Highlights In Today's Reading:
Nehemiah sits weeping about the decay of Jerusalem (1:1-4). God recognizes each person that goes up to rebuild the city (2:1-8). The enemy grieved (2:9-10,19). Altar set up; foundation laid (3:1-13).
When one of Nehemiah's brothers (countrymen or relatives) Hanani returned to Persia from Jerusalem, he told Nehemiah of the pitiful conditions that existed there. When I (Nehemiah) heard these words . . . I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven (1:4).
Nehemiah knew the Scriptures and the power of prayer and fasting, reminding the Lord of His promise: If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: But if ye turn unto Me, and keep My Commandments, and do them . . . yet will I gather them . . . unto the place that I have chosen to set My Name there (1:8-9).
When King Artaxerxes asked why he was so sad, Nehemiah told him that it was because the city . . . of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste (2:1-3). The king's remarkable blessing can be attributed to the fact that Nehemiah prayed that God would grant him mercy in the sight of this man (the king) (Neh. 1:11) and then he prayed to the God of heaven (2:4) for further direction. The king appointed Nehemiah governor of Judah and commissioned him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, he faced hostile opposition, just as Zerubbabel had about 80 to 100 years earlier (Ezra 4; Neh. 4). Three basic characteristics of Nehemiah made his efforts a success. His foremost desire was to do the will of God (1:1,11). This led him to endure many hardships to restore honor to the City of God. He not only fasted, and prayed, but he confessed: We . . . have not kept the Commandments (1:4-11).
Nehemiah was also determined to rebuild the wall, regardless of the opposition of Sanballat and his crowd. They laughed us to scorn, and despised us (2:19). Their ridicule then turned to slander. Sanballat implied that Nehemiah would rebel against the king (2:19). False accusations have always been a favorite tool of Satan. The third characteristic that made Nehemiah successful was that he refused to become discouraged and give up even when some nobles (leaders) refused to cooperate in the work of their Lord (3:5).
Accomplishing the will of God is dependent upon remembering who we are living for. The Lord is my Helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me (Heb. 13:6).
Thought for Today:
Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (I Cor. 15:58).
Through Nehemiah's prayer for his people (Neh. 1:4-11). Christ also prayed for His own throughout the ages, which includes us today (John 17:20).
1:5 terrible = awesome, greatly to be feared; 2:2 countenance = face; 2:7 convey me over = allow me to pass; 2:20 no portion = no part or property; 3:19 turning = corner; 3:23 over against = in front of, opposite of; 3:25 lieth out = extends from.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Linda Kennon• Staff: Tammy Davis • Government Officials: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN), Rep. Allen Boyd, Jr. (FL), and Rep. Eric Cantor (VA) • Country: Oman (2 million) on the southeastern coast of Arabia • Major languages: Arabic and English • Fewer restrictions on Christian activity than most of its neighbors • 97% Muslim; .5% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Offering praise and thanks to God is a sacrifice pleasing to Him (Heb. 13:15).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 8
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:31