Nehemiah carried his burden about the broken walls of Jerusalem for months, waiting to discern his next move!  It is a human trait that we do not like to wait for things to happen!  We wait in shops, airports, stations, doctors’ surgeries, etc.  Waiting holds us up and we become frustrated and irritated.  Nehemiah’s burden showed in his face, and the King recognised his mood and asked, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill?  This can be nothing but sadness of heart” (v.2). Nehemiah felt afraid as the King discerned his emotional state, but this was the moment he had waited for and he did not hold back, grasping the opportunity to explain his burden to King Artaxerxes.


The sad state of Jerusalem was a direct consequence of Artaxerxes’ decree that building there should stop (Ezra 4:7-23). We understand, from this reference, Nehemiah’s fear, for he really took his life into his own hands as he requests leave of absence to rebuild the walls!  He didn’t hide his distress with meaningless words, but spoke openly about the situation which had been constantly nagging him.  Having waited, God showed him the next step to take, and the King readily gave his permission for Nehemiah to travel to Judah.  The closeness of their relationship is evident as the King asks how long Nehemiah would be away!  Did you note the importance of prayer in this conversation?  As the King questions Nehemiah, we read “Then I prayed to the God of heaven” (v.4).  How do we react in difficult situations in our personal relationships?  Is our immediate response to pray and ask for God’s help and guidance?


Nehemiah not only had the King’s permission to travel to Judah, but he asked for letters from the King to enable his safe travelling and for permissions to obtain wood to help with the rebuild.  How wise to be well prepared for his journey.  God certainly gave him wisdom and strength as he puts on his “Hard Hat of a Labourer”.  On his arrival, he begins to organise the rebuilding work after initial inspections, and gathers workers to help him, although this was not without opposition.


Whatever we do in life, preparation and readiness is vital.  In a spiritual context, how is your readiness?  Are you always well prepared to speak to others about God’s love and the person of Jesus in your life?











Writing to Timothy, Paul said, “Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”  2 Timothy 4: 2.  Make this your prayer today!

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