Nehemiah was a cupbearer to the king and a Jew living in the region we would call Persia. He wasn’t there by choice. Nehemiah and his family and ancestors were exiled there because the Israelites had disobeyed God.
Yet, God is still with His people even in exile. He has Nehemiah in a position of influence. As a cupbearer, Nehemiah made sure the King’s food was not poisonous. Likely, Nehemiah had a comfortable life, and was a man who was to be trusted.
When Nehemiah gets word about the condition of his people in Judah and the desolation of Jerusalem, he is utterly heartbroken. In fact, Nehemiah 1: 4 says he, “sat down and wept and mourned for days.” He fasted and prayed to God on behalf of his people.
Nehemiah confessed not only the sins of the people of Jerusalem, but also his own sins, and the sins of his father’s family.
Remember, Nehemiah had never set foot in Jerusalem. He didn’t know any of these people. Nehemiah was miles and miles away from the situation, but his heart was burdened for these people that he had a connection with.
When was the last time our hearts were so burdened for our brothers and sisters in different parts of the world that we wept, mourned, fasted and prayed?
Nehemiah is deeply moved, goes to God, and intercedes on their behalf. He’s so moved that he’s determined to go, leave his life of comfort and help his brothers and sisters in need.
Not that God is calling us to leave our life of comfort and go somewhere around the world–but He might be. God is calling us to be moved by the needs of others and go to Him on their behalf. God might be calling you to cross the street, open your home, donate your time, talents and resources–God is calling us to something.
I pray we have a heart like Nehemiah–a heart that will break for others in a way that moves us to be the hands and feet of Jesus.