And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me. —Nehemiah 2:2-8

Nehemiah had wept, mourned, fasted and prayed for days over the troublous condition of the remnant living in Judah and the ruinous condition of Jerusalem. At the time, Nehemiah was in the trusted position of cupbearer to the king (Nehemiah chapter 1). King Artaxerxes recognized Nehemiah’s sorrow of heart and even though Nehemiah feared to tell the king what was on his heart, he did — he told the king about the condition of Jerusalem.. The king then asked him what he was requesting. Immediately, Nehemiah offered a silent prayer to the Lord God Almighty and then responded. (Nehemiah 2:2-8). He asked to go to back to Jerusalem to rebuild it and the king asked how long he would be gone. A time was set and Nehemiah also requested letters for passage and a letter to Asaph that he would give him timber out of the king’s forest to build with. The king granted all that Nehemiah requested because “the good hand of my god was upon me.”

Nehemiah was ready with the right replies for the king because He has spent time with the Lord and understood that God’s hand was upon Him. How about us? Are we spending time with the Lord to be ready to give the proper reply when needed? Do you and I understand that the “good hand of God” is upon us? Oh, that in our hearts we would “revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (I Peter 3:15-16). Be ready! May it be so!

Dear Father, oh, that I would spend time with You and be ready to respond to people as You would have me to. May I do this with Your love and concern for them and in Jesus Name.

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