Nehemiah mourned over the condition of Jerusalem, the city of God. He wept, fasted and prayed for many days. He prayed a prayer of repentance and petition to God, asking for forgiveness for the sins of Judah, and also that God would restore the great city. He was the king’s cupbearer in Babylon. When Nehemiah next served the king, he asked him what was wrong, for he looked sad. Nehemiah prayed to God, then explained the situation to King Artaxerxes. The king immediately wrote letters for Nehemiah, and sent him with funds and people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. When they arrived and Sanballat and Tobiah heard what they had planned, they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel.
As has been stated earlier, sometimes the restoration of God comes in stages. This was another step along the way to the restoration of Israel which God effected through Artaxerxes. Whereas Ezra interceded for the temple, Nehemiah interceded for the city. This demonstrates the appropriate order in which we should restore our lives. Begin with your relationship to God and the care of His house, then God will open doors for your life to be blessed in personal and material ways. Put God first, and all the rest will follow and fall into place!
Nehemiah had a heart for the city in which God had His dwelling. He grieved over not only the condition of the city, but also over the sinfulness of the people that led to its demise. His desire was to see God’s glory restored in Jerusalem. We need to seek to restore the glory of the Lord in our homes, churches, cities, and our world. There will be detractors and naysayers, but God will enable you through visions and dreams, through provision from the most unlikely sources, and by quieting your enemies. Be bold in your zeal for the kingdom of God!