Today’s Daily Bible Reading is from Nehemiah 1:1-11. For those of you who have read my book The Book of Ezra: A Story of Provision and Protection, the book of Nehemiah is the next book in the Bible after Ezra. The name Nehemiah means “comforted of the LORD.” Nehemiah was the son of Hachaliah and was thought to be from the tribe of Judah.
The book of Nehemiah describes the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and the purifying of the Jewish people. The events of this book are believed to have taken place in the second half of the fifth century. The book of Nehemiah begins about fifteen years after the book of Ezra. In the book of Ezra we learned about the Jewish people returning to Jerusalem after seventy years of Babylonian captivity to rebuild the temple.
In this Scripture we see that Nehemiah was a cup bearer in the palace at Shushan. The cupbearer had the duty of tasting the king’s wine before serving it to him to make sure it was not poisoned. Shushan was a place we learned about in the book of Esther. It was the place where the king’s palace was located. It was the twentieth year of the king’s reign and in the month of Chisleu that Nehemiah inquires about Jerusalem. Chisleu is from the Jewish calendar and is equivalent to November-December on the modern day (Gregorian) calendar.
Nehemiah learned from some of the men who had been to Jerusalem to check on the building program that the walls of the city of Jerusalem were broken down and the gates had been burned. The walls and gates of the city were to help protect the people of Jerusalem and keep its enemies out of the city. They also helped to keep the culture of the people of Jerusalem within the walls of the city. When Nehemiah heard about the condition of the city of Jerusalem and the ruin of its walls he cried, mourned, fasted, and prayed to God for days. Psalm 122:6 reminds us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”
Nehemiah prayed to God day and night for the children of Israel. He confessed they had sinned against God by not keeping His commandments or statutes. He begged God to remember that He had said if they were disobedient He would scatter them, but if they returned to God He would gather them back to Jerusalem.
Nehemiah begged God to have mercy on him and on the children of Israel. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Nehemiah knew the promises of God and he declared them for the people of Israel and for the city of Jerusalem.
Daily Bible Reading:
1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,
2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
5 And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:
6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.
7 We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.
8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
10 Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.
11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.
Things to think about:
- What was Nehemiah’s concern for the people of Israel?
- What was Nehemiah’s concern for the city of Jerusalem?
- Why should we pray for the peace of Jerusalem?
- Do you pray for God’s blessings on your country?
- Have you ever been so concerned about something that you prayed for days to God like Nehemiah did?
Prayer of the Day:
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank You for this Scripture in the book of Nehemiah where we see that Your servant Nehemiah had a heart for You and Your people. Help us to have that same kind of concern for the people of God. Forgive us of the ways that we have failed You. Help those who have turned away from You to turn back to You. Give us strength for this journey we’re on. Help those who don’t know You yet to find their way to You. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
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by Deborah H. Bateman
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About the Book:
The Book of Nehemiah: A Story of Dedication and Determination is a Daily Bible Reading Study of the book of Nehemiah by Deborah H. Bateman. The book of Nehemiah is found in the Old Testament of the Bible. Nehemiah was led by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah was a great leader. He headed up the project. Despite the opposition that the Jewish people encountered they were able to complete this major project in less than sixty days. Their dedication and determination shines through in every aspect of the project.
The Book of Nehemiah: A Story of Dedication and Determination contains eighteen Daily Bible Reading Lessons. Each lesson contains a brief commentary by the author, the Daily Bible Reading Scripture, a few questions for contemplation or discussion and a prayer for the day. This is a great Bible study that can be used for either a personal Daily Bible Reading Study or for a group Bible study.
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Have a blessed day,
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