It was nighttime when the leader set out by horseback to inspect the work that lay ahead. As he toured the destruction all around him, he saw city walls that had been destroyed and gates that had been burned. In some areas, the vast debris made it tough for his horse to get through. Saddened, the rider turned toward home.
When it came time to report the damage to the officials of the city, he began by saying, “You see the trouble we are in” (Nehemiah 2:17). He reported that the city was in ruins, and the protecting city wall had been rendered useless.
But then he made a statement that energized the troubled citizens: “I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me.” Immediately, the people replied, “Let us start rebuilding” (v. 18).
And they did.
With faith in God and all-out effort, despite enemy opposition and a seemingly impossible task, the people of Jerusalem—under Nehemiah’s leadership—rebuilt the wall in just fifty-two days (6:15).
As you consider your circumstances, is there something that looks difficult but that you know God wants you to do? A sin you can’t seem to get rid of? A relationship rift that’s not God-honoring? A task for Him that looks too hard?
Ask God for guidance (2:4–5), analyze the problem (vv. 11–15), and recognize His involvement (v. 18). Then start rebuilding.
God, I need Your help. I can’t fix these problems alone. Help me to understand the situation, and then to seek Your help and guidance in resolving the challenges before me.
Unlike most of the Old Testament, the book of Nehemiah isn’t told by a narrator. This becomes clear when Nehemiah says, “I was cupbearer to the king” (1:11)—a statement that not only reveals the autobiographical nature of the book but gives us a glimpse into his life. Nehemiah was a Jew in captivity in Babylon and was cupbearer to the king. In that role, he would have been highly trusted, since poisoning was a primary means of assassination in the ancient world.