Read Nehemiah 1
“The wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates have been burned with fire.” Nehemiah 1:3
Nehemiah, a Jew, was stationed as a cupbearer to the king of Persia. In his position, he was given favor and opportunity to serve honorably to the world power of that day. Nehemiah was also a faithful servant of God.
When he heard of the brokenness and destruction of the wall surrounding Jerusalem and the trouble of God’s remnant, Nehemiah was grieved. He wept, mourned, fasted and prayed on behalf of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem’s physical and spiritual devastation evokes great emotion, because she represents the Jewish national identity. Jerusalem’s great religious significance and beauty is detailed in Psalm 48. “How great is the LORD, and how much we should praise him in the city of our God, which is on his holy mountain! It is magnificent in elevation- the whole earth rejoices to see it!” Psalm 48:1-2 It is the Holy Hill where the King reigns forever (Psalm 2:6). Jerusalem was a sanctuary where the people of God intimately dwelt in His presence. Jerusalem is the center from where Nehemiah’s God dwells and rules the world. I can almost hear Nehemiah crying out with the words of Psalm 63, “O GOD, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You…So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary to see Your power and Your glory.”
What do Nehemiah’s actions teach us in this day of spiritual hungering? Nehemiah has three actions to take note of today.
First and foremost, we must humbly draw close to our covenant God in worship.
Secondly, we must be completely remorseful concerning the desecration of God’s dwelling place and His Holy Name. Are we grieved by the disunity in the Body of Believers? 1 Peter 2:5 is describing the church as God’s spiritual temple, “And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple.” God’s church gathers in order to become a holy temple for the Lord where the Spirit of God dwells. Is this true in your church home and the churches of your community?
Thirdly, we have a responsibility to the worldly kingdoms to let them know our citizenship is first and foremost in Christ Jesus who is the cornerstone of the new Jerusalem. As citizens of God’s kingdom, we must live in love willing to build up our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Spirit of the Living God, may our worship be a pleasing aroma to honor the King. Make us a spiritual dwelling where each person is valued, honored and encouraged to serve the King. In Christ’s Name, Amen