The Marks of the Genuinely Concerned

Praying Through the Bible #33 | with Daniel Whyte III

TEXT: Nehemiah 1:1-11

We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible”. The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the new Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have done 32 messages in this series.

This is message #33 titled “The Marks of the Genuinely Concerned”

I hope that you pray for others regularly, and I hope that you pray for the needs of other believers regularly, because as followers of Christ, we ought to be concerned for one another. The evangelist and author Leonard Ravenhill said, “The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of the Church, grieved at the blindness of the Church, grieved at the corruption in the Church, grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved at the prayerlessness in the Church…” In other words, a true man of God, a true woman of God, has a level of concern for their brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Bible tells us about a man who was genuinely concerned about his people — the Jews. Some 400 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the nation of Israel and the Jewish people were in a state of disarray. Both Israel and Judah had been conquered. Many of the inhabitants of those countries were carried off to Assyria and Babylon. Jerusalem was in ruins, and Solomon’s glorious temple was destroyed. Without divine intervention, Jerusalem would have ended up like many other ancient cities — completely forgotten except to history.

When the Jews arrived in Babylon, they began to make homes for themselves there. Some say that two to three million Jews had been deported, and when, after 70 years, the time and opportunity came for them to return to their homeland, only 50,000 initially decided to return. Our passage for today, the first chapter of the book of Nehemiah, begins almost 100 years after the first captives returned to Jerusalem under the leadership of Ezra. In that time, very little had been done to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. Everything still looked very bleak.

Allow me to share with you three marks of the genuinely concerned which are demonstrated by the actions of Nehemiah.

1. Nehemiah showed genuine concern by asking about the matter. Nehemiah writes, ‘when Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.’ Nehemiah shows his concern by asking about the condition of the Jews who had been left behind in Israel, and about the condition of the city of Jerusalem. He wants to know what is going on and how everyone is doing. Sometimes, to show that you are concerned about someone, all you have to do is ask them how they are doing.

2. Nehemiah showed genuine concern by praying about the matter. Nehemiah’s brother shares with him the sad state of affairs in Israel. He says that those who were left in Israel “are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and gates are burned with fire.” Upon hearing this news, Nehemiah says, “I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah’s genuine concern for his people causes his heart to break upon hearing the sad state of affairs of his people who are in the land of Israel.

3. Nehemiah showed genuine concern by determining to do something about the matter. The last verse of Nehemiah chapter 1 gives us a glimpse of what Nehemiah had in mind to do following his prayer. Nehemiah asks God to “prosper thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man (the king). For I was the king’s cupbearer.”

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