Scripture to Read: Nehemiah 1:1-3
God raised up some faithful Jews, taken into captivity to places of authority in Babylon and, of course then in Persia. Remember, Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed the walls in Jerusalem in 586 B.C. But in 539 B.C., the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon while the Jews were still in Babylon. God blessed some of the faithful Jews to positions of authority. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego had become leaders in Babylon and continued in the Persian/Mede Empire; Esther was made queen of a Persian king. Much had happened for the Jews, but as we saw yesterday, many did not leave Babylon when the doors opened for them to return to the Promised Land. Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem in 444 B.C., 13 years after Ezra had returned there. The temple had been rebuilt for nearly 70 years, but the walls that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed were still in ruins, leaving Jerusalem defenseless. In Nehemiah 1:1-3, we read that it is around November/December, 444 B.C. Nehemiah was serving as cupbearer to Artaxerxes at his capital in Susa when Nehemiah had a life-changing conversation with his brother, Hanani, and a few other men who had just returned from Jerusalem. Nehemiah asked about the condition of Jerusalem and the people. They responded in Nehemiah 1:3, telling Nehemiah that the Jews in Jerusalem were in great distress and that the walls around Jerusalem were still broken down. We read in Nehemiah 1:4 that this horrible news broke Nehemiah’s heart, and he began to fast and pray.
Challenge & Application
1. What has God used in your life to break you to the point of fasting and praying and intimately seeking fellowship with Him?
2. What and who are you currently praying for to build your intimacy with our Lord God Almighty?
Don’t forget to pray using the A.C.T.S. (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) method!