Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nehemiah's Prayer.

Ahh... The thing is is that I feel so inadequate to blog about this. It is so important in Jersusalem's history I don't want to mess it up! BUT the most important thing is: The Lord won't take it off my mind. So, I am doing it (1) because He's telling me to and (2) because I can only truly process things if I write the facts and my feelings down.

ANYWAY! Here we come, Lord. Open our minds. Use us. Mold us. Help us have a blast in Your presence.

Nehemiah 1 {Nehemiah’s Prayer}

1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah:
In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said:
“O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’
10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”
I was cupbearer to the king.

Before I give insights of my own here is what my study notes said about the audience of the book Nehemiah:

''Generations of Isrealites after the exiles had returned from Babylon read the book of Nehemiah. Ezra clearly wanted his readers to undersatnd what had happened in Jerusalem as the exiles returned, as well as the issues they faced and overcame in order to reestablish their covenant relayionship with God. The national identity of God's people was at stake: the community of God had to be rebuilt upon the foundation of God's covenants with his people established many years earlier.''

Background: The Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem. The temple was gone, the city walls, and the city gate. Some stayed {from my study} while some traveled to Babylon as captives.
The temple was then restored in 516 B.C..........

''That the holy city was exposed and in ruins. The wall of Jerusalem was still broken down, and the gates were in ruins, as the Babylonians had left them. This made the condition of the inhabitants both despicable under the lasting marks of poverty and slavery, and also very dangerous, for their enemies could launch and attack on them whenever they pleased. The temple was built, the government settled, and the work of reformation had made some headway, but there was one good work still undone; this was still lacking.'' ~from The New Matthew Henry Commentary

Jerusalem, the holy city:

Nehemiah wasn't the first person to desire for the holy city in ruins, but it was a desire nonetheless.
  •  The rebuilding of the temple started with a passion- compassion, even -it started with man and God communicating.
This is going to be overwhelmingly long, I apologize.

''We may notice this prayer: {Numbered differently in the commentary itself.}
  1.  His humble and reverent address to God. It teaches us to draw near to God:
  2. With holy reverence of his majesty and glory, remembering that he is the God of heaven, infinately above is and infinitely greater than all the principalities and powers of both the upper and the lower worlds, and angels and kings.
  3. With a holy confidence in his grace and truth, for he keepeth covenant and mercy for those that love him , not only the mercy that is promised, but even more than he promsed.
  4. His general request for the hearing and acceptance of all the prayers and confessions he now made to God ''Let thy ear be attentive to the prayer, which I pray before thee.''
  5. His penitent confession of sin. Not only Israel has sinned- but also I and my father's house have sinned.
  6. The pleas he urged for mercy for his people Israel:
  7. He pleaded what God had formerly said to them. He had truly said that if they broke covenant with him, he would scatter them among the nations, and that threat had been fulfilled in their exile. Never had a people been so widely dispersed as Israel was at that time, even though at first they had been so closely united. He had also said that if they turned to him,  as now they began to do, having renounced idolatry and kept to the temple worship, he would gather them again. He quotes this from Dt 30:1-5 and asks God to remember it- although the eternal Mind needs no reminding- as what he guided his desires by and based his faith and hope on, when he prayed this prayer. If God did not remember his promises more than we remember his precepts, we would be ruined. Our best pleas in prayer are therefore those that are taken from the promises of God, the word which he has causes us to hope.
  8. He pleads the relationship in which they stand with God: ''These are your servants and your people, whom you have set apart for yourself and have taken into covenant with you. Will you allow your sworn enemies to trample on and oppress your sworn servants? If you will not appear for your people, whom will you appear for?'' As evidence of their being God's servants, he describes them by saying, ''They desire to fear your name; they not only are called by your name, but really have reverence for your name, They now worship you, and only you, according to your will. They are in awe of all the revelations you are pleased to make of yourself. They have a desire to do this.''
  9. He pleads the great things God has formerly done for them: ''Whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, in former days. Your power is still the same; will you not therefore still redeem them and complete their redemption? Let not those who have a God of infinite power on their side be overpowered by the enemy.''
  10. His conclusion with a particular petition, that God will prosper him in his undertaking and give him favor with the king: this man, he calls him, for the greatest people are still merely human before God. They must recognize themselves as such, and others must recognize that too. Who art thou that thou shouldst be afraid of a man? Mercy in the sight of this man is what he prays for, meaning not the king's mercy, but mercy from God while he addresses the king. Favor with other people gives us strength and encouragement when we see it as coming from the mercy of God.'' from The New Matthew Henry Commentary
After reading something like that I am always thankful that I have all eternity to be with Jesus, because I simply can't grasp this muchness and glorious character on earth, for such a short time as this.

{v11} I was cupbearer to the king.

''Nehemiah's position at the court of Persia. He was in Shusan the palace, or royal city, of th eking of Persia, where the court was ordinarily kept, and he was the king's cupbearer. After holding this position at court, he would better qualified for the service to his country for which God had intended him, as moses was better qualified to govern because he was brought up in Pharaoh's court, and David because he was brought up in Saul's. Nehemiah would alsohave had a better oppurtunity to serve his country by his influence on the king and those around him. God has his remnant in all places; we read of Obadiah in the house of Ahab, siatns in Caeser's jousehold, and a godly Nehemiah in the citadel of SUsa. Go  can make the courts of monarchs sometimes be nurseries to the friends and patrons of the church's cause, and other times sancturies for them.'' ~from The New Matthew Henry Commentary.

Popcorn paragraph #1,001

I believe the temple being restored and the walls, the Jews protection, being spiritually true as well.
The people had turned from their old ways, they had the presence and forgiveness of God. They just didn't stay. They sinned and had to be renewed- as we all do. They needed to be secure walking the walk and not just talking the talk.  Nehemiah's coming with others started a renewal; now we will go on find out how the king responds, how building the walls will go, and if the renewal will last.

To be continued... {OR ya know... just read Nehemiah 2- and on before you wait on little ol' Emilee to put together another entry. :)}

A Peculiar Treasure, {and ready for bed... :) thanks for bearing w/ me!}


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