As I wrote yesterday, there are several men of faith from the O.T. who loved people and did all that they could to help people who were running as fast as they could toward destruction by being disobedient to God. I would like to continue the list that we began yesterday and see what other truths we can learn from God about how to love people and serve them.
Nehemiah is the next hero of faith that I would like to look at because he loved his country and countrymen even though he was enslaved in another country. Nehemiah gets word of what life is like in Jerusalem and he is saddened. God begins to work in Nehemiah’s heart about praying for his people and going back to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall and restore the city. Nehemiah goes to the Lord in prayer to intercede on behalf of his countrymen and ask the Lord what he should do. Let’s look at the prayer to God from Nehemiah.
I said, “I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. “We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. “Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’ “They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand. “O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man.” Now I was the cupbearer to the king. (Nehemiah 1:5-11)
As you can see Nehemiah has an understanding of who God is and what His character is like. He lists the attributes and promises of God. He then begs God to hear his prayers and he knows that God listens to His servants. He is praying on behalf of his people night and day and confessing their sins along with his and his household’s sin. Nehemiah then lists the ways that the children of Israel sinned against God. He realizes that the punishment that they received by being taken into slavery was based on their own sin. He also understands that God is faithful and merciful and will forgive the people if they return to Him with all of their hearts. He recognizes that they (children of God) must obey His Word. God hears his prayers and answers them by giving Nehemiah the chance and ability to go back to Jerusalem, rebuild the wall, and lead the people of Israel back to a personal relationship with God.
Are our communities in shambles because of sin? Does God promise to rebuild them if we return to Him? Do you intercede on behalf of the people so that you can be the one to help rebuild what sin has destroyed? May God help us return to God and help others return to Him as well so that we can rebuild our nations and the world.