December 24, 2017

Cupbearer Nehemiah

Nehemiah 1

They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand.

—  Nehemiah 1:10

About 70 years after the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem was rebuilt, Nehemiah, cupbearer to the king of Persia, heard reports of trouble and disgrace there. The walls of the city were still lying in ruin. In those days, a city’s walls offered protection and security. If Jerusalem was going to flourish, it needed strong walls. Nehemiah wept because his people needed a safe place in which to live and worship the Lord their God.

Nehemiah received permission to go and rebuild the walls, and that was a hard task made more difficult by neighboring enemies who sabotaged the work. But finally, about 140 years after the walls had been destroyed, they were rebuilt and the people could live safely.

Nehemiah’s name means “the Lord comforts.” God comforted his people through the strong leadership and vision of Nehemiah.

As we await Jesus’ coming, we know that he comes to bring us the Lord’s comfort, the comfort of being safe from our enemies. God asks us to be builders too—of a kingdom in which jus­tice and truth embrace and people live in peace, where Jesus is King and we live in loving obedience to him.

In what ways are you helping to bring the Lord’s comfort to ­others, following Jesus’ example?

Lord of comfort, we long for your coming again, when all will be restored and the world will know your peace. When you ­arrive, may you find us faithfully working to build your kingdom, we pray. Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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