The book of Nehemiah is not long – only 13 chapters, but it contains a great deal that is relevant to Christians today. In a way it is the other side of There’s a Need, So What? In Nehemiah 1 we see how God helps Nehemiah identify a need and then act upon that need.
Jerusalem and its walls had been destroyed in the Babylonian invasion. Nehemiah hears from men from Judah about the situation facing the remnant that ‘had escaped and had survived the captivity,’ Nehemiah 1:2. When he heard the sad state of affairs, Nehemiah wept and mourned. But he didn’t stop there. He fasted and prayed to God. He also confessed his own sin and the sins of the people who had not obeyed God’s commands, verses 5-7.
It’s something for us to do too. We need to pray and confess our own sins and those of the city or land where we live.
As in the Isaiah passage we looked at yesterday, God had warned His people what would happen if they disobeyed Him. He warned them through Moses, that if they were unfaithful they would be scattered among the peoples, verse 8. God’s people took no notice and suffered the consequences.
Are we also guilty of ignoring God’s warning. Then we will suffer the consequences.
God never leaves His people without hope. Even at this point God gave them hope that if they turned back to Him and were obedient, God would ‘gather them from there’ and ‘bring them back to the place where I have chosen to cause my name to dwell,’ Nehemiah 1:9. The people had God’s promise to hold onto. We also have God’s promise to hold onto.
Is there a promise of God’s that you need to hold onto in your current difficult situation?
Before we moved house and church, we’d prayed God would lead us to the area that was right for us. On the day we were looking at houses God gave us this verse as part of our reading for the day. It was a promise for us to hold into. A promise to us that God would gather us from where we were and bring us to a place where his name is honored. At the time I put the date next this verse and noted that we were looking at houses.
God kept His promise. The next time God brought us back to the same verse was several months later – the day after we moved in. We have never been happier because we are in the place God brought us to and a church where His Word is honored and His name upheld.
But back to Nehemiah. Nehemiah reminded God of His promise to His people. And beseeched Him to hear his prayer and help him find favor in the eyes of King Artaxerxes. So Nehemiah did not just pray and then sit back and do nothing. He saw a need and went forward after prayer, expecting God to act. Did God listen and act? We shall see in the next chapter.
Bible verses from the New American Standard Version
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