Daily Thought for: 13th July


Nehemiah 2. 1-10

Nehemiah’s position brought him daily into the presence of the king. It was his business to be the king’s cupbearer, and bring the wine to the king. He must be cheerful, often having to lift the king’s spirit, and deal with his moods. With the burden of his people’s plight on his mind he was sad, and it showed on his face. The king soon asked, ‘Why is thy countenance sad?’ Sorrow of heart was the reason given. Fear came into Nehemiah’s heart. Deep concerns are difficult to hide. Spiritual burdens are heavy to carry. 

It was a courageous step that Nehemiah took in openly confessing the cause of his sadness. The city, the place of his ancestors’ tombs, lay waste, the gates consumed by fire; how could he be otherwise? The positive response of Artaxerxes must have come as a shock. The true measure of Nehemiah’s godliness is seen. The pressure could have caused panic, but we read two vital statements which reveal a cool courage and provide insight into the character of the man. 

The king led the way. ‘For what dost thou make request?’, v. 4. The truth must be told, but what about the uncertain mood of the king? So ‘I prayed unto the God of heaven’. This shows dependence on God in the situation. Nehemiah spoke to God first of all! ‘And I said unto the king’, v. 5; because he had spoken to the Lord, because of his audience with his God, he could speak boldly and without fear to the king he served. 

We can learn a valuable lesson from this. Prayer is a vital part of each day’s activities. It is essential to form a habit of spending time with the Lord, preferably before our day begins. Nehemiah was used to talking to the Lord. God was a reality. He was, literally, only a prayer away. No long time was needed, no fine words; ‘I prayed’. The life-line was open and he knew God as his Friend—He was close. 

So having spoken to the Lord, he could speak to the king. This is good to learn. Confidence in God strengthens with trust. What a difference it can make to our lives, when we habitually take ‘everything to the Lord in prayer’. Just a moment’s lifting up our hearts to heaven, and things begin to move. 


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