Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Weeping Servant

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.

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 O 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."
Nehemiah 1:3-4 & 8-11, New International Version

Weeping Servant

Imagine growing up in a country you love. However, when you were a young man, your country was overthrown by another, and you were hauled captive into a foreign land. This is exactly the situation that Nehemiah found himself in. As you can imagine, he was eager to hear any news from his country. Not having the news media we have today, it was often many years before news could get to the former inhabitants.

Nehemiah, who along with many of the Jewish people, had settled down in the city of Susa, where he was a cup bearer for the king. Upon hearing news of the great destruction of the walls of Jerusalem and the gates of the temple, Nehemiah longed to return to the land and make repairs. However, he needed permission from the king to do such a thing.

This passage of Scripture relates the prayer of Nehemiah to the Lord his God for help in moving the heart of the king favorably. I think it is greatly beneficial to us to look at this prayer. Nehemiah knew that the Jewish people had sinned, and were unworthy of God answering their prayer, even this many years later.

In this prayer we see a wonderful balance between humility and boldness in Nehemiah. After admitting his unworthiness, he called God to remember the former promises He had made to his people.

"Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 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.'"

But, he also realized that God would not answer his prayers if his heart was not right toward the Lord.

"O 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."

As we think of Nehemiah, the weeping servant, let us remember his humility as well as his boldness before the Lord. When our hearts are right with the Lord, we can, indeed, come before God boldly, asking Him to fulfill the promises He has made to us in His Word.

What a wonderful Savior we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

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