Nehemiah 1: 1-11
Tuesday, 28 February 2023
“When I heard these things, I sat down and cried for several days. I was sad and fasted. I prayed to the God of heaven…” -Nehemiah 1:4 [NCV]
Nehemiah portrays an ideal servant of God, who was deeply concerned about the realities around him, but did not allow those realities to tie him down, rather his deep sorrow led him to a time of fasting and praying that resulted in a personal evaluation of the situation and implementing very effective actions to remedy the situation.
It is therefore pertinent for each believer to carefully understand the manner in which Nehemiah reacted and practice it in our own lives. Though he was in a good secular position in the king’s court in a foreign land, he did not forget his people or his land. When one of his brothers came from the land of Judah, he eagerly enquired the current status of the people who had lived through the captivity. He was sensitive and hence was deeply moved by the realities he understood-he cried because the walls were broken down (vs.3).
Nehemiah’s response was four-fold:
1. He fasted – Nehemiah set time apart to set his own life in line with God. During fasting the forgoing of food helps us to bring our physical appetites under control so that our spirit can be tuned to listen to God. It is important to spend time in God’s presence during fasting to understand what He is trying to speak to us.
2. He prayed – Prayer is our communication channel with God. Confession of sin is a primary requirement in prayer as sin stands in the way of God hearing our prayers. At the onset itself, Nehemiah confessed his sin and the sin of his people and then reminded God of His covenant with His people- that He would restore them once more. His intercession is truly genuine as he pleaded for his people and his land.
3. He took quick action – As he prayed for God’s favour with the king, Nehemiah approached the king and took permission to go to his native land. We see his request granted and Nehemiah went to Jerusalem and he inspected the walls and surveyed the place (Neh.2). Then he motivated the people into action: “Come let’s rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.” (Neh.2:17)
4. He implemented the plan of God – Though he faced much opposition from the enemy, with the Lord’s help and absolute resolve, the walls were built within fifty-two days! (Neh.6:15). An impossible human feat but with God on their side, it became possible!
Nehemiah’s response to the broken walls of Jerusalem and his reaction is something to learn from. For a believer, the wall is a barrier that restricts the entry of the world into his life. Jesus reminded His disciples that they were not of the world though they were in the world (John 17:14-17). A believer need to constantly examine himself to see if the wall in his life is broken down and he has allowed the enemy to bring his life to ruin. As Psalm 1 reminds us of a “standing”, “walking” and “sitting” in the way of the world can allow “holes” in the wall, whereby a slow breaking down of the wall of your life can happen.
The corrective measures that Nehemiah took to get the wall back in place was confession of sin, fasting and praying and seeking God for His constant help and a firm resolve to see it rebuilt as quickly as possible. May we learn and apply these principles so that our Christian life will stay strong and we finish it well until the day of the Lord!
Think on it: “Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a godly Christian weapon.” - Martin Luther