Do You Care?
Nehemiah 1:1-4 NASB
1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.
Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol,
2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.”
4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah is a man of God who has successfully led in the success of the rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem that have been left broken for years, in fifty-two days. Nehemiah is one of the great examples of how the sovereign power of God changes history of mankind through a man whose heart goes out to God, His people and His House.
This series of heroic act of accomplishing God’s vision and impressive leadership begins with Nehemiah weeping, grieving and then fasting and praying when he learns about the state of God’s people in Jerusalem.
Nehemiah is a Jewish exiled to Persia, and is now leading a good and comfortable life, serving as cupbearer to the king of Persia. He is the one who tastes the wine before it is served to the king, to ensure that it has not been poisoned by the enemies. Because he is always in close proximity of the king, Nehemiah has great influence in the king’s affairs and enjoys a considerable status in the palace.
Yet, his heart has never ceased to think about the condition of God’s people and Jerusalem, the city of God. Upon learning about the broken walls, burnt gates and people living in distress and shame, Nehemiah is overwhelmed with compassion that he weeps and mourns for days. He genuinely cares about God’s people. And he does not stop there. In his grieving, his faith and trust remain resolutely in God. He begins to fast and pray knowing that only his Almighty God is able to let the ruins come back to life.
This is the beginning of how God uses this cupbearer to the king of Persia to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore God’s people. I believe that it is when we have a heart burning with compassion and care for God’s people and have absolute trust in our sovereign God, that God is able to use us and move through us to rebuild the rubble and brokenness of the world today.
For many of us, our lives may resemble that of Nehemiah’s in some ways. We are enjoying a relatively comfortable life and while Nehemiah is distant from the state of affairs of God’s people and His House geographically, for us, we have distanced ourselves from the purpose and works of God in our lives. Maybe in the pursuit of satisfying our own desires, we have grown apathetic toward building His Kingdom and His people. When we hear about our church facing certain challenges or we hear about many in the community and nations broken and lost like sheep without a shepherd, some of us may feel a tinge of sadness for a moment, but life goes right back to business as usual moments after. We do not have that pure and intense compassion that Nehemiah has.
Brothers and sisters, God has a great work He wants to do through you. He needs you to avail yourself to Him so that the broken can be restored, the sick can be healed, the oppressed can be delivered and the lost can be found. But a heart that is hard and cold, God is not able to use.
Could it be that God is waiting on you to have that compassion for His people and His Church so that your whole household can be saved? Could it be that God is waiting on you to realize that He has placed you right where you are so that He can use you to lead a community who has been led astray back to Him and His ways?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us awaken our soul to the truth that Christ has died, risen and ascended so that the whole world may be saved and victorious, and that His House may be filled and His glory extend to the ends of the earth. Let us be consumed with compassion for God’s people and His House. Let us be wholehearted in our trust in God, and come before Him on our knees to pray and intercede for His people and His House. When we get up from our knees, go out there and be the light unto the nations.
Let us pray.
“Heavenly Father, forgive me for pursuing my own agenda often at the expense of building Your House and loving Your people. Teach me and guide me to love and care for the lost and the broken like how You love and care for me. Cleanse my heart from all self-centeredness and apathy and let it be burning with compassion for the lost who need You as their Shepherd. I pray You use me, O Lord, to build others up to be mature disciples and to also bring those who have walked away from You back to You and Your House. May Your church indeed be a light unto the nations. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”