I don’t know what led me to Nehemiah this morning. I could say I was looking for an answer to a question but I believe I’ll just say it was the Holy Spirit.
I actually started at the middle of the book and skimmed backward until I came to the first chapter. Yes, it’s weird but I do that sometimes. It’s almost like seeing the end result and then saying “here is where we were!”
Nehemiah is living in Susa or Shushan, east of the Tigris River. He gets word about his country of Israel. The word is not good.
They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” Neh 1:3
Set aside the fact of the walls and gates are destroyed. This is what Nehemiah later helped rebuild.
But the other statement is the really important one – they are in great trouble and disgraced.
This describes many people today – in great trouble and disgraced. They have no hope and no place to turn. They have placed their trust in the wrong things like the government, economy, employment, and even in family or religion; they have been disappointed and let down – adding to their trouble and disgrace.
Like the walls and gates, they are broken down.
You and I know many people like this.
Nehemiah’s response to the news – When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. Neh 1:4
He sought God. Take time to read his prayer in Neh 1:5-11.
Our response should be the same – to seek God in prayer.
Then we need to do as Nehemiah and get personally involved. I’m not talking about organizing a political campaign to write to members of Congress. I’m talking about getting personally involved in the life of another person that is troubled, disgraced, and broken down.
Sometimes it starts with asking, “How can I pray for your today?”