Daily Thought for: 12th July

NEHEMIAH—HIS TEARS

Nehemiah 1

In looking at Nehemiah, we see a different character from that of Ezra. It could have been as much as 14 years after Ezra’s movements that Nehemiah led a company of exiles back to Jerusalem. As with Ezra, Nehemiah was God’s man at the right time. Great things were achieved through a man who courageously carried out God’s will. History owes much to such men. ‘The words of Nehemiah’; notice how much of this book is written in the first person. The man is describing his own concern and actions. This gives it poignancy and power. 

Today we seem to see right into Nehemiah’s heart. As Hananiah and his friends come from Jerusalem, he asks concerning the well-being of those who had escaped exile and returned. In verse 3 we read the sorry story; they were in great affliction and reproach, and the walls of the city were broken down, and the gates destroyed by fire. In a sense this one verse sets the stage for the events that follow. It presents a picture of desolation and despair. 

The effect on Nehemiah was devastating; ‘I sat down and wept and mourned certain days, and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven’. Let us consider this man’s deep concern. Tears express deep feelings, often too deep for words. Think of Jeremiah, Paul the apostle, and even our Lord Jesus. Are we concerned enough to ask about our brothers and sisters, and then to weep when we hear of desperate needs in their lives? 

Out of his concern he called upon God. His sense of helplessness is apparent. Jerusalem was a long way off, and he was just a hearer of the needs. But, to a man of prayer, God is always near. This is one lesson that we shall be reminded of many times. Note his plea; ‘Let thine ears be attentive and thine eyes be open . . .’, v. 6. 

It is here, also, that we notice that Nehemiah claimed God’s covenant promises to His people, v. 5. The plight of the people was because of their sin, but they were still His people. We shall notice more of this prayer relationship as we go on. Today, let us ask the Lord to make us aware of the needs of those who have lost their way in their Christian lives. 

 

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