Hebrews 13:6).
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.
Pray for Universal Printing, printers of the Bible Pathway in the U.S. · BPM Staff: Pam Pendergrast · Government Officials: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN), Rep. David Bonior (MI), Rep. Allen Boyd, Jr. (FL), and Rep. Eric Cantor (VA) · Country: Egypt (67 million) in northeastern Africa · Major languages: Arabic and English · Christians are not permitted to evangelize Muslims · 82% Muslim; 16% Coptic Christian; .6% Protestant; .6% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Do not worry about your material needs (Matthew 6:25-30).
Optional Reading: II Corinthians 8
Memory Verse for the Week: II Timothy 2:15