The Sorrowful in Heart
Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid. Nehemiah 2:2
Read Nehemiah 2:1-8
The king understood that something was wrong with Nehemiah. His somber countenance was not due to physical pain or oppressive circumstances; yet, it could be seen that something was bothering him. The foreign king expressed this with the words: sorrow of heart.
There is much artificial cheerfulness and sadness today, but that which we find in our text came from the heart; it was genuine. It came from the depths of the soul, for it was the work of the Holy Spirit. There is a great difference between speaking about sin in theory and the reality of the Lord’s personal, convicting work in one’s heart. It’s the difference between an acquaintance pointing out your sin out of a sense of duty and your parents expressing their grief on account of your immoral behaviour and sinful ways.
The king was right about his observations of Nehemiah. Without beating around the bush the latter answered: Why should my countenance not be sad, when the city, the place of my father’s sepulchers, lies waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? The king answered above expectation: For what dost thou make request? How remarkable! The king did not rebuke Nehemiah but was willing to help him. This clearly indicates that these matters were directed by God.
Thought: Are we able to determine whether a person’s concern really comes from the heart?
Psalter 89: 4,5 (based on Psalm 34) The Lord may suffer many griefs Upon the just to fall, But He will bring them safely through, Delivering them from all. By evil are the evil slain, And they that hate the just; But all His servants God redeems, And safe in Him they trust.