Nehemiah: A Proud Defender Of His Nation
THE name Nehemiah means “the Lord comforts” and was appropriate in the time of hope and fulfilment of God’s promises to the Jews. This particular Nehemiah in the Bible was governor of Judah during the restoration. Originally, a cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes I (464-424 BC), Nehemiah pleaded to be sent to Judah to aid his fellow Jews in their difficulties and in particular to rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:1-2:8). He was appointed governor of Judah for twelve years.
He had a strong personal faith, as his prayers (Nehemiah 1:4-11-2:4) and conviction of divine guidance and help (Nehemiah 2:8, 18, 20) attest. In case you are in a difficult situation right now, I encourage you to seek God in prayers. Nehemiah prayed to God for favour in the sight of the king to be able to get permission to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. “When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven”- Neh. 1:4.
Nehemiah was so committed to his services and he did his job with delight and cheerfulness. But because of the state of things in his homeland, Nehemiah could not control his countenance. In the course of his service to the king, this was noticed and the king asked him why he was looking sad. He expressed his plight to the king and sought for the king’s assistance, and God granted him favour before the king.
“So the king asked me, “Why are you so sad? You aren’t sick, are you? You look like a man with deep troubles.” Then I was badly frightened, but I replied, “Long live the king! Why shouldn’t I be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been burned down.”-Neh. 2:2-3. After inspecting the walls upon his arrival, he realised that their repair was to be his prime task, as this would guarantee the security of the city and provide a focal point for the Jewish community scattered throughout Judah. That he was able to marshal support for this project and complete it attests to his skills in management and administration.
He was involved in the production of a document in which the Jewish community pledged itself to support the temple personnel and provide offerings (Nehemiah 10:1, 32, 39). Clearly, he realised that Judah needed at its heart a religious emphasis, as well as political stability. These particular religious reforms are linked with those of his second period as governor. Other reforms of that period concerned the observance of the Sabbath (Nehemiah 13:15-22) and the problem of marriages to non-Jews (Nehemiah 13:23-27). Nehemiah was a forceful leader, (Nehemiah 13:25) who used his imperial powers to restore to the settlers a national and religious identity in a period of political and economic weakness.
Prophet Abiara, General Evangelist, CAC Worldwide. email@example.com
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