Today we begin our
study reading of Nehemiah. I hesitate to use the word study because I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet… so… Let’s read Chapter one together and I’ll share the notes I took as I read it. Be patient with me. I Pray for the spirit to lead us as we go.
Nehemiah – “The Lord Will Comfort”
According to my Wesley study Bible, that is what “Nehemiah” means, “The Lord Will Comfort.”
Chapter One –
Nehemiah shows concern for the survivors of the exile and asks for reports of them from his friends from Judah. He is told the people are in shame with the wall of Jerusalem having been broken down and the gates destroyed by fire. They are in trouble and life is hard for them.
Nehemiah mourns this news with tears, fasting and, prayer.
Sidenote: I often like to go to BibleGateway.com and read the same scriptures in different translations and interpretations. Sometimes it can really help me in my understanding.
As I read Nehemiah’s prayer, I’m struck by his confession for both the Jews and also for himself. He didn’t just pray for ‘them’ but also for himself! He acknowledged his own sins too. He knows they all have fallen short and because of this have been scattered as God promised. As I read about this, how they failed to keep God’s commandments, I couldn’t help but think of the great commandments Jesus shared, to love God and to Love our neighbor as ourselves. (Matt. 22:36-40) Were those the commandments that weren’t kept? Is Nehemiah going to call God’s people back to that? Loving God and Neighbor?
he fully expects God to honor this promise
Nehemiah not only remembers God’s promise to Moses to scatter them if they were unfaithful but that God also promised to gather them again when they returned to Him and were faithful once more and he fully expects God to honor this promise. Nehemiah wants to be faithful to God and to care for his people so that they can be brought back to God. Again, sounds a lot like Jesus’s command for us to Love God and Love Neighbor.
At this time Nehemiah was a cupbearer to the king. He lived in the palace in luxury, but he wants to be faithful to God, so he cries out to him and weeps for his people. He asks God to be with him as he sets about this work of returning God’s people to his favor, beginning with the King. He asks God to touch the heart of the King to grant his requests.
“God, God-of-Heaven, the great and awesome God, loyal to his covenant and faithful to those who love him and obey his commands: Look at me, listen to me. Pay attention to this prayer of your servant.” – Nehemiah 1:5 (The Message)
And that, my friends, is chapter one. Please let me know you were here, and share your thoughts with me! Let’s do this together!
I’ve realized that I’m putting too much on myself so I’ve decided to just post my notes twice a week. Starting next week, I’ll post this on Tuesdays on Thursdays. I’ll see you here again on Thursday for Chapter two!