GOOD MORNING, Siblings!
Today, we begin Nehemiah!
Our readings are Nehemiah 1-3
Brief intro facts about Nehemiah:
•It is believed that Nehemiah is the author of this book and most of it is written in first person. However, we don’t know a lot about Nehemiah until we meet him in this book, where he is the personal cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. This is a position of great honor so we can infer something about his character from that.
•Most of what this book speaks on takes place in Jerusalem.
•Nehemiah is not a priest or a prophet. He left a highly valued position in order to follow YHWH’s plan for him to partner with Ezra and help rebuild Jerusalem.
•He is known for his humility and we will see evidence of that in his prayers on behalf of YHWH’s people.
•In some Hebrew Bibles, Nehemiah and Ezra are one book. Upon reading it, it is easy to see why. Nehemiah was a wonderful partner to Ezra.
Moving into our reading…
We open our chapter with Nehemiah showing great concern when he hears about the plight of the remnant. He even goes so far as to fast, pray, weep, and mourn for days. What a pure and sincere heart for YHWH’s people!
His prayer in 1:5-1:11 simply must be shared here in addition to reading it in our Bibles on our own!
“O YHWH, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned.
We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.
Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’
They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand.
O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Nehemiah 1:5-1:11
MERCY! Imagine if we prayed that same prayer each day, what a difference it could make.
Moving onto Chapter two – This begins about four months after Nehemiah said the prayer we just shared. I think we can safely assume he continued in prayer for the remnant and for Jerusalem and built up a great deal of assurance and confidence in the Father’s plan in order to be able to ask such a bold thing of the king. He clearly felt this was a purpose the Father had set aside for him.
When Nehemiah comes up against some interference from troublemakers, he gives them all the attention due a bug on your windshield. 1
9 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 20 Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.” Nehemiah 2:19-20 After that he goes about his way. That is a great model for handling any number of conflicts that arise in our walk as Believers.
I found a wonderful commentary note from F.B. Meyer that sums this up beautifully:
AMEN! May we seek only to please our King today!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!