August 9

Nehemiah 1:1-6, 2:1-3

Bad news

King Artaxerxes reigned in Persia for twenty years and Nehemiah served as his personal butler.

One day, Nehemiah found out that things weren’t going well in Jerusalem. One of his brothers brought news that the Jews who had gone back to Jerusalem were being made fun of by the other tribes. He also found out that the wall around Jerusalem was still lying in ruins from when Nebuchadnezzar had invaded the city. For days, Nehemiah was so sad that he didn’t even eat.

One day, the king noticed that Nehemiah was not his usual self. “What’s wrong, Nehemiah?” he asked. “Why are you so sad?”

Nehemiah replied, “Why should I not be sad when the walls of the city where my people live are broken down?”

Why was Nehemiah so sad about a broken-down wall?

How would you feel if you found out that a friend you had not seen for months was being teased about her clothes because her mother had become ill and they had to sell most of their belongings to pay for the medicine? You would probably feel the same kind of sadness Nehemiah felt.

Although Nehemiah served in the king’s palace, his heart was with his people back in Jerusalem. The problem was not only the wall; it was that the people acted as though they had been defeated. They did not have the will or courage to defend themselves against the ungodly lifestyle of the wicked tribes. Besides, some of these tribes were already living among them, and were even marrying them.

Living in disgrace among the ruins was not what God had promised His people. Nehemiah’s heart wept for them because they were weak and unprotected—like sheep without a shepherd.

Verse for today                        

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36