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Nehemiah 2:1–6 ‘Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king.’ (vv4–5a)

We love stories in part because of the dramatic moments, and Nehemiah includes a moment of great suspense at the start of chapter 4. It was four months between his praying and fasting and this moment that comes when Nehemiah was able to ask the king for help. His role as a cupbearer gave him access to the king and was a role that required upmost trust.

There was also the daily peril of tasting wine that could be deadly. Perhaps he was unable on this occasion to keep his cheery disposition, which leads to the King’s question about what was the problem? Nehemiah realised the moment had come and outlines the cause of his concern.

The next part almost reads like a fairy-tale, with both king and queen on board with the idea of Nehemiah returning to Jerusalem to do what he can to deal with the damaged walls. We note that two things go in hand, Nehemiah’s character which had led to the king trusting him and the providential work of God in moving the king to be so generous.

God’s work often proceeds through the generous support of those who may not necessarily share our faith. The apostle Paul says, ‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone’ (Rom. 12:18). It’s in the midst of that peace that we may have opportunity sometimes to ask questions of those in power and receive the reply: ‘What is it you want?’

A Prayer To Make:
‘God, we thank You that You can move those who don’t know You to fulfil Your purposes. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Do you need to have the courage to ask for help from those who don’t share your faith?

Scripture To Consider:
Isa. 45:1–7; Dan. 2:19–23; Luke 2:1–7; Rom. 13:1–7