Nehemiah was an Israelite in the service of the king in the area where they (southern divided kingdom) had been swept away to another exile after Babylon conquered Judah. (God allowed this defeat because His people in Judah had turned away, the sins of the nation but the Grace of God to keep them as His People)… Many years passed, there were some faithful in the flock, Nehemiah was one. This remnant was allowed to return to their “homeland” because God made the heart of Cyrus, Persian King, gentle towards this people. And there was record of the promise to these people that was passed on to future kings who held these Israelites as servants. God knew how to place His servants in the right place at the right time.
Nehemiah heard of what had happened to Jerusalem, the walls crumbled and gates burned. He wept in tears and prayed in petition to the Lord, acknowledging all the many sins of his nation. It wasn’t a political blamegame left and right, but a clear cry: “God, we ALL drifted.” … “God, you said You would scatter your people and You did!”
Nehemiah recognized that the Israelites were God’s chosen people from Jacob their forefather, but that they were brought down by their own sinfulness and disobedience. He also knew that God promised to keep a remnant alive, and reassemble the people if they came back to Him. Nehemiah realized his opportunity as cupbearer to the king of his exiled home away from home, and he was prayerful to do his part in restoration of David’s city and Solomon’s temple for God’s mission.
It’s a constant theme of the Old Testament scriptures: Come back to God. Repent, Return, Restore, Resurrect. A temple for worship was brought back AFTER the WILL TO WORSHIP was reestablished.
Nehemiah’s prayer was for the Hand of God to be on him when he spoke openly to the king. After appearing so sad, he was asked about his sadness, then Nehemiah was able to realize this window of opportunity. Nehemiah asked for time to travel to Jerusalem, safe passage to and from with official documents, and the timber resources for restoration of the gates and walls of Jerusalem, the city of his ancestors. Nehemiah recognized that the Hand of God must have been on him, allowing this success. Nehemiah praised and KNEW.
God gave a focal point for His people, Jerusalem. Jesus was the answer for these people, even if they did not realize. God still has a New Jerusalem coming for His People who include us as repented people who want to return to Him. In this second coming of Jesus, Jesus once again comes for us. Repent Return Restore Resurrect.
Jesus’s forgiveness from God’s mercy. Jesus a remnant of Hope for the line of David and a King above all kings. Jesus is the King of Resurrection and not just a Temple for God’s name, but for being God Himself. Jesus, the Name above all names.
OUR BROKENNESS IS USED BY GOD FOR GOD. OUR SADNESS CAN BE IMPORTANT IN MAKING US ACT TO REBUILD.
Because Nehemiah realized this opportunity to speak out of his sadness, God used his tears for triumph. Let’s ask Him to use our tears as well. God’s Hand collects our tears. Let us all PRAY for the Nations and all God’s children. Let us be motivated and moved to act for God’s mission.
Jesus came and will come again. Restoration. Spread the Word.
They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ …”
In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”
I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.
I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests.