Day 1 of 40

2013 - Better Together Through Prayer And The Word


Nehemiah 1:1-4

1 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 capital, 2 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. 3 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." 4 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.

DAY 1 – BAD NEWS! GOOD GRIEF!

In our scripture today, we read these words, “when I heard these things, I sat down and wept.” As the cartoon Peanuts would say, “Good grief, Charlie Brown.” What a way to begin our forty day Engage the Word study!!

SCRIPTURE: Nehemiah 1:1-4a

Why did Nehemiah sit down and weep? He sat down and wept because the Israelite people on their return from Babylonian exile to Jerusalem found Jerusalem in great affliction and reproach. The city had appalling conditions of evil, was scorned and taunted. The walls were in rubble and the city gates in ashes. God’s holy city was in ruins and had no way to defend itself.

Where was Nehemiah? He was in the palace complex known as the citadel or sushan (Susa), which had great fortification. It was the winter palace of King Artaxerxes. Actually, if you were in the citadel at the time of an attack, you were definitely safe. It would be the last place the enemy would try to conquer.

Nehemiah was safe, but the Israelites were not safe in Jerusalem, God’s Holy City… Nehemiah “sat down and wept” when he heard the bad news!

LIFE APPLICATION: It was like Nehemiah was on the “inside looking out!” Our churches and our homes are similar to the citadel…our place of safety. We look out the windows and doors into our world and see MANY lives in ruins and rubble. What is our response? When was the last time we were moved to tears by the ruined lives around us? Have we recently shed tears for an unsaved friend or loved one? Will YOU be a Nehemiah, or will you turn your head and go on with your life?