Nehemiah sat weeping about the decay of Jerusalem (Neh. 1:1-4). God recognized each person that went up to rebuild the city (2:1-8). The enemy grieved (2:9-10,19). The Altar was set up; the foundation was laid (3:1-13).
When Nehemiah's relative Hanani arrived in Persia from Jerusalem, he told Nehemiah of the pitiful conditions that existed there. Nehemiah said: 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 (Neh. 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), lieth 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 ye 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. 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 ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me (Heb. 13:5-6).
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 =race; 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 Government Officials: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN), Rep. Allen Boyd, Jr. (FL), and Rep. Eric Cantor (VA) • Country: Malta (388,000) about 60 miles south of Sicily • Major languages: Maltese and English • Religious freedom • 97% Christian; 1.7% non-Religious/other; 1% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for unity of spirit with other believers (I Pet. 3:8).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 8
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 1:7