3rd December 2011

Nehemiah’s Prayer

“…The earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people…. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. Instead, I devoted myself to work on the wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land…. Remember me with favour, O my God, for all I have done for these people.”
Nehemiah 5:15-16, 19 (NIV)

People exiled from the original nation of Israel had returned to their country by the permission of the Persian emperor. The temple in Jerusalem had eventually been rebuilt. There were people living in and around the city, but life was hard and the work of rebuilding the infrastructure had stopped: walls were broken down and gates blocked by rubble, and the city was open to attack from any neighbouring tribe who felt it worth their while. Hearing news of the situation, Nehemiah wept, fasted, prayed and went to rebuild the city of the temple of his God. Surveying the area on his arrival, he found matters every bit as bad as he had feared, but he did not pause for long before personally getting the work in hand.

There are places now where God is working, and where a part of his kingdom is—to all appearances precariously—being built. There are churches with broken walls and with reputations of weakness, injustice and inadequacy.

There are also people who, like Nehemiah, have it placed in their hearts to leave their comfort zone and to go where, metaphorically speaking, the very process of building is hindered by rubble from previous disasters; where failure seems almost inevitable; and where their actions and motives will only be misunderstood by those watching. There are Christians who have answered God’s call to ministry in situations where the history was long and the future seemed short; where hardship was guaranteed and personal gain was never in the equation.

In the story: Against all the odds God supported Nehemiah’s work, helped him stamp out wrongdoing, and the purpose and identity of his people was restored. Whatever that might mean in church terms, certainly Nehemiah was remembered and will receive God’s reward.

Thank you, God, for your servants who, out of reverence for you and sometimes to their own loss in terms of income, status or health, have led your churches faithfully. Remember them with favour for all they have done for your people.

Study by Fiona Jones

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One Response to “3rd December 2011”

  1. Ian Woodley on December 3rd, 2011 10:15 am

    Thank you Fiona, for your Day by Day. Very perceptive and very encouraging. Regards, Ian

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