“Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’” —Nehemiah 8:10 NKJV

By Leslie M. Grant

Nehemiah, meaning “comfort of Jehovah,” writes the history of his connection with the remnant of the returned captivity. He followed Ezra by about 13 years in going to Jerusalem, stirred through news he had received of the decayed condition of the city. God gave him favor with Artaxerxes, king of Persia, for whom he was cupbearer, and he obtained authority from the king to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

A man of faith and energy and a capable administrator, Nehemiah was able to organize the Jews for the labor of rebuilding the wall and imbue [instill] them with willingness both to work and to fight for God’s interests in the city. His firm decision, wise avoidance of the enemy’s cunning snares, and short, earnest prayers cannot fail to attract every interested reader. Yet the authoritative influence of the Persian government is felt throughout and cannot be ignored.

Nehemiah is a book especially helpful in our day. It illustrates the fact that true devotedness to God on the part of His saints and their purpose of heart to build a wall of separation from the world and its evils will meet with bitter opposition from the enemy. Yet, however small and despised such a testimony may appear in men’s eyes, the firm, lowly faith of His own in a day of confusion is precious to God.