Prayer: Open our minds to Your most Holy Word O LORD our rock and our redeemer. Amen.
Read Nehemiah 11:1 - 17
Nehemiah is a fascinating book of the Bible. Nehemiah is a butler to King Artaxerxes and one night while serving him dinner, the King asks Nehemiah why he is so sad. Nehemiah responds that the walls of Jerusalem are destroyed. Long story short, the King sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls. Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem but is met by opposition. The walls are eventually rebuilt but another stumbling block occurs. The people living in the city are taxed to within an inch of their lives. Nehemiah corrects that by saying that the rulers and leaders must not tax the people… and then sets as an example by giving monies and grain to the people. Nehemiah calls upon the officials and says, “What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God…..” (Nehemiah 5: 9 NIV Zondervan, 1983). And the officials return the land and grain to the people as well as stopping over taxing the people.
Then, there is another problem in Jerusalem. There are not enough people living in Jerusalem to make the city flourish. The people pray. So Nehemiah reads the genealogy of the families who had been the first to return and then ask for 10% of those living outside the city to become part of the Jerusalem community.
Nehemiah governs Jerusalem for twelve years. And this is where we are in today’s reading. The new residents of Jerusalem are moving into the City. One of the new resident’s of the city is Mattaniah son of Mica, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph. Mattaniah is from the family tribe of Levites. While Mattaniah is not a priest, he is the one who leads in thanksgiving and prayer during worship and offerings.
In all of the planning and rebuilding of the city and the people, Nehemiah did everything with prayer. When we read of Nehemiah’s prayers, they are not prayers of “we want this and we want that”. Rather Nehemiah’s prayers ask for God’s will to be heard by all peoples. In our Churches today, how do we pray for our new programs or new church building plans? Do we gather as a people to pray so that the Elders can discern God’s call and provide us with direction?
Today, remember to keep the Church you attend in your prayers of thanksgiving.
The three things I am thankful for today are:
Prayer: Bless us O God so that our lives become a reflection of Your glory. Use us to Your service and make us ever mindful of the needs of others. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.