Food For Thought by J.C.
By: J. Cates
Text: Nehemiah 1:1-4; 6:4-9
Supporting text: Isaiah 54:17
Understanding the backdrop of Judah at the time, the Jews have been in captivity by the king of Persia Artaxerxes. The land of Judah was governed by Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem appointed by the king of Persia, Artaxerxes. The walls of Jerusalem were broken down and the city was in ruin since their captivity into Babylon. The Jewish people were oppressed by their captors and were required to mortgage their lands and pay the taxes to the king of Persia. In chapter one it is reported to Nehemiah that the people of Judah were in great distress and reproach. The walls of Jerusalem were broken down and the gates of the city were burned. When Nehemiah heard these words he wept and mourned for many days with prayer and fasting. Nehemiah's love for his people was so great that he sacrificed his own physical needs to get an answer from God. Nehemiah was king Artaxerxes cupbearer and had an audience with the king. At that time Nehemiah shared his sorrow for Jerusalem; the city of his fathers and requested to go and rebuild the city.
Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem were governors of the region of Judah appointed by the king of Persia. When Sanballat; an enemy of Judah received word of Nehemiah's plan to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, he was angry and tried to discourage him. Nehemiah told Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem that "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem." From this point forward the attempts to discourage Nehemiah and the children of Israel grew in intensity up to the point to conspiring to kill Nehemiah. The enemy's attempt to discourage and weaken the hands of the people were unsuccessful and the prayer went out from Nehemiah for God to strengthen his hands.
Prayer alone does not always engage God to answer, it's only when there is sacrifice on our part that it gets the attention of God. Don’t expect God to do all the work, we must have some skin in the game and be ready to do some heavy lifting to see our prayers answered. When we are committed to the cause and our resolve for an answer is undeterred, our God will give us the strength and determiniation to complete the work before us. My prayer for all this week is that our God would strengthen your hands for the work that is set before you.
Remember just like Nehemiah, you are an heritage of the Lord. Isaiah 54:17 "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord."
Nehemiah 6:9 "For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, "Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will no be done." Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands."