“As soon as I heard these words, I sat down and began to weep and mourn for days, and I kept fasting and praying before the God of the heavens.”
What were the words that caused the Persian king’s cup-bearer, Nehemiah, so much distress?
“The walls of Jerusalem are broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire,” (Neh. 1:3).
The Jews who had returned to the Holy City to rebuild it were not committing to their mission.
Nehemiah received this sad news in the Jewish month of Chislev (mid-November to mid-December) in what would have been the year 456 b.C.E.
He did not request leave from the king to go to Jerusalem and give fresh impulse to the reconstruction until four months later (Neh. 2:1).
Despite his worries, he “had never been gloomy” in the king’s presence.
From this we can learn two things:
Firstly, if our present circumstances do not allow us to serve Jehovah our God to the extent we desire, we can pray to Him for guidance and ask him to bless our efforts to make better use of our time.
Secondly, until we are able to fix our work or personal circumstances to permit greater service, we can face each day with cheer, knowing that we “do all things for God’s glory,” (1 Cor. 10:31).