(23 verses, 3:42 to read)
What I am about to READ
- vv. 1-5: The Jews are mocked by Saballat during their rebuilding efforts and Nehemiah prays.
- vv. 6-14: A plot is made to attack the Jews and disrupt the work of rebuilding. Nehemiah prays and prepares the men for battle.
- vv. 15-23: Work continues in Jerusalem on the rebuilding of the wall.
- The people of Israel, having returned to Jerusalem began reconstruction on the walls around Jerusalem. However, wicked men opposed the project, mocked the Jews for what seemed to them a futile effort, and plotted to derail the project by attacking the builders.
- We do well to pay attention to Nehemiah’s example of constantly invoking the Lord’s name for prayer. The second commandment teaches us that we are to call upon God’s name in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks. Additionally, the Scriptures are full of the promises of God regarding prayer. Psalm 50:15 says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Jesus says in Luke 11, “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” It is an amazing thing to realize that the God who is governing all things in heaven and on earth promises to hear the prayers of His people.
- Also notice the total dependence on God’s provision and care demonstrated by the workers in Jerusalem. Not only do they confess that they cannot rebuild the wall on their own, but Nehemiah tells us that it was God who frustrated the plans of their enemies (v. 15) and it was God who fights for His people (v. 20). God intervenes in human history to accomplish His good and gracious will for His people.
- It is tempting to super impose the history of Israel upon ourselves and/or upon our country. God had made certain promises to the children of Israel that aren’t made to us. God had promised to bring the exiles back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple in order that Christ’s birth would be accomplished and His sacrifice on the cross accomplished. God’s kingdom is a spiritual kingdom called and gathered by the work of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments. However, in the story of God’s people, we see the faithfulness of God to His promises. This assures us that the promises He has made to us in Baptism–to save us from sin and death–are certain.
- We may also be tempted to follow after Word-Faith or other prosperity preachers who claim that if we believe on something enough or pray hard enough for something, God will grant it to us. However, we know that God does say “no” to His people’s prayers. Think of St. Paul and the thorn in his flesh in II Corinthians 12; he pleaded with God to remove it, but God told him that His grace was sufficient for him. God will never grant us something that may be harmful to our salvation. Sometimes, this may even include not answering prayers for basic bodily needs. The promise still stands: God hears our prayers, and in Christ (who is the resurrection and the life) all things are given to us that God knows we need.
- Prayer: Heavenly Father, You have commanded us to pray and promised to hear us. Grant that we would trust in you to conquer our enemies and bring us at last to Your heavenly kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN
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