Royalty and Ruin


Nehemiah, Man of Prayer and Action

This chapter is based on Nehemiah 1 and 2.

Nehemiah, one of the Hebrew exiles, held an influential position in the Persian court and had free access to the royal presence. He had become the monarch’s friend and counselor. However, in the midst of the pomp and splendor, he did not forget God or His people. His heart turned toward Jerusalem. Through this man God determined to bring blessing to His people. RR 221.1

Nehemiah learned from messengers from Judea that the returned exiles in the chosen city were suffering. Opposition hindered the restoration work, the temple services were disturbed, and the walls of the city were still mostly in ruins. Overwhelmed with sorrow, Nehemiah could neither eat nor drink. In grief he turned to the divine Helper. “I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” He pleaded that God would support the cause of Israel, restore their courage and strength, and help them build the devastated city. RR 221.2

As Nehemiah prayed, his faith and courage grew. He pointed to the dishonor that would be cast on God if His people remained weak and oppressed. He urged the Lord to fulfill His promise to Israel given through Moses before they entered Canaan. See Deuteronomy 4:29-31. God’s people had now returned to Him in repentance, and His promise would not fail. RR 221.3

Now Nehemiah resolved that if he could get the consent of the king and the necessary material, he would himself take up the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and restoring Israel’s national strength. And he asked the Lord to grant him the king’s favor so that his plan could be carried out. “Let Your servant prosper this day, I pray,” he pleaded, “and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” RR 221.4