The life of Nehemiah provides a valuable lesson on how prayer and trust in the sovereign God can heal a nation. Nehemiah was serving as a cupbearer for King Artaxerxes in Babylon when he received news that the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem after their exile were “in great trouble and disgrace.” The wall of Jerusalem was also broken down and its gates burned.
Nehemiah says, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4) Instead of complaining or blaming others, he got on his knees and cried out to God. He confessed the sins of his people and pleaded with God to grant him favor in what he was about to ask the king.
One day, the king noticed that Nehemiah was preoccupied and saddened by something. Nehemiah shared the plight of his homeland and the anguish within his heart. God moved in Artaxerxes’ spirit and caused him to react favorably toward Nehemiah. Nehemiah found favor with the king and he released him to go and assist the Jews with rebuilding Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1–6).
When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, he quickly discovered that the work was by no means limited to building the physical wall. He had to contend with constant interference and harassment from the enemies of the Jews, try to keep up the spirit of the downcast Jews, and remind them of their need to follow and obey God.
Like ancient Israel, America has its share of sins and “broken walls” in need of repair. Divorce, drug abuse, pornography, abortion, homosexuality, and a host of other evils have left us with deep scars and placed our country in great distress. We desperately need a great healing that can only happen if His people humble themselves, repent of their sins, and cry out to Him.
We need to sit down and weep upon hearing these things. We need to mourn and fast and beg God to work in our hearts and those of our nation. We desperately need a spiritual awakening — that’s our wall to build. Like Nehemiah, God may call upon many of us to step into the fray and assume a leadership role to help bring about this spiritual awakening.
Having said that, you may or may not consider yourself a leader in this regard. There’s still a job for you. Because of the harassment in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah had to assign some to build while others guarded the city. He also dealt with social ills by helping the poor and deal with those who were taking advantage of their fellow Jews. There’s plenty of work for all.
You and I are workers in “God’s field.” We have a job to do representing Christ to a fallen world. Will you join me?
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:13–16
- Spend time mourning over the sins of our land and asking the Lord what He would have you do.
- Now, follow through with what God has put on your heart.
Jim Grassi, D. Min.
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5