Today you should read: Nehemiah 1
Today we start the book of Nehemiah and Nehemiah lived during the time when they saw the words of Deuteronomy 28:36-37 come true:
The Lord will bring you and your king whom you set over you to a nation that neither you nor your fathers have known. And there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone. And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword among all the peoples where the Lord will lead you away.
Due to Israel’s disobedience God allowed other nations to come in and destroy them and take some away to other nations. We see this begin in 2 Kings 24 & Jeremiah 39.
In the book of Nehemiah we get a glimpse into life during the exile. Nehemiah was an exile in Persia where he was cup bearer to King Artaxerxes. The role of cup bearer was very significant because it meant that Nehemiah had direct access to the King.
Our chapter starts off with Nehemiah getting a bad report about Jerusalem. Nehemiah hears that there is still a remnant in Jerusalem but things were not going well. The walls were torn down and shame was brought on all the people. This was once a great and proud nation that represented Yahweh, the God of the universe. Now they are at the mercy of all other nations and a laughing stock at that.
So how did Nehemiah respond?
- He Mourned. Nehemiah recognized the travesty that had happened to Israel. Notice he does not cry to God and ask him why he would do this to his people. Nehemiah knew exactly why all of this happened and he is saddened because of Israel’s sin against God (v.6). Nehemiah was humbled and desired mercy for the sin of the people. How often do we mourn over our sin before God? Do you desire not to sin because you know it is against our merciful and just God? Or do you push the line of grace? (Romans 6:1-3)
- He Repented. Not only did he recognize his own sin and repent but he repented for the sin of his people. Repentance is the key to freedom and Nehemiah understood that. When you sin and are convicted do you react in repentance? Or do you run away from God and excuse the sin?
- He Remembered the Promise of God. Nehemiah knew that God was still God and he always keeps his promises. Nehemiah leaned upon the word of God (v.9-10). When we sin we should have the same response that Nehemiah had and remember the promise of the Gospel (Ephesians 2:8-10). God is faithful to forgive us and grow us into the image of his son (1 John 1:8-9, Philippians 1:6). However, it starts when we recognize that our lives are to glorify him and not ourselves.
Let us be men and women of prayer today. Let’s praise God for his name sake and rejoice in his mercy upon us.
Posted by: Chad Wiles