In today’s reading, Nehemiah is mourning for the people of Jerusalem who survived the exile. He is weeping after he discovers that their wall has been broken down and their gates have been burned with fire. He begins fasting and praying to God. In chapter 1, he proclaims a beautiful, powerful prayer to God. He declares that he knows that God keeps his promises and his steadfast love for his people if his people listen to him, but he also knows that God punishes those who stray away from God. He cries out to God for the people of Israel and for the sins that they have committed. He also pleads for God’s forgiveness for his people.
In chapter 2, Nehemiah is a servant for the king. He goes to the king, and the king asks him why he looks so sad. Nehemiah is afraid to respond, but he explains how he is sad that the city of Jerusalem is in ruins. Then he asks for the king’s permission to rebuild the city. The king agrees and sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem with a military, letters, and building materials. Nehemiah then leaves for Jerusalem, knowing that God is with him during his journey. Some people hear that Nehemiah is rebuilding the city, and they believe that it is a rebellion against the king. Meanwhile, Nehemiah shares his plan of rebuilding the city with others.
A key verse from these chapters is Nehemiah 1:5-6, which says:
“And I said, ‘O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned.’”
These verses are important as we reflect on how awesome our God is during the challenges that we face in our lives. To some, it may feel like we are in exile right now, similar to the Israelites. However, we need to remember that even during our trials, our God is there for us if we love him and keep his commandments. Our God listens to our prayers and comforts us when we are feeling weak. Thus, these verses symbolize how it was God’s plan all along to bring Jesus to save us from our sins. God knew that we were going to have struggles, and he brought us Jesus to redeem us. Our God is an AWESOME GOD!
After reading and reflecting on these chapters, I will go with God by dedicating time to prayer every day.