Scripture Union Daily Guide Daily Devotional November 19, 2021 (Concern for the Nation)
Topic: Concern for the nation
Opening Prayer: Help me, dear Lord, to meet with you as I meditate on your word in Jesus name
INTRODUCTION TO NEHEMIAH
The book is a first-hand account of the events that took place following Nehemiah’s return to Jerusalem. He had risen to a prominent position as a personal cupbearer of King Artaxerxes. There is similarity between the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Some earlier manuscripts combined the two books as one. The background to the two books is God’s command to the children of Israel that if they obeyed Him, He would bless them; but that if they did not, He would judge them and send them into exile (Deuteronomy 28).
The Israelites disobeyed God and were exiled for a long period. In 586 B.C. the first group of exiles returned home under the leadership of Zerubbabel (Ezra 1:1-2:2). In 458 B.C., a second group of Jews returned under the leadership of Ezra (Ezra 7:1-10). He found the Jews in Israel in a state of spiritual and moral degradation. Nehemiah also returned to Jerusalem in 444 B.C and God used him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He also participated in bringing social, economic and spiritual reforms. The book of Nehemiah is an account of how he accomplished these tasks.
Scripture: Nehemiah 1:1-11
Question(s) for Reflection
• Is there any example for me to follow or not to follow?
As the king’s cup bearer, Nehemiah was occupying a very sensitive and important position even though an exile. He must be in relatively great comfort but notice his concern for the welfare of his people and nation (vs.2,4).
Notice the actions he took in v. 4: sat down, wept and mourned many days; fasting and praying before the God of heaven. He never forgot his homeland nor failed to pray for her regularly (‘day and night’ – v.6a). How concerned are we for our land? Do we pray for her constantly and wholeheartedly or we have given up on her? Nehemiah’s response to the information he received was to pray to God and to seek His help as he considers the action he would take to solve the problem.
Observe the elements of his prayer: adoration (v.5), confession (vs.6b,7 and notice the ‘we’), thanksgiving for God’s redemption (v.10; compare Exodus 32:11) and request (vs.6a,11). His prayer is also firmly rooted in the word of God, in His promise which never fails (vs.8-9; cf. Daniel 9:1-3).
Nehemiah resolved to do something about the problem. In addition to prayer, is there something we too can do about the hardship our people and land are going through?
• Any new insight or reinforcement of what you already know?
• Pray for your country today using Nehemiah’s prayer as a model.
• Pray that God will sustain all Christian literature and Bible printers and publishers.
Offer a prayer of faith in line with Genesis 24:31; 1 Chron. 25-27; Luke 4:1-30
Scripture Union Daily Guide 19 November 2021. Scripture Union is an international, interdenominational, evangelical Christian organization. It was founded in 1867, and works in partnership with individuals and churches across the world. The organization’s stated aim is to use the Bible to inspire children, young people and adults to know God.