When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:4 (NIV)
Nehemiah had received news of those who had remained in Jerusalem and the state of the city. This brought him to tears. Why? Was it purely that he remembered Jerusalem and the good times they had there before being taken into exile? Probably part of the reason he wept was indeed remembering the former glory of Jerusalem. However, it would be wrong of us to presume that this was all there was to it. Nehemiah equated the glory of Jerusalem with the glory of God. In his mind, if Jerusalem lay in ruins then this brought shame on the nation and also was dishonouring to God.
Things didn’t stop there for Nehemiah. Although the news from Jerusalem brought him to tears, it also caused him to pray.
When reading Nehemiah 1 the thought came to me – what is it about my nation, church, etc. that causes me to grieve and brings me to my knees in prayer? Does the state of my country and the laws it enacts cause me concern and, if so, what do I do about it? Do I just complain, pointing the finger at the politicians, or do I grieve and pray about the situation.
It is all too easy to think that you are only one person and what can you do about what you see around you that dishonours God. Nehemiah could have thought the same, but he didn’t. Pray that your heart will be soft enough to grieve over ungodly things you see in society and bold enough to bring it before God in prayer.
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