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.” Nehemiah 1:3-4
Nehemiah was a cupbearer to the king. He was pretty comfortable… a good job, security, food. He had everything he could need in his cushy job. But when he heard the news of his homeland, of its destruction, he sat down and wept. He mourned many days, and fasted and prayed. Nehemiah lifted his voice to the Lord and he prayed for all his people… for his homeland. And today in our nation, many of us may feel the same as Nehemiah did so long ago. Many of us may be weeping. My soul aches and tears run like faucets and all I can attribute it to is what seems to be such a senseless tragedy.
Nehemiah not only prayed, he did something else. He was moved beyond complacency. He was so moved that he had to go back to his homeland. Because had to do something. And so, Nehemiah went back and inspected the walls of Jerusalem. They did in fact lay in waste, but he wasn’t discouraged. Instead, he told the people, “Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem…” He encouraged the downtrodden people. And their response? They said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to do the good work.
What took place in Boston yesterday brought back the memories of September 11, among other tragedies. So long ago, Nehemiah was moved to action. And we see the same thing today. Our hearts are lifted with the many stories of heroes who ran to help, of the local people opening their homes to strangers. But what about those who are so far away, but moved beyond complacency. We may not be able to go physically and lend our hands… so can we do anything? Our tears fall, but can we do more? Yes… I believe at the very least, we can pray. We can lift our hands to God and pray for those who are left, that they may rise up and build. We can clasp our hands together and pray for our entire nation, that we may all rise up and build. We can pray to God that His good hand will be upon us, as it was upon Nehemiah.
“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD…” Isaiah 54:17