Many times in our lives we are affected by the sight or stories of the afflictions of other people. It was the same in the time of Nehemiah as we shared in the Sunday message. Jesus had those same kind of feelings when He looked at Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. Jesus wept over the scene of the need of God's people represented in Jerusalem. He later said that He would have loved to gather the people into His arms like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings to protect and keep safe, but that they would not come to Him. The affliction of even the people who hesitated to come were loved by Him
Tuesday - Fasting - Joel 2:12
As we know, fasting was done in such a way as to make us more sensitive to the leadership of God and His Spirit. Nehemiah fasted in a way as to give more time to prayer and bringing his petitions to God with a humble and contrite heart. Denial of even the most common of acts (eating and drinking) brings with it a demonstration of the desperation of our needs. The will to sacrifice and submit to God above and beyond shares how much we are wanting the will of God to be done. God spoke through Joel that things will take place if they would just humble themselves, fast and return to the Lord with their all (heart, body, soul, mind).
Wednesday - Prayerfulness - Luke 2:37
Along with fasting comes the idea of prayerfulness. A great example of this is found at the occasion of Mary and Joseph bringing Jesus to the Temple to be named and circumcised. A woman named Anna was there serving in the Temple and had been for many years. She was a widow until she was 84 years old, but she had never left the Temple, but worshiped day and night, with some sort of fasting and much prayer. God blessed her by allowing her to see the Holy Son of God, Jesus for herself.. .and she praised God.
Thursday - Despondency - Luke 24:17
Nehemiah was downcast, filled with sorrow, broken in spirit, when he heard of what had become of the city of Jerusalem and the survivors that were there. His heart ached to the point of not knowing what to do or say, or how to respond. We see the same type of emotion and heartfelt grief on the road to Emmaus, as two of Jesus' disciples walk and discuss the events of their most recent days. In both of these situations and others (Joshua, Elijah, David) God had a tendency to draw ever nearer to help work a mighty act of His will that changed the downcast hearts and gave them a gentle warming that remained.
Friday - Kings Favor - Luke 24:45-46
The servant who is willing to do the master's or kings bidding, is the one who will be treated well by the king and be granted freedoms and special gifts. We see this happening in other passages of scripture. Nehemiah was granted freedom to return to his own city of Jerusalem and rebuild it. Nehemiah was granted letters to receive the resources to do the construction, to have safe passage throughout the lands, and to have the support of the king to see that all was taken care of people, Temple, gates, and moral. It was by the grace of God that this king came to feel this way.
Saturday - Divine Hand - John 10:28
As we learned from the scripture this past Sunday, Nehemiah won the favor of his earthly king and was granted so much support and given so much leadership that he knew that it was the hand of God upon all that he felt led to do and say. From the point of explaining to the king what was going on at home and how he felt about it, Nehemiah knew that God not only gave him the words but the strength to carry out all that the Lord wanted for His people. In our lives today, it is only by the divine hand of God that we are able to accomplish what is best for all...His Will!!!