Living in Exile
We look to Nehemiah for clues to guide our own pilgrimage in difficult times. Nehemiah was grief-stricken by the news of the condition of Jerusalem. The walls were broken down and the gates burned with fire. His first emotion over the sad loss of his heritage was grief. It was not bitterness or anger. Nehemiah wept and mourned as Jesus would later weep over the same city.
In his grief, Nehemiah moved to the next step, prayer and fasting. His prayer was first of all a prayer of adoration for the majestic awe of God and for His faithfulness to His people: “Oh great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments” (Neh. 1:5).
Even in exile, Nehemiah praised God for His covenant faithfulness. Then the focus of his prayer turned to repentance, as he pleaded with God to forgive the sins of his own people, acknowledging that they had brought exile upon themselves.
Think about some of the ways God has proven faithful to you in the past, then thank Him!
Passages for Further Study