1The 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 capital, 2that 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. 3And 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.”
4As 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.
Nehemiah heard about the devastation of the Holy City of Jerusalem. The remnant of Jerusalem were exposed to their enemies because the wall and gates were rubble and burned up! Even though Nehemiah had lived his whole life in Babylon, his heart was with his homeland and people. He was in service to the king of Babylon (1:11) and was perplexed as to what the solution would be to an insurmountable issue with God’s people.
The first place he went was to Yahweh–as he had always done. Notice, he continued fasting and praying. He had maintained a relationship with God throughout his days in exile. His heart was broken.
Fasting and praying tunes our hearts into the frequency of the heart of God. Our hearts beat His beat. Praying connects us to Christ, fasting disconnects us from this world.
- What are some things about God’s people and the country in which we live that break your heart? What is broken that needs fixing according to God’s Word?
- As you read through John 1, what did God do to ultimately fix what was broken with humanity (John 1:14-18)?
- What areas of our lives are pointing away from the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”?
- How can we be like Andrew and bring someone to the Lord Jesus so they may know him (John 1:43-52)?
- Pray for the three individuals–and for yourself, that God would make you of use to His Kingdom!