Petitioning the KingSeptember 3, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Posted in Nehemiah | 3 Comments
Tags: Artaxerxes, commentary on Nehemiah, emergency prayers, Nehemiah, Nehemiah 1, Nehemiah 2, petitioning the Lord, Sunday School lessons on Nehemiah, sword and trowel
Lord, help us to be active doing Your will, executing the decrees of Heaven. I pray that we would be like the workers in Jerusalem, holding our trowels in one hand, and our swords in the other – working with one hand, vigilant and prepared to defend against the enemy with the other hand. Let us not be slothful in business, but let us be fervent in spirit, serving You. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.
Nehemiah’s name meant “the Lord has comforted.” He was a very successful man. As a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes Longimanus (the Long-Handed), he was in a trusted position. He was trusted to protect the king from danger, and he was trusted to give advice. He was trusted to be presentable, and trusted to be prepared. In this way he was a good example for Christian managers and employees today. Can your employer trust you to give good advice? Are you someone that people can trust to be presentable? Do you run when there’s danger, or is that when you can be counted on most?
Perhaps Nehemiah was taught by his father, Hachaliah, to depend on the Lord, because he lived in a time when (despite his name) he was not comforted by the news of his people in Jerusalem.
The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
Nehemiah cared enough to ask someone how the people were doing, and he cared enough to get upset when the news was bad. He cared enough to admit his – and his people’s – guilt, and he cared enough to remember the promises of God.
Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
He also cared enough to pray.
O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.
This was a simple prayer, but sometimes it’s the strength of our prayers, not the length of our prayers, that touch God. Most of the prayer is talking about God and His Word. Nehemiah’s petition itself was very brief.
And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.
Nehemiah approached both the king of Persia and the King of the Universe. The earthly king saw the sorrow on his face; the Heavenly King saw the sorrow in his heart.