The book of Nehemiah is one of my favorites. Here we have a man who was not a prophet, priest, or king, but was a lay worker– a food tester for a king. This man had risen through the ranks, being part of an occupied people, and he was in a position of importance because he held the king’s life in his hands.
As we journey through this book together, think about his perspective and let’s ask some of the questions that he asked and think through what he thought
What strikes me right from the beginning of this book is that Nehemiah is interested in those that are back in Jerusalem. While he may be attached to the current leadership in a far off land, his heart is knitted to his own people and knowing that they are back there doing the work, he’s naturally curious to know how they are getting on with the work.
The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. – Nehemiah 1:1-4
There are many around the world that profess Christ today. Some of these do so in secret, sometimes holding church services in a van or in the dark because to publicly profess Christ would be a death sentence.
When Nehemiah heard that the city was still not protected, he broke down in tears and prayers. When we hear that a believer is tortured or killed, do we do the same?
The question for us to address is, how is our heart toward our fellow believers?