Daily Devotional Nehemiah 2:1–8
Have you ever been afraid to ask your boss for something, such as a raise or maybe some time off? I know I have! I’ve been anxious that the answer would be no, or—even worse—that I’d be fired for presuming my worth. Now, imagine if your boss could literally murder you any time with no repercussions whatsoever. And what if you’re asking for something the boss already promised would never happen. That was the situation for Nehemiah in today’s passage.
Because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests.
It had been four months since Nehemiah (“The Lord Comforts”) learned from his brother Hanani (“The Lord is Gracious”) about the devastation in Jerusalem. “When wine was brought for” King Artaxerxes, it was likely at a feast and, thus, he would be in good spirits, but he sensed something wrong with his trusted cupbearer: “Why does your face look so sad?” (v. 2). Nehemiah, though fearful (v. 2), answers honestly. Even though he knows that Artaxerxes had already halted construction of Jerusalem’s walls (see Ezra 4), Nehemiah prays to God and asks the king to allow him to return to do the very thing the king said should not be done.
Miraculously, Artaxerxes reverses the course set in Ezra 4 and allows Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem, even providing letters to guarantee his safe passage, soldiers to guard his caravan, and materials for the rebuilding project. All of this, Nehemiah says, is “because the gracious hand of my God was on me” (v. 8). Nehemiah does not claim credit for the king’s stunning response. He does not post on social media “Just got that promotion!! All my hard work finally paid off!!” Instead, he recognizes that God has been gracious to him and turned the king’s heart (Prov. 21:1).
>> Have you experienced God’s gracious hand on you? Don’t take the credit for this wonderful event! Instead, tell someone about the miraculous (and ordinary) ways that God has shown you favor. This is a God-story worth sharing!
Pray with Us
How often we give ourselves the credit for Your gifts! Today we name the blessings You have given us and glorify You, generous Father; You know so well how to delight us and build us up.