Saturday, August 27, 2016

Nehemiah-My Brother's Disturbing Message

By Mary Vee
Nehemiah 1

From Nehemiah's Journal



Photo Courtesy
My name is Nehemiah. I have been a servant in Babylon for a long time. The king appointed me cup bearer. That means my job is to taste his food and drink before he eats or drinks to insure there is no poison in them.  If there is, well, I am the one who will be poisoned.

Fourteen years ago King Artaxerxes of Babylon gave Ezra permission to take a group of Jewish slaves back to Jerusalem. His group was the second group to return to our land. Ezra's job was to teach the people the Law of Moses. Ezra was an expert and a great choice for this job.

I had not been given permission to return to our homeland. Although I wouldn't mind going, the king kept me in my job as cupbearer. 

One day, quite to my surprise, I had a visit from my brother. He'd visited Jerusalem before visiting me. I would have thought he'd bring great news. Enough time had passed for most of the city to have been rebuilt. But his eyes had sadness.

I took him to a place where we could speak privately. "What's wrong?" 

He said, "The people who have survived the exile and have returned to Jerusalem are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."

I grabbed hold of my chair. The news was not what I expected at all. How could this have been? Ezra and a second group of people went back to help rebuild the city. They are in great trouble and disgrace? I couldn't bear the news. I sat down and wept. 

For several days I mourned our people and our land. I couldn't understand what all had happened there. I refused food and spent all my free time in prayer before the God of heaven.

I prayed: "O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands. Listen and watch as I, your servant, prays before you day and night for those in Israel. 

"I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my family, have committed against you. We have been wicked to you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees, and laws you gave your servant, Moses.

"Remember you said if we were unfaithful, you would send us to other nations. If we returned to you and obey your commands then you would bring all the exiles back home, no matter how far away they were taken.

"These Israelites are your servants and your people. They are the ones You have redeemed with Your power and strength. O Lord, please hear the prayers of your servants. Give me, your servant success today by granting me favor in the sight of the king.


Come back next time to see what happens.
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sources: New International Version, New King James Version 
               
1. Who came to visit Nehemiah?
2. Where had this person been?
3. What news did he bring Nehemiah?
4. Why didn't Nehemiah leave right away?
5. What did Nehemiah ask God?

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