Scripture: Nehemiah 1:1-3
The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol, that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem. They said to me, "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire."
Insights: Leaders are always faced with “impossible” circumstances and tasks. Nehemiah was 800 miles from Jerusalem and serving under a non-believing king as cupbearer. He, however, had a heart for the things of God and desired to see the wall rebuilt for the protection of the people. We know Nehemiah has this heart because of the two questions he asked his biological brother, Hanani. He wanted to know how the people in Jerusalem were doing and the condition of the city. Hanani told him the people were in great distress and reproach. The Hebrew word for great distress means “misery” or “calamity.” These people’s lives are horrible beyond recognition. The Hebrew word for reproach means “sharp, cutting, penetrating, or piercing.” The surrounding nations were assaulting the people with critical and slanderous words intent on doing the people harm. Nehemiah was the cupbearer. He could have closed his eyes toward the situation, but he refused to do so. How many times do we as people pretend the evils of this world do not really exist? We see the down and out and justify our unwillingness to give assistance. Beloved, I don’t know about you, but as for me, it occurs way too often. It did not matter that Nehemiah was safe and comfortable living in the palace. His heart was for the things about which God’s heart was concerned—the people and Jerusalem. Be very careful as you pursue the successes of this world to not forget what God would have you to do while on this side of eternity. His heart is sensitive to the needs of others and we are His tools to meet those needs. So, I encourage you today to spend some extra time with the Father and ask Him if your priorities are right. Are these priorities set on the things about which He cares or are they on your personal desires. I will tell you, Beloved, there are times it is very hard to have a heart for the things of God, but we are commanded to do so.
- To what is your heart drawn?
- Is your heart tender toward the things of God even when it is hard?
Prayer: Father, so often I pursue my heart’s desires and not Yours. Forgive me when I do forsake You for self. Transform my heart to be tender toward You and the pursuits You wish for me to undertake. Amen.