Persevering in the Will of God
After the great and glorious years of David and Solomon, after the divided kingdom period, after the two exiles of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms due to sin and disloyalty, after the return of many of God’s people to Jerusalem and the surrounding country—when Israel was still under foreign control—something monumental happened in Sushan, Persia.
While serving as “cupbearer” for King Artaxerxes during the middle of the fifth century BC, a man named Nehemiah received a tragic report concerning the condition of Jerusalem—both its people and its walls. The people were in trouble and disgrace, the walls broken down and the gates burned.
Nehemiah wept and prayed. He sought the Lord to make a way for him to return to Jerusalem to give himself to his people and this project (Neh. 1:1–11).
God wonderfully opened the opportunity for Nehemiah to travel to Jerusalem, and He protected him on his journey. The “hand of God” was with Nehemiah (a key phrase appearing in this marvelous biblical book; see Neh. 2:8). Opposition is mentioned from the very start (2:10), which would present itself in various ways throughout the account. Chapters 2–5 of Nehemiah tell of his arrival in Jerusalem, his inspection of the walls, the start of the rebuilding project, the rise of the opposition, and the continuation of the project. Chapter 5 gives choice insights into...