Daily Devotional Saturday 1st May 2021

by William Moody

Nehemiah 1

Report from Jerusalem

1:1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah.

Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”

Nehemiah’s Prayer

As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ 10 They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

Now I was cupbearer to the king.


Due to their sin the people of Jerusalem were carried into exile to Babylon. After many years some exiles returned to Jerusalem which was in ruins.

Nehemiah who was living in the Persian capital of Susa hears from Hanani about what was the state of things back in Jerusalem (v1-2).

Nehemiah was not caught up in his own personal world but was concerned for the people of God far away. There is a challenge for every believer about if we’re concerned for the wider church or if we’re just caught up in our own personal world? Are we concerned about the flourishing of the church? Are we concerned about missionaries across the world? Are we concerned about the persecuted church?

When Nehemiah hears about the terrible state of Jerusalem and the trouble the people were enduring (v3), he weeps, fasts and prays (v4).

Here is a great challenge for all of us who know Christ. Do we weep, fast and pray for the empty pews, for those who grew up in the church but have turned from Christ, about missionary needs, about the persecuted church, about the state of our nation?

Nehemiah would be greatly used by God, but it would start with prayer.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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