Quiet Time Coaching Episode 491 | New Thing Series — Part 46 | “Nehemiah’s Lament – Part 4” | Malcolm Cox

A new thing! I’m Malcolm Cox. Welcome to your daily devotional podcast anchored in Isaiah 43:19: ‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.’

We are currently looking at God doing a new thing in the life of Nehemiah. Today we explore Nehemiah’s lament. After hearing the terrible news about Judah and Jerusalem, Nehemiah responds with a prayer of lament. After praise and confession he moves on to supplication.

“Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are under the farthest skies, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place at which I have chosen to establish my name.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great power and your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man!”” (Nehemiah 1:8-11 NRSV)

Nehemiah’s Lament

  • He reviews consequences of unfaithfulness (Deut. 4:25–31; 28:15–68, esp. 58–68; 30:1–10).
  • He reminds the Lord of his promises to repentant people
  • He reminds God of the special nature of his relationship with the people he has chosen to be his own.
  • In reminding the Lord that he exercised power and strength in redeeming his people he is presumably also indicating that he could restore them
  • He concludes with a request for immediate help

For Reflection
Nehemiah ends his prayer with a request for help. He needs that help because to speak to the king without being spoken to put him in danger of losing his life. He is prepared to do so because he is distraught about God being dishonoured by the state of his people in Judah. Nonetheless, even though he feels it deeply, he still needs God’s help. He appeals for success and mercy.

Why do we sometimes lack the courage to act? It could be a lack of prayer in general, but it may also be a lack of lament. Bringing lament together with praise, intercession, reflection on scripture and then making bold requests seems like a good approach.

‘A healthy church is where our fears go to die. We pierce them through with Scripture, psalms of celebration and lament. We melt them in the sunlight of confession. We extinguish them with the waterfall of worship, choosing to gaze at God, not our dreads.’ Fearless, Max Lucado

Why not take some time today to pray about something you wish to do, but for which you lack the courage?

I hope you find your heart, your life, your congregation and your world inspired by God doing a new thing. Until tomorrow, take care, and God bless.

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“Carpe Diem” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License