Summary: Nehemiah was a man of prayer. A man with a heavy heart because something in his world was unchanged. Nehemiah 1:1-4
The Bible is full of them, from Moses all the way to Paul, every single one of them changed their world around them. I have many favourite stories in the Bible but the most amazing one I have read yet is about a man named Nehemiah. Nehemiah wasn’t a priest, prophet, warrior, or a king, he was simply a man that as bothered by something. The walls to Jerusalem had been broken down. How many of us have broken down walls? Our governments are sucky, we see families that fight everyday, there’s hunger in the world, poverty, abuse, the list goes on. Nehemiah was bothered that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down. The walls had been down for 140 years, that’s a long time. The Babylonians had come and taken over the Israelites and taken them into captivity into Babylon. God had told the Israelites that if they were too only worship Him he would make sure that no enemy would overcome them, but instead they turned from the Lord and God allowed Babylon to capture them. Soon after Babylon came in and took them Babylon, itself, was taken captive by Persia and the walls of Jerusalem had still remained down.
The Persian King had allowed some people to move back to Jerusalem, some had rebuilt the temple but no one touched the walls. It was embarrassing to see a city with it’s walls down, it was vulnerable. Now Nehemiah was no ordinary man in Persia, he was the cupbearer to the King. Which meant that whenever the King wanted to drink anything, Nehemiah was the man to serve him. Now if you have your bible, you can open it up to Nehemiah 1:1-4.
“The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”
When Nehemiah heard these things, the Bible says, he sat down and wept. How many of us after bad news sit down and weep? He had just heard that his people were in great trouble and disgrace and that Jerusalem was still destroyed. Now Nehemiah lived in comfort, he didn’t have anything to trouble him in Persia, he worked for the King and I’m assuming the King made sure he was well paid and well fed. He didn’t have a trouble in the world, but when he heard these news, he sat and wept. His heart was heavy at hearing of the suffering and chaos. A few months ago I came across a video of child soldiers, a documentary of what these children had to endure and what they were made to go through. About two minutes into the video I was crying, and I’m not just talking about a tear here and there, I’m talking about sobbing and snot coming out of nose. The video made my heart heavy, I’m guessing this is how Nehemiah had felt when he heard the news. A grown man, crying and sobbing, praying and fasting. What are some things that break your heart? Is it child abuse or neglect? Is it physical or sexual abuse? Famines and wars, the lack of drinkable water? Those are just a few to mention. I want you to think about something that breaks your heart, maybe it’s something happening in your home or in your city. Let it in, feel the pain, embrace that burden.