Now, O God, Strengthen My Hands
If you aren’t familiar with the story of Nehemiah, it’s a good one.
This trusted Jewish advisor to the Persian King Artaxerxes I learns that the Jews who have returned to Jerusalem are in trouble: “It’s a disaster. The survivors of the exile who are in the Persian province of Jerusalem have been wronged and are hated.” Overwhelmed, Nehemiah weeps and pleads to God. The King notices Nehemiah’s sadness, and Nehemiah bravely tells him everything.
Nehemiah writes: “My true God had heard my prayers and rested His hand of favor and love upon me. The king gave me everything I asked for!”
And with that Nehemiah was off to Jerusalem where he encouraged the Jewish people: “Let us begin by rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, and in doing so, we will demolish our disgrace.”
You can imagine how this went over with the neighbors! They had so enjoyed watching the Jews struggle. At the center of Nehemiah’s account we read this:
We knew our enemies’ intent was to intimidate us into stopping our work. They reasoned, “These Jews will stop rebuilding out of fear and discouragement. Progress will grind to a halt.” Instead I renewed my dedication and prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” — Nehemiah 6:9
I find Nehemiah’s story not only inspiring but encouraging — especially in those times when I am feeling beaten down. I sense the enemy’s desire that I would fail, quit, give up. Maybe you know those moments too. It is then that we can pray as Nehemiah did…But now, O God, strengthen my hands.
Down an Ancient Path
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