“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.” NIV
‘When God puts a burden on your heart, don’t try to escape it, for if you do, you may miss the blessing He has planned for you. The book of Nehemiah begins with ‘’great affliction’’ (Neh.1:3), but before it closes, there is great joy (8:12, 17). ‘’Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning’’ (Ps.30:5)’ Warren Wiersbe OT Commentary, p.753.
Nehemiah’s heart was stirred and moved and burdened by the facts he heard. He showed a spiritual intensity that, I believe, would also be entirely appropriate for the situation we face in the world right now. Pentecostal Christians are regularly caricatured as ‘happy-clappy’. That’s probably an unfair designation. But as well as being a people who are very much in favour of overwhelming joy in the Holy Spirit, we also need to understand that there is a proper place for lament.
Fasting was required of the Jews only once a year, on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29), but Nehemiah’s fasting (and mourning) went on ‘For some days…’
You don’t need me to tell you that our nation, and the world at large, is facing a monumental crisis. Look the facts of our situation squarely in the face, and then tell me that we don’t need to join in Nehemiah in mourning, weeping, fasting and repentance!
PRAYER: ‘Break my heart for what breaks yours.’