The book of Nehemiah is a book about devastating loss, great trouble and survival in a world vastly different from what it once was (Nehemiah 1:1-3). Nehemiah is not just about rebuilding the broken walls of the city of Jerusalem; it’s also about rebuilding and restoring a broken relationship with God. It’s about God’s people coming together to do God’s work and the spirit of revival and restoration that goes along with it. But most of all, Nehemiah is a book about a great God. In no place is this more evident than in Nehemiah’s prayer in 1:4-11. It is especially important to notice what this section says about God.
- Our Great God is to be Approached Humbly (1:4). Nehemiah had a great burden for people, one that caused him to weep, mourn, fast, and pray. See James 4:6-10 and 1 Peter 5:5-7.
- Our Great God Hears and Is Attentive to Our Prayers (1:4, 11). What a comforting thought! See James 5:16 and 1 Peter 3:12.
- Our Great God Is the Lord of Heaven (1:5). This statement says much about God’s uniqueness and place (cf. 2 Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 1:2). See also James 1:17-18 and 1 Peter 3:22.
- Our Great God Is Indeed Great and Awesome (1:5). He gives great mercy in Christ (1 Peter 1:3), great joy, even in grief and trial (1:6), and things of great worth and value (1 Peter 1:7; 3:4).
- Our Great God Keeps His Covenant and Is Full of Steadfast Love (1:5). This was important for Nehemiah to recognize and it is for us too. See James 1:12 and 1’Peter 1:8.
- Our Great God Is Holy and Righteous and Hates Sin (1:6-7). See James 1:13-15, 5:19-20 and 1 Peter 1:14-16.
- Our Great God Has Spoken and Revealed Himself and His Will (1:7). See James 1:25, 2:12, and 1 Peter 1:10-12.
- Our Great God Remembers His Promises and His Threats (1:8). He never says “oops” or “I forgot.” See James 1:12 and 2 Peter 1:4 and 3:9.
- Our Great God Redeems With Great Power and a Strong Hand (1:10). See James 1:21 and 1 Peter 1:18-21.
- Our Great God Is Lord, and He Gives Success and Mercy (1:11). Nehemiah knew NOT to attempt any action without first taking matters before the throne of God. See James 5:11, 3:17 and 1 Peter 1:3 and 2:10.
Hmm. I wonder if there might just be a lot of legitimate application by contemplating Nehemiah’s prayer today?