God’s Gracious Hand is Upon Us as His People
In Nehemiah 1, the Jewish remnants who returned to Jerusalem were in serious trouble and disgrace. The walls of Jerusalem was broken down, and its gates had been burned down with fire. Jerusalem was an open city, and there was no protection from harmful influences. The people were delivered unto disgrace and shame, and the once-mighty nation was on their knees. This report was devastating to Nehemiah. He sat down and wept. He mourned, fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven. He confessed the sin of his people and prayed that the Lord would allow him to discuss his people’ suffering with King Artaxerxes. Nehemiah prayed to the Lord, and the Lord gave the opportunity. The Holy Spirit allowed Nehemiah to set his case before the King. The King asked in a mocking voice: “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Nehemiah was a eunuch, and the King was mocking him. Nehemiah was very afraid, but he said to the King, “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?” The King asked: “What are you requesting?” Nehemiah put his requests before the King, and he granted them. This was only because of the Lord’s grace, and the King granted his request because the good hand of God was upon Nehemiah, as we read in verse 8. Nehemiah could start the work to restore the walls.