Monday, March 02, 2009

Nehemiah with King, His Journey Nehemiah 2

Nehemiah 2:6 "And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me and I sent him a time."

Nehemiah after receiving a report that the remnant in Judah were having a hard time of it, came before the king in sadness. The king asked him what was the matter and Nehemiah told him of his homeland and asked permission to go and repair the city Jerusalem.

v9 "Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me."

Two people opposed to Nehemiah's purpose come into the picture here: Sanballat and Tobiah. They were grieved when they got the news. I expect they knew it was going to dip into their revenue intake.

v13 "And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire, v14 Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king's pool; but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass."

We need to remember that 70 years have passed. I do not know how old Nehemiah is but it is possible that he has never seen Jerusalem. He has, however, been taught about the majestic city that David and Solomon built and where the LORD promised to put his name. He has probably also been taught that they should pray toward the place where the temple was located.

I Kings 8:28-29 "Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my god, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee today: That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place. v20 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive."

That was Solomon's prayer when he finished the temple. Compare that to Nehemiah's prayer in the first chapter and we can see that he was surely taught the history and law of Israel.

v6 "Let thine ear now be attentive and thine eyes open...v8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying If ye trespass, I will scatter you abroad among the nations; v9 But if ye turn unto me...yet will I gather them from thence...v10 Now these are thy servants and thy people...

And so on he prays as if reminding the LORD of what all he said concerning His people.

Now Nehemiah is wandering about the city of Jerusalem and witnessing, first hand, the destruction that took place. The physical destruction of Jerusalem is indicative of the spiritual state of the children of Israel. Their gates are torn down and they are exposed to the enemy, naked before them and ashamed.

v20 "Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial in Jerusalem."

Sanballat and Tobiah had confronted Nehemiah about helping build the walls but I suspect there was some deceit there. Nehemiah turned down their help as this was a job for the chosen people, not the governors set up by kings.

Nehemiah told his people:
v17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, now Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire; come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach."

From slavery a great nation arose, now from the ashes they rise again.

Isaiah 48:9-11 "For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it; for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another."

Nehemiah surveys the damage at Jerusalem. (Bible Study: Old Old Story)

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