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, 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. 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. 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, 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: 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. 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. Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: 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. Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand. 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.
Today's Morsel: One of the things about unexpected bad news is that it can rip your heart apart. When Nehemiah asked about his brethren and the status of his homeland, he was not expecting the news that he received. His heart was ripped. The wind was taken out of his sail. He had that gut wrenching feeling that says, now what do we do. All he could do at the moment was to sit down and weep. But while he was weeping, he felt a need to intercede to God for His forgiveness and for help for his people and his homeland. Through Nehemiah we can learn how to deal with bad news. We learn to pray to God. Nehemiah went to the king after he went to God. If Nehemiah had gone to the king first, the king's heart may not have been softened to help him. But because he went to God first, I believe God moved upon the heart of the king to make previsions for him to rebuild and to restore the wall at Jerusalem. So let me encourage you, always seek God first in the time of trouble and give Him first shot to move in your situation and your problem.
Sing: Hear my cry O' God, attend unto my prayer, from the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee; when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I, so much higher than I.
Thought For Today: Prayer not only changes you, it can change others on your behalf.