Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Christian Presence in Differing Life SpacesScripture
Key Bible Verse Text
“let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.” Nehemiah 1:6
Nehemiah was born in exile in Babylon. He was a faithful, loyal, and trustworthy Jew. He was the cup bearer to king Artaxerxes of Persia. He was in the citadel of Susa. The cupbearer tastes the drinks and food before the king consumes it. It was a responsible job.
Nehemiah’s brother Hananiah came to visit him from Jerusalem. So, he inquired about the state of the Jews that returned from exile. Though he lived in Persia, he was concerned about the Jews that returned to their homeland. Hananiah told him about the deprived state of affairs in Jerusalem, with the walls broken and burned as they were when the Babylonians destroyed it. This news created a turmoil in Nehemiah’s heart regarding his countrymen. He had sympathy and empathy for them. He was burdened with a desire to resolve their problem. Nehemiah was a man of prayer as well as a man of action.
The first thing Nehemiah did was fast, mourn and pray to God. He admitted his sins as well as those of his ancestors. He interceded for the Jews in his homeland. He wept in the Lord’s presence, pouring out his heart. He reminded God of His promise to Moses, “but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’” Nehemiah 1:9. He asked for success in presenting this case to the king and to receive a favorable response.
As Christians we have a lot to learn from Nehemiah’s life. We must be prayerful, and action oriented like him. Jesus in His sermon on the mount said” you are the salt of the earth and light of the world”. We have to act like salt to preserve the community and as light to show the way for others wherever we are placed. It is written in James 2:26 “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” Are we interceding for our fellow beings in different parts of the world undergoing turmoil due to natural disasters, persecution, war, diseases etc…? Are we concerned about them like Nehemiah? Does our heart break for what makes the heart of God break ?.
Lord, we seek your face with our day-to-day issues as well as those of our brethren. Forgive us for our sins. In your grace and mercy, open doors, and hearts to resolve the burning issues in Manipur and of the world. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
Thought for the Day
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—”1 Timothy 2: 1
Chacko Varughese, Epiphany Mar Thoma Church, New York.