Highlights In Today's Reading:
Nehemiah's faith in God prevails. Every time his "friends" attack his integrity, Nehemiah prays and God intercedes. Improper greed by lenders is rebuked by Nehemiah and they're charged to do right (5:1-13).
The first exiles who returned had resided among the debris in Jerusalem and its suburbs for more than ninety years without completing the walls. When Nehemiah was reminded of the ruined state of Jerusalem since it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon), he sat down and wept, and . . . fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven . . . that keepeth Covenant and mercy for them that love Him and observe His Commandments. . . . We . . . have not kept the Commandments. . . . O Lord . . . be attentive to the prayer of Thy servant . . . who desire to fear (reverence)Thy Name (Thy will, authority, and reputation) which should have been their foremost concern (1:4,7,11).
Notice that Nehemiah did not criticize the people who lived in and around Jerusalem for not doing something to improve their situation. It is of utmost importance that we serve the Lord in a spirit of lovingkindness in contrast to a judgmental attitude. Notice also how much Nehemiah prayed and included himself when he confessed the Israelites' sins.
Eleven times it is recorded that Nehemiah prayed (1:4-11; 2:4; 4:4-5,9; 5:19; 6:9,14; 13:14,22,29,31). He encouraged his workers, saying: The God of heaven, He will prosper us (2:20). The people had a mind to work. . . . So the wall was finished . . . in fifty and two days (4:6; 6:15).
Once we recognize that God is the One who allows the opposition, we will not be critical of others but will seek to learn from the Word of God what the Lord expects of us in order to qualify to have our prayers answered. People of faith, though a minority, will always find a way to accomplish God's will without condemning others for neglecting their responsibility. In serving the Lord, one great temptation is that many will find excuses to wait for a more convenient time rather than put the Lord first among other necessities and do their best with what they have.
Consider each detail in Nehemiah's conduct that made it possible to complete the walls in less than ninety days. We need to be like Jesus who said: I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me (John 5:30). We must consider the question: "Is our first concern in prayer to glorify God or is self-interest the strongest motive urging us to pray?"
Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:13).
Thought for Today:
Do not expect a lot of people to be happy that you are a dedicated Christian. But, the opposition and testing will make your faith more precious than gold.
By Nehemiah and other Jews who had bought back (redeemed) some Jews who had been sold to the heathen as slaves while in Persia (Nehemiah 5:8). We, which He hath purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28), were redeemed when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
4:7 breaches => gaps; 4:10 decayed => giving way; 4:20 resort ye thither => assemble there; 5:3 dearth => famine; 5:7 usury => interest; 5:10 exact of them => require; 6:8 feignest => made up the story.
Pray for International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in honor of Linda Kennon • Assistant to the Ex. Dir. of the IBRA in our Washington DC Branch: Terry Hall • Government Official: Rep. Mike Pence (IN) • Country: Slovakia (5 million) central Europe • Major languages: Slovak and Hungarian • Religious freedom • 60% Roman Catholic; 8% Protestant; 4% Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Pray without anger or resentment in your heart (I Timothy 2:8).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 9
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 1:5