Our First Response

Pastor John Fenlason February 26, 2018 The Story

The Story #21

Nehemiah 1:1-4 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.

It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”

So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Background (Nehemiah 1:1-3)

The walls of Jerusalem were broken down and the people were discouraged

Walls were important:

  • They protected the people
  • They affected the reputation of the power of their gods

Nehemiah’s Response (Nehemiah 1:4)

Nehemiah 1:4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Nehemiah’s first response was prayer

Nehemiah’s Prayer (Nehemiah 1:5-11)

Nehemiah recognized the power of God

Nehemiah 1:5 And I said: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments,

Nehemiah realized the need for forgiveness

Nehemiah 1:6-7 please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.

Nehemiah reminded God of His promises

Nehemiah 1:8-9 Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’

Nehemiah requested God’s work in the heart of the king

Nehemiah 1:10-11 Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. 11 O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

For I was the king’s cupbearer.

His request in verses 10-11 demonstrated his confidence in God

He was confident in God’s power

He was confident in God’s faithfulness

He was confident that God would work in the heart of King Artexerxes

God’s Response (Nehemiah 2:1-8)

Nehemiah 2:4-6 Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”

So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

The benefits of prayer:

Prayer makes me wait

Prayer clears my vision

Prayer quiets my heart

Prayer activates my faith

Chuck Swindoll

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