TEXT: NEHEMIAH 1:1-11.
KEY VERSE “And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven” (NEHEMIAH 1:4).
The history of the children of Israel is one that has continued to provide instructive principles for believers today. Jerusalem occupies the central place in their entire history. The city symbolises divine relationship, sanctuary, royalty, national identity, heritage, and everything that has to do with their entire life as a people and nation.
In our passage today, Nehemiah shows us the unique place Jerusalem occupies in the heart of every Jew. He must have remembered the words of Jeremiah: “Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still… and let Jerusalem come into your mind” (Jeremiah 51:50).
Although he was in a comfortable position in the palace, he considered it a sin to forget Jerusalem, the city of God, the place of worship. He inquired after the welfare of the city and the remnants. He was greatly saddened when he learnt that “…the remnant… are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire” (verse 3).
Nehemiah’s love for his birthplace and fellow Jews made him develop a serious burden which could not be shaken off by circumstances around him. His passion and love for his nation brought about the vision and strategies as well as commitment to do something to improve the situation through prayers and practical involvement.
Are you bothered about the state of your country?
your church or the local assembly where you worship? Do you even care about fellow Christians? Or you just complain and murmur about every situation? Learn from Nehemiah who was patriotic enough to fast, pray and take appropriate actions to reverse the negative trends in Jerusalem.
✍THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Out of sight is not out of mind when your heart is where your treasure is.
BIBLE IN A YEAR: 1 SAMUEL 10-11.
You must play the man for your city
- The helpless but concerned
a. The men who visited Nehemiah were concerned about the devastation of their city, Jerusalem v2.
b. Even though they appeared helpless they did not fold their hands v2.
c. They had to travel for about 3 months (about 1500km) in order to locate an helper, Nehemiah. (The journey took Nehemiah 3 months and Ezra about 4 months) v2.
d. They undertook that tortuous and costly journey in order to give information that is needed to transform their country v2.
e. They were able to acquire and disseminate all the needed information that will propel Nehemiah to action vv2,3.
L1 Every saint must have a vision or concern for his city.
L1 Every saint has a part he is to play in order to bring godly changes.
L1 Don’t fold your hands, pray and discover your own part. It will require sacrifice.
- The holy and the connected
a. Nehemiah was holy and was highly connected vv6,7,11.
b. He used his connection to bring a great change to his city, Jerusalem.
c. He demonstrated a great degree of burden and zeal for his city. He refused to remain in his comfort zone v4.
d. Prayer and fasting were deployed to secure favour from powers that be until he received His direction and assurance. It is a spiritual mission vv5-11.
- The heavenly and earthly cities
a. Christians are citizens of at least two countries, the earthly and the heavenly Hebrews 13:14.
b What challenge and vision are you receiving now as to what you can do for your cities, both earthly and most importantly heavenly? What mission statement have you outlined for yourself to the glory of God?
Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: 2 Samuel 10:12.
Lord, open my mind to see the condition of my city/country and give me concern and burden
Give me vision and teach me what you expect from me
Lord, give me the burden, the zeal and the passion for the good and expansion of your kingdom
Lord, raise up many Nehemiahs from our youths of this generation
HYMN O Beulah land
- I’ve reached the land of corn and wine,
And all its riches freely mine;
Here shines undimmed one blissful day,
For all my night has passed away.
O Beulah Land, sweet Beulah Land,
As on thy highest mount I stand,
I look away across the sea,
Where mansions are prepared for me,
And view the shining glory shore,
My heav’n, my home forevermore!
- My Savior comes and walks with me,
And sweet communion here have we;
He gently leads me by His hand,
For this is Heaven’s borderland.
- A sweet perfume upon the breeze,
Is borne from ever vernal trees,
And flow’rs that never fading grow
Where streams of life forever flow.
- The zephyrs seem to float to me,
Sweet sounds of Heaven’s melody,
As angels with the white-robed throng
Join in the sweet redemption song.