I also said to the king, “If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah. And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me. —Nehemiah 2:7-8 We receive nothing except it be by the grace of the Lord God Almighty. As followers of Jesus we recognize this, but this is the case for those who do not know Jesus as well. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).

Nehemiah had great concern when he heard about how things were going in Jerusalem—

“They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. Then I said, “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses. “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’ “The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me” (Nehemiah 1:3-11)

After a time in prayer Nehemiah requested to return to Jerusalem to rebuild. It was “because the gracious hand of God was on” him that the king granted him his request.

If ever we need the gracious hand of God upon us, it is now! Our nation needs to be rebuilt— spiritually, politically, economically, judicially, defensively… We are a mess and we know where this world is headed, but like Nehemiah, do we want to have the gracious hand of God to work in our time to rebuild? Are we willing to do the hard work to rebuild?

Dear Father, may Your gracious hand be upon the church to make a vast difference in this land. May this be so in the authority of Your dear Son, Jesus, and by the power of Your Holy Spirit.

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