Read Nehemiah 4
Three lessons: (1) Expect attacks designed to keep us from building walls of protection against the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17); (2) A righteous leader defends the oppressed (Neh. 5); and (3) Stay alert and stand firm against the lies, threats, and schemes of the enemy. It took 52 days, but they won (chap. 6)!
The first exiles who returned had resided among the debris in Jerusalem and its suburbs for more than ninety years without completing the walls. When Nehemiah was reminded of the ruined state of Jerusalem since it had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon), he sat down and wept, and . . . fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven . . . that keepeth Covenant and mercy for them that love Him and observe His Commandments. . . . We . . . have not kept the Commandments. . . . O Lord . . . be attentive to the prayer of . . . Thy servants, who desire to fear (reverence)Thy Name (Thy will, authority, and reputation) (Neh. 1:4,7,11). This should have been the people's foremost concern.
Notice that Nehemiah did not criticize the people who lived in and around Jerusalem for not doing something to improve their situation.
Notice also how much Nehemiah prayed and included himself when he confessed the Israelites' sins. Undoubtedly, Nehemiah's spirit of love is a major reason the people had a mind to work. . . . So the wall was finished . . . in fifty and two days (4:6; 6:15). It is very important that we serve the Lord in a spirit of lovingkindness in contrast to a judgmental attitude.
Once we recognize that God is the One who allows the opposition, we will not be critical of others. Instead, we will seek to learn from the Word of God what He expects of us in order to qualify to have our prayers answered. People of faith, though a minority, will always find a way to accomplish the will of God without condemning others for neglecting their responsibility.
In serving the Lord, one great temptation is to find excuses to wait for a more convenient time. But if we have a mind to work, we will put the Lord first among other necessities and do our best with what we have.
We need to be like Jesus who said: I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me (John 5:30). We need to ask ourselves: "Is my first concern in prayer to glorify God, or is self-interest the strongest motive urging me to pray?"
Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:13).
Thought for Today:
Jesus saith unto them, My meat (food necessary to survive) is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work (John 4:34).
By Nehemiah and other Jews who had bought back (redeemed) some Jews who had been sold to the heathen as slaves while in Persia (Neh. 5:8). We, which He hath purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28), were redeemed when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
4:7 breaches broken places; 4:10 strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed strength of the workmen is failing; 4:20 resort ye thither assemble there; 5:3 dearth famine; 5:7 usury interest; 5:10 exact of them require; 6:8 feignest made up the story.
Pray for Staff: Beth Carlton • Government Officials: Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM) and Rep. Mike Pence (IN) • Country: Kazakhstan (15.4 million) central Asia • Major languages: Kazakh and Russian • Religious tolerance • 47% Muslim (largely Sunni); 25% Russian Orthodox; 2% Lutheran; 2% Catholic; 2.3% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Remember that nothing is too hard for the Lord (Gen. 18:14).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 9
Memory Verse for the Week: Acts 1:8