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Nehemiah 5-6


A Devotional Journey
 led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
            Once again we come to a book which was originally part of another.  Ezra at one time included Nehemiah.  In any case, the writing comes from at least two different authors, as the opening verse of Nehemiah makes clear.  This is an autobiographical account by the main character.  Nehemiah’s name means the LORD comforts and fits his mission in life.
            In November or December of 445 B.C., Nehemiah hears of the terrible state into which the Jerusalem community has fallen and is overcome with grief.  As cupbearer to the king of Persia, he is in a position to do something about this and asks permission.  After assuring himself, that Nehemiah will return, the king gives permission for him to go and help his people in Palestine.
            According to Ezra 4:17-22, King Artaxerxes had already accepted reports that Jerusalem was a rebellious and unstable community and in response issued a decree that the city walls were not to be rebuilt.  Nehemiah spends 4 months in prayer preparing to present his request to the king, and, at considerable risk does so, after one more quick prayer (2:4).  The king is responsive and Nehemiah is given safe passage and the king’s authorization to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
            The prayer life of Nehemiah is visible throughout his writing (1:4-11; 2:4; 4:4-9; 5:19; 6:9, 14; 13:14, 22, 29, 31).  It is worth studying, if only to remind ourselves how important prayer must be to our own success.
            When Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem, he spends time evaluating his position.  There is nothing presumptuous in this leader’s approach, and nothing hasty.  He takes time to evaluate, pray, plan and then present his approach to the people he wants to work with him.  We do well to learn from his example.
            Almost immediately (2:10), opposition arises, but Nehemiah is following God’s lead, and the people, sensing this, immediately respond, “Let’s start building!”  Nehemiah’s response to those who try to frighten him out of his project with the threat of telling on him to the king, are met with a firm restatement of Nehemiah’s mission on behalf of God, who, implicitly, is his support and the guarantor of success.
            What do you do when you start a project?  Do you pray?  Do you spend time thinking through all the details?  What are you working on right now that you have failed to discuss with God?
            Today, ask God to show you something He would like to do in or through your life.  Keep praying that prayer and see if God does not reveal more clearly His purpose for your life.          
© A. Eugene Pearson 2010