Thought from Today's Old Testament Passage:
[Nehemiah 1] God's chosen people were called to witness against idolatry, but too often they themselves succumbed and became idolaters. God sent them to Babylon, the fountainhead of idolatry, to take the "gold cure." They returned repudiating idolatry. Their restoration was incomplete, however. They were not free from this time on until the time of the Roman Empire. The New Testament opened with them under the rule of Rome.
Three men played important roles in the rebuilding of Jerusalem. There was Zerubbabel, the prince, who represented the political side. Then there was Ezra, the priest, and finally Nehemiah, the layman. The king, the priest, and the prophet actually failed to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and cleanse the temple, so God raised up Nehemiah, whom we designate a layman… We need men like Nehemiah.
Nehemiah believed in watching and working. He also believed in working and praying. Watch and pray, or work and pray, are the words that characterize this man. He had a good government job in Persia. He was cupbearer to the king. He was a good, moral, honest man. He could have remained in Persia, but if he had, he would not have been in the record of God. We would never have heard of him.
J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, © 1981 by J. Vernon McGee.