Gina Caswell Kelly
Nehemiah is one of my favorite books of the Bible. It is a book about faith and restoration. If you are not familiar with it, Nehemiah was one of the Jews who had been taken captive. He ended up being what was called the Cupbearer for the King. What this meant was that Nehemiah was responsible for making sure that no poison could be placed in the king’s wineglass. He was very trusted by the king, obviously. Nehemiah appears to have enjoyed his place of service, but the fact remained that he was still a Jew and not in his homeland. Word came to Nehemiah one day that the walls around Jerusalem were lying in shambles. Jerusalem was the home of the Jews. This news broke Nehemiah’s heart. His home country was suffering. Things were falling apart in his homeland. They were a broken and unprotected people.
Nehemiah was serving the king and the king could tell something was wrong. Now, when the guy responsible for making sure you aren’t poisoned looks upset, you pay attention! So, the king asked Nehemiah what was wrong. Now, here starts the story I want to talk about. When the king asked Nehemiah what was wrong, Nehemiah had to respond. So, the Bible says Nehemiah prayed.
All through the book of Nehemiah, it keeps coming back to two things. The first being that Nehemiah prayed. Over and over in the book, it mentions Nehemiah calling on God and being dependent on Him for the salvation of his homeland. The king listened to Nehemiah and granted him permission to go back to Jerusalem for however long it took and rebuild the wall. Not only that, he sent letters with Nehemiah granting him passage through other enemy nations.
When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, his heart broke all over again at what he saw. His people left hurt and unprotected. The city in ruins, basically. It was not the same country in which he had grown up. There was devastation and sorrow all around. It was a horrible time. But, Nehemiah kept praying.
Long story shortened a bit, Nehemiah got the people ready to work. Enemies were all around. Threatening them and making fun of their efforts. I mean this was a huge undertaking! It was, or should have been an impossible task. With threats all around them, Nehemiah talks about people working with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other. Nehemiah was a confident, no nonsense leader. He knew what needed to happen. He trusted his God and the work went on. This brings me to the second overriding theme in the book. Nehemiah states over and over, “The good hand of my God was on me.” Or “The good hand of God was on His people.”
As work went on and was finally completed, Nehemiah states that “Even our enemies recognized that this could not have been done without the help of our God.” The huge impossible undertaking had been completed in only 52 days!
And that brings us to today. To many, it appears we are in shambles. People are sick and dying. Our economy is failing. So many are without work and others are worried about what today will bring. Our wall of protection appears to be damaged, just like Jerusalem. This was at the point that Nehemiah began to pray. This was at the point where Nehemiah began to see the good hand of God.
The question is this, will our nation rise up in such a way that even our enemies will see that it could not have been accomplished without the help of our God? Even the enemies within? If we want the world to see that God is indeed our salvation and our Savior, we have to do as Nehemiah did. We have to begin to pray. Then, we have to rise up with “a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other.” We have to watch for the good hand of God. Then the world will see that when we rise again, and we will, that it could not have been accomplished except that the good hand of our God was on us! It will make a difference!