of this wonderful man, his cry which has been on record all these
years, and a great help to many people:
"I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God,
that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe
his commandments: let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes
open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray
before thee now, day and night, for
the children of Israel thy
servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we
have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the
commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou
commandedst thy servant Moses. Remember, I beseech thee, the word
that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I
will scatter you abroad among the nations: but if ye turn unto me,
and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast
out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them
from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen
to set my name there. Now these are thy servants and thy people,
whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.
O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer
of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to
fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and
grant him mercy in the sight of this man."
When he began to pray I have no idea that he thought he was to be
the instrument in God's hand of building the walls of Jerusalem. But
when a man gets into sympathy and harmony with God, then God
prepares him for the work He has for him. No doubt he thought the
Persian king might send one of his great warriors and accomplish the
work with a great army of men, but after he had been praying for
months, it may be the thought flashed into his mind:
"Why should not I go to Jerusalem myself and build those walls?"
Prayer for the work will soon arouse your own sympathy and effort.
Now mark, it meant a good deal for Nehemiah to give up the palace of
Shushan and his high office, and identify himself with the despised
and captive Jews. He was among the highest in the whole realm. Not
only that, but he was a man of wealth, lived in ease and luxury, and
had great influence at court. For him to go to Jerusalem and lose
caste was like Moses turning his back on the palace of Pharaoh and
identifying himself with the Hebrew slaves. Yet we might