Tuesday, May 21, 2019
“So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work” (Nehemiah 4:6 KJV).
It is a verse from Israel’s ancient records, but the underlying principle is most beneficial to us if we are willing to hear and believe it.
Nehemiah, a Jew, lived 450 years before the Thessalonians of Paul’s ministry. He was in Persia (modern Iran), born there after the Babylonians captured and exiled Judah nearly 150 years prior. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had ransacked Jerusalem, and burned its walls and Temple. Nehemiah is despondent, depressed to learn that Jerusalem still lies in ruins after all these decades. (Read Nehemiah chapter 1.)
Persian King Artaxerxes asks Nehemiah why he is unhappy. Chapter 2: “ And [Nehemiah] said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?  Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.  And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.
“ And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.  Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;  And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.”
The LORD God has granted Nehemiah favor with Artaxerxes. Now, Nehemiah can return to rebuild Jerusalem and especially its walls….