For the month of April, I will be studying the book of Nehemiah in the bible. If you are not familiar with the story of Nehemiah, I strongly encourage you to read and study it with me. Download the "Nehemiah: Lessons & Prayers" study guide worksheet at https://www.shewritesit.com/she-gives. Alright, let's get into this week's devotional!
In the first chapter of the book Nehemiah finds out that the people in his hometown of Jerusalem, the Israelites, were in danger because the wall and gates in the city that protected them from outside enemies and attacks had been burned down. Upon learning this, Nehemiah wept , fasted, and prayed to God for help.
Lesson 1: After hearing bad news, PRAY!
When Nehemiah heard the devastating news about the trouble and destruction in Jerusalem he fasted and prayed to God. Naturally, after hearing the news he cried, but the first thing he actually did was fasted. He fasted so he could humble himself before going to God and making his requests known in prayer.
The first lesson we can learn from Nehemiah is when we hear bad news, pray! One of my favorite scriptures in the bible is Psalms 112:7 and it says, "They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them." How many of us hear bad news and immediately go into fear and panic? Instead of trusting God, we question God and even blame Him for the bad thing(s) happening in our lives. Be honest, have you ever asked God, "Why did You allow this to happen to me?"
Nehemiah didn't do that. Though emotionally distraught, he fasted and prayed to God for His help. Because Nehemiah trusted God, he knew that if He prayed to Him in faith God would intervene in the situation. Now some bad news we hear is irreversible like a death of loved one or friend. In those situations God gives us the grace and strength to deal with the outcome and the after effects. But Nehemiah's problem was not irreversible and God could intervene and He did intervene because Nehemiah prayed and asked Him too.
Bad news should not cause us to lose our faith and trust in God. We are going to hear bad news while living on this earth, but we don't have to let what we hear make us fearful or fretful. Like Nehemiah, after hearing bad news we should pray! God said in His Word that He is a, " good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him" (Nahum 1:7). Nehemiah's people and beloved hometown, Jerusalem, was in trouble and they needed immediate help! And that is what God granted them through Nehemiah guidance, leadership, and instructions.
Have you recently received bad news? If you have, I want you to pray and fast like Nehemiah did. As I wrote earlier, not all bad news can be reversed, but I do know all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). Even in the midst of a bad situation, there is some good. You just have to seek God in prayer to find out what it is. God allowed the wall and gates in Jerusalem to be destroyed so He could cause the Israelites to repent, humble themselves, and get their relationship back in right standing with Him. In addition to that, He allowed the inner leader in Nehemiah to rise and help the Israelites rebuild the wall and gates in the city.
Nobody likes to hear bad news. Nobody wants to hear bad news. But what I have learned in my 30 years on this earth is we will all hear bad news. But upon hearing it, how will we react? Will we panic and go into fear, or will humble ourselves and pray? Think about those questions and answer wisely! The correct answer will mean you learned lesson one!
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