Verse of the Day

"When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven."

~Nehemiah 1:4

Today's Devotional Thought

June 22, 2012 by Rachel Piferi


Moved to Act

This summer, I am doing a Bible study by Kelly Minter on the book of Nehemiah. I am already captivated by the subject matter and I have only read the Introduction to her study. I am so eager to delve into this book of the Bible, one that I have not studied in depth before, and see the truths that spring from the page that can be applied in our lives.

I am quite certain I will share some things that I am learning on these pages throughout the summer. Today, I want to share a line from her Introduction that has struck me. She writes the following about the man, Nehemiah:

"...we discover a man whose heart broke for his people, so much so that he walked away from wealth, lavish comforts, and a prestigious position to reach his suffering brothers and sisters by helping rebuild he wall of their vitally important city."

In the opening verses of the book of Nehemiah, we see that he was deeply saddened by the state of Jerusalem following the Jews' exile. In the opening pages of this book of the Bible, we read of Nehemiah {who was living in Babylon but loved his homeland} hearing about the state of his precious city, Jerusalem. A city that was the Jews' holy city and represented their identity and the very presence of the Lord.

And it was in ruins.

Nehemiah was grieved for his people as he thought of their city being defenseless with broken walls. And as he heard of their trouble and disgrace, his heart broke.

What I love about the opening pages of this story is that Nehemiah's heart didn't just break. His heart broke and then he went to Lord because he wanted to do something about it. Verse 4 of chapter 1 tells us that he mourned and fasted and prayed for some days. Within the first verses of the book of Nehemiah, we see him praying earnestly and then springing to action to help his people whom he loved. Through prayer and fasting, Nehemiah approaches God and then he approaches the king and asks to be released from his prestigious position in the king's court so that he can go to his homeland and his people to serve them.

Serve them by leading them in the restoration of their city by rebuilding the wall.

And by rebuilding their wall, he would be leading the Jews to rebuilding their fortress, their stronghold, their security, and the very presence of God in their lives.

Nehemiah's heart broke at the state of their holy city. A city that represented the presence and very glory of God among his people.

And he moved.

He moved to prayer.

And then he moved to act and rebuild the mighty walls.

As I think of the many applications to our own lives, the first I think of is the move to action that we see in Nehemiah. His heart broke for his people and their suffering and then he did something about it. But not before he prayed first.

There are many things in this world that will grieve me and I know that I cannot move to action in each one. But, I can move to action in the ones that God leads me to enter. And as we see with Nehemiah, God picked a man who had the talents and skills necessary to get the job done. And he heard this call because he was prayerfully listening to God and his direction.

And he does the same today with you and me.

Is there something in your life that is grieving you and needs someone to act? Could God be prodding you to be that person? Have you prayed about and earnestly sought God's direction?

Ask God today if there is something that he asking you to do. Ask God today to help you see how you can help in the situations that break your heart. Ask him if he has a task for you to complete like he had for Nehemiah.

Big tasks. Small tasks. I believe God has something for each one of us to complete for him. Something that starts by grieving our hearts and stirring us towards prayer and action.

Memorize this verse today:

"When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven."
~Nehemiah 1:4

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