Bible Reading Plan | March 18, 2023
In the Bible, Nehemiah was a Jewish exile in the foreign land of Persia. He had risen through the ranks and was now the cupbearer to the king. This was one of the most trusted positions in Persia, because the cupbearer was also the food taster to make sure the king was not poisoned. But one day, Nehemiah heard from some travelers from his home nation of Judea that, the people were hurting, the wall of Jerusalem had been broken, and its gates burned with fire. Nehemiah was so burdened by this news and took his burden to the Lord. And the Lord answered. Perhaps Nehemiah was the person who was in just the right position to help! After all as Nehemiah relates in the last verse of our scripture passage, “I was a cupbearer to the king.”
(Nehemiah 1) 1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
6 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. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 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.’
10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.