Reports from the Homeland

After being abducted and taken captive to a foreign land, and spending many years in exile, this man is delivered a vital report concerning the condition of his homeland.

Through a visit from a brother and some fellow countrymen, Nehemiah is given a dismal depiction of Jerusalem. A city disgraced without a wall nor gates causes Nehemiah to weep with a heavy heart for his homeland.  

So, Nehemiah worries and frets, calling all his friends to worry and fret with him. ~This is where you would hear that horrible screeching sound occur in the story; Because that italicized part is not true~ It is true Nehemiah was in turmoil and distressed but what he did immediately in his mourning was to fast and pray to the God of heaven! The Bible says he fasted and prayed for DAYS!

“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands . . . O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”

Nehemiah 1:5-11, NLT

As the Persian king’s cupbearer, Nehemiah had an active role in the daily affairs of the king. Nehemiah’s prayer was granted, and he found favor to return to Jerusalem for the rebuilding of the walls.

After fifty-two days, and with much opposition from the enemies of God, Nehemiah the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe witnessed the work of the wall completed.

As Ezra read the Law, people began to weep. There was much to weep over:

  • disobedience,
  • captivity,
  • exile,
  • opposition,
  • __you name it__.

 But the order came:

“Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast…and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

Nehemiah 8:9b-10

The Joy of the Lord is our strength too! We can look around and see chaos, weeping, and so much turmoil in this world. We can even look inside and see the same. We can major on all that has happened to us or choose to believe that “God causes all things to work together for good” and has a purpose and plan for EVERYTHING that touches our lives (Romans 8:28). Thus, if we are God’s children, we are given joy in our sorrow. A rebuilding of a “new” life. Protection from the enemy. A sinless life to come. Hope for a future with the Lord Himself. Producing a joy that becomes our strength to bear up under all that we encounter in this life while serving others.

Even though a captive in a foreign land that did not worship God, Nehemiah’s testimony of a joyful strength was evident in that the king recognized his sadness after Nehemiah had been given the report of his homeland. The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?” (2:4a)  

Maybe there is something broken down in your life that needs repair or opposition has become a constant intimidation. Find help and draw strength from the joy of the Lord!

How can I help YOU?

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