That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. Nehemiah 1:2
Read Nehemiah 1:1-4
On a certain day, Nehemiah received a visit from his brother and some of his friends. He inquired of them how things were going with his brethren who were living in Jerusalem. The answer he received was that things were going terribly for the countrymen who had been allowed to return from Babylonian captivity; they had been unable to initiate the rebuilding of any part of the holy city. The city walls remained a heap of ruins, and the gates had been burned with fire. Destruction was everywhere. It looked like a war zone.
Does the message that we are sinners living in a world where unrighteousness prevails affect us at all? And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept. These words describe Nehemiah; he was deeply moved by the circumstances of his fellow countrymen and so he mourned a number of days, and fasted, and prayed. Why did Nehemiah react in this way? There were many others who also knew of the terrible circumstances of Jerusalem, yet they remained unaffected. There is only one answer that can be given: It was Nehemiah’s love for the Lord and His service. Do we also know of this grief when the service of God is neglected, when His Name and His Word and His day is denied?
Thought: Why did Nehemiah not fast and pray and mourn in the public forum?
Psalter 421: 1 (based on Psalm 84) O God of hosts, O God of grace, How lovely is Thy holy place, How good and pleasant is Thy dwelling! My thirsty soul longs earnestly, Yea, faints Thy holy courts to see ‘Mid festal throngs and music swelling. My heart and flesh cry out to God, To Him I spread my hands abroad.