Nehemiah 1:4 – As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
As the book of Nehemiah opens, we learn he was a cupbearer to the King of Persia, serving a godless king in a foreign land. Years after the book of Daniel, which details the Jews who were living in Babylonian exile, the Temple is still destroyed, and God’s people are still in exile.
The national government of Persia, where many of God’s people found themselves, was not favorable to God or living in obedience to Him but, similar to Daniel, Nehemiah found himself in a place of prominence in a godless government.
People had been scattered because of their rebellion against God (1:8-9) and many wanted to move back home so they could worship God freely. Godless government, widespread woke apostasy, Christianity in seeming decline, people moving so they can worship God freely…does any of this sound familiar in our day?
Where my family and I live and do ministry in Scottsdale, Arizona, it is one of the fastest-growing regions of the country as, in other parts of the country, regulations crack down, churches go into disrepair and dying cycles, and the government attempts to overstep. Some states and cities are increasingly hostile to faith, family, and freedom, so those who are pro-faith and pro-family have started to move to a few certain states.
According to the Pew Research Center, the number of those who would be considered “Nones” (those who don’t identify with any religion) are rapidly on the rise in America. In the last decade, this number has doubled. Especially in the last two years, our government has set themselves up as our savior and our hope for heaven on earth, seemingly trying to replace a need for God.
God’s Word is not just about what happens but what always happens. The same anti-faith, anti-family, anti-freedom demonic spirits that were around in the time of Nehemiah are still rampant in our country and world today. My prayer is that we can gain much wisdom for our own current circumstances as we read the book of Nehemiah together.
Nehemiah spends a lot of time praying and journaling. What does prayer and journaling look like in your own life? Look up the frequent prayers of Nehemiah to see how vital prayer was to his entire life (1:4-11, 2:4, 4:4-5, 4:9, 5:19, 6:9, 6:14, 13:14, 13:22, 13:29-31).