Nehemiah 1 – February 13
Welcome to our studies in Ezra and Nehemiah! These books will shine the light on God being in control of our world, moving us to do His work. Join our study by following along with the reading plan then reflecting and journaling on each day’s reading to humble yourself before Him and listen. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading followed by a SOAP journal note from one of our study leaders. If you’re wondering what SOAP is…it’s a method of Bible study that focuses on applying scripture to our every days. Read more about it on our website.
Nehemiah 1 – Nehemiah’s Prayer
1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:
In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said:
“Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’
10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”
I was cupbearer to the king.
How To Do God’s Work | Becky Newman
Nehemiah 1:5, 11
Nehemiah’s prayer is like the opening voice-over of a blockbuster movie! I’m drawn in and hungry for more! Nehemiah was a prayerful man who always humbled himself before God before taking action. In chapter 1, he sees a need about which he discovers God has made him passionate (vs. 4), he takes the need to prayer, then he prays over the action (vs. 11) — Nehemiah was requesting that the king would show him favor so he could do something about the demolished wall around Jerusalem…to be continued tomorrow. A demolished wall around Jerusalem where the temple had been rebuilt was a sign of weakness to the pagans, particularly weakness of God, and meant the Israelites were vulnerable to attack. Nehemiah just couldn’t stand seeing his God disrespected and dishonored by the pagans and was called to do something about it. My Bible notes opened my eyes to this prayer today. It is jam-packed with precious jewels! Particularly, it points out steps to take in volunteering or serving God (“principles of divinely inspired and highly effective volunteerism”): (1) recognize a project and make it your own (vs. 1:3-4) — that whole passion thing that I believe God grows in us until it’s ready to compel us to GO, (2) pray about the project (vs. 1:5-11), (3) determine how you are uniquely positioned and designed to participate in the project (vs. 1:11), (4) bring the project to the attention of those in authority and gain their permission to pursue it (vs. 2:1-10), (5) gather information about the project (2:11-16), (6) report your findings to maintain accountability and arouse interest (vs. 2:17-20), (7) inspire others to join your cause (vs. 2:17-18), (8) organize others to help you do the work (vs. 3:1-32), (9) confront opposition directly and turn to God when discouraged (vs. 4:1-23), and (10) celebrate what is accomplished and give God the glory (vs. 12:27-47).
God is shining His love bright on me in today’s reading! I’ve read Nehemiah before but never did I realize that He has completely and perfectly spelled out how to work for Him, how to do God’s work; yet, He’s guided me along each of these steps without this revelation. Your love is amazing! Right now, God is orchestrating a huge divine project before my eyes, one that He orchestrated a baby step for me to follow a few years ago, and I’m in the midst of (2) and (4)-(10) in the list above to obediently do God’s work.
Lord, thank You for Your all-encompassing bear hug of love today! Thank You for guiding me in these steps without knowing it. Give Your servants success in Your divinely orchestrated project! And I celebrate each detail You’ve brought to light to make it happen.
The Discover One Thing main website follows a reading plan that goes through the entire Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.