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October 9, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: Matthew 18-19
Audio: Matthew 18-19

Nehemiah 2 (ESV)

In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. 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.

Then I came to the governors of the province Beyond the River and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen. 10 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel.

11 So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me but the one on which I rode. 13 I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal that was under me to pass. 15 Then I went up in the night by the valley and inspected the wall, and I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. 16 And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, and I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest who were to do the work.

17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” 18 And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 20 Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.”

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Next: Nehemiah 3

Back: Nehemiah 1

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. "You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision" (Nehemiah 2:17). 

    The Effects of Sin

    When I read Jerusalem was lying "in ruins with its gates burned" (Nehemiah 2:17), I couldn't help but think of the effects of sin in our lives. Sin certainly brings trouble. It leaves people in ruins. Like the gates of a city meant to protect those within, our "gates" become damaged because of sin. This leaves us unable to protect ourselves from further damage – and unable to protect our loved ones around us. 

    But one of the provisions of our loving God is the blessing of restoration. In today's chapter, Nehemiah is on such a journey. Seeing the city in its condition, he motivates those with him to begin repairing the damage done despite those who jeered at them and despised them (Nehemiah 2:19).

    Do our friends or family jeer or despise us because we live differently than we did before Christ?

    Does our commitment to Christ and all that He commanded give us courage and strength to fix the damage done by our sin?

    Do we cooperate with God in His restoration of us or do we fight against Him and burn the gates which He is rebuilding?

    The effects of sin may be catastrophic and the consequences of it still before us, but if we turn from our sin and all that is destroying us and turn to God, submitting to His authority over us as the Master Builder, we will see Him do miracles.

    While it's true this is a work of God in us, we have a responsibility to not burn the gates He is rebuilding and not destroy what He is repairing. 

  2. The answer to all 3 of your questions was "yes" for me. 

    I spent so much time fighting against God in my past, and now that I've surrendered, I have peace. God does give me courage and strength, and it truly amazes me how different my life is now that I have Jesus. 

    I want to continue to lay my life at his feet, and trust Him completely, always. 

  3. “But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, ‘What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?’”

    I wanted to know who these men were and why they were so bent out of shape about the rebuilding of Jerusalem, beginning with the wall, so I looked into it and discovered much that I hadn’t known (or considered) when I’d read Nehemiah before.

    It made me think about how when we incur opposition to something God is calling us to, there may be more going on than meets the eye. In the case of these three men, it would’ve taken a miraculous work of God for them not to be against this work. They weren’t just rabble rousers. 

    When I encounter spiritual opposition or animosity from those who do not share my faith in Christ, or who have something to lose if my work on behalf of God succeeds, I need to not take it personally. Without a work of God to change them, they can’t do anything but oppose me. I’m instructed by Jesus to love my enemy, pray for them, be kind to them, bless them, and even lay down my life for them. 

    God will take care of the rest.


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