Scripture: Nehemiah 1:3-4
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." When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Insights: Nehemiah, this palace dweller, could have easily been preoccupied with his life and the comforts his life offered him. If he had desired he could have been content to live in his own little dream world. He, however, asked those two questions we looked at yesterday. As a result, he had a clear understanding of the needs in Jerusalem. Beloved, let me caution you here. There are a lot of people in this world that are great need finders or problem stirrers. It is like a full time job to them to be wrapped up with the information surrounding the most recent calamity in life. This garbage dump mentality is just as wrong as the pie in the sky dreamer who never wants to acknowledge the needs and problems pervading his/her life. The world is full of need recognizers, but for too many that is where it stops. A humble leader like Nehemiah, however, goes on to the next step and becomes personally concerned about those needs. We know Nehemiah was personally concerned because of his response to those needs in verse four. He sat down, he wept, he mourned for days, he fasted and he prayed. He did not do the normal thing and begin playing the blame game. He did not seek out to know whose fault it was that the people were in such distress and reproach. He did not form a lynch mob to find the person who ought to have built the wall by now. He was personally vested now and desired to be a part of the solution. Tomorrow we are going to specifically start looking at Nehemiah’s prayer, but before then, let me make a few comments regarding that “f” word we Baptist don’t like to use. The only One truly capable of solving the needs in our lives is the Lord God. Part of our spiritual disciplines that draws us deeper into our love relationship with Him is fasting, that “f” word. A lot of times we fast when the situation is dire, and that is good, but I would encourage you to make fasting a part of your life on a more regular basis. Fasting zeros in on our walk with God and the true condition of our heart.
- Are you aware of the needs around you?
- Are you personally concerned about those needs?
Prayer: Father, like yesterday, so often I am aware of the needs, but fail to be personally concerned about them. Forgive me for my indifference. Continue to soften and make my heart one that desires You and Your will. Amen.