June 10, 2018
NEHEMIAH PART 1 | FRIENDSHIP AND PRAYER
Tribe Recap June 10, 2018 | Nehemiah Chapter 1
Nehemiah was a Jew who found himself in the service to a Persian king years after Judah was taken from Jerusalem into exile. He was a cupbearer who tasted the king’s wine to protect him from assassination but he was also a top advisor to the king.
In chapter one of this book an emissary comes to Nehemiah from Jerusalem; Nehemiah interviews him to see how things are going (Neh 1:2).
When Nehemiah finds out the walls are burnt and that the city is vulnerable and without defense he is deeply effected and goes into a season of fasting and prayer. Nehemiah took a proactive effort in wanting to know what was happening with his countryman and his homeland.
These days, so much of our lives feel vulnerable to attack. Our faith, our marriages, our health, our minds and our communities are all under fire from time to time as darkness tries to pick us apart.
Do we, like Nehemiah, inquire about what is going on in each other’s lives? Are we affected by the condition of our friends and communities? When we see others in a defenseless state, do we enter into a season of prayer wanting God to bring a breakthrough?
You can’t get there without prayer. If you want a breakthrough for yourself or for others you’re going to have to pray for it. For the big stuff you are going to have to fast. You are going to have to enter a season of prayer and fasting. It’s amazing how much a single person can accomplish when they allow themselves to be affected by a ‘wall-less’ city and begin to pray.
Nehemiah was probably very comfortable where he was in service to the king, but because his heart was with God and God’s people he could not be comfortable under the circumstances. He took on the people’s problem and made it his problem.
Walls are often seen in a negative light as barriers between people but God wants to put his walls of protection around us. Consider Psalm 91 “I will say to the Lord my refuge and my fortress” or Genesis 15:1 “Do not fear Abram, I am a shield to you.”
Jesus commented that so often he wanted to gather his people like a mother hen gathers her chicks but they would not do it….God wants to cover us, protect us, and build walls of salvation around us.
As Nehemiah prays in chapter one, he reminds the Lord of the word he gave to Moses (Neh 1:9). If we return to the Lord he is ready to receive us back and cover us. As we come to God we will find his wings as shields around us. As we go all in and spend ourselves completely on the Lord he will go all in and spend himself on us.
In friendship to each other, inquiring about the conditions of our communities, and as we stand ready to pray, fast, and stand in the gap, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God (1:5) will be attentive to our prayers and answer us, and we will see the ancient ruins and former devastations be rebuilt, even if they have laid as ruins for generations.