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Consumed by the concern for God's people and God's house.

Rev. Tetteh-Annor Larbi | October 24, 2023 | Nehemiah 2:1-3

KEY VERSE: So the King asked me, “Why are you looking sad? You do not look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled. Nehemiah 2:2 (NLT)


Nehemiah, upon learning about the distress and disgrace faced by God's people and the dilapidated condition of His house, prayed earnestly for Israel and the crumbling walls of Jerusalem. Despite his prayers, he continued to bear the weight of concern for the Lord's house in his heart.

In his daily role as the king's cupbearer, Nehemiah's demeanour mirrored his inner feelings. King Artaxerxes, known for his formidable presence, was a figure to be both respected and feared. This was evident in Nehemiah's previous prayer, where he sought divine favour in the presence of "this man." Despite the emotional turmoil caused by the distressing state of Jerusalem and God's people, Nehemiah couldn't afford to approach the king with a countenance that might negatively influence the monarch's mood. In those times, any demeanour contrary to the king's liking could lead to severe consequences, even death. So, as Nehemiah grappled with deep emotions, the weight of his responsibility compelled him to present himself before the king with the utmost care, realizing the potential life-and-death implications of his actions.

The welfare of God's people and the state of God's house weighed so heavily on Nehemiah's heart that he couldn't conceal his emotions, even if it meant facing death. While fulfilling his duty to serve the king his wine, he risked execution by displaying such heartfelt concern. When questioned about his troubled countenance, Nehemiah summoned the courage to express to the king the genuine sentiments that had been consuming him. His words echoed the truth captured in Scripture: "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45). In the face of peril, Nehemiah's commitment to his people and God's cause spoke louder than fear.


What has consumed you? Do you have genuine concern for the people of God and the house of God? Is your heart set on ensuring God’s people and God’s house are doing well? Or you are consumed by yourself and what concerns only you and your household, and can not be bothered by what anyone else is going through. Think through it.


Dear heavenly father, may you grant me the desire to genuinely care for your people and the things concerning your kingdom. May the zeal for your house consume me and steer my heart towards you. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.



DAILY word study: SAD The Word "רָעָה" (Ra'ah) in Hebrew is translated as "sad" in the context of the key verse for our devotional today. It generally conveys the idea of evil or distress.

In Biblical usage, it is used to describe:

Distress and Affliction:** The Hebrew word "רָעָה" is often used to describe situations of distress or affliction, capturing the emotional state of being troubled or sorrowful.

2. **Connection with Evil Circumstances:** In certain contexts, "רָעָה" is associated with evil circumstances or situations that lead to a sense of sadness or distress.

The use of the word "sad" in the context of Nehemiah 2:2 reveals the following insightful aspects:

  1. Recognizing Emotions: Nehemiah's sadness is noticed by the king, indicating that emotions, even negative ones like sadness, are a natural part of the human experience. This prompts reflection on the importance of acknowledging and understanding our emotions.

  2. Expression of Inner Turmoil: The king observes that Nehemiah's sadness is not due to physical illness but reflects a deeper inner turmoil. This invites us to consider that sadness can be an expression of spiritual or emotional struggles.

  3. Fear and Sadness: Nehemiah's reaction to the king's inquiry is fear. This suggests that his sadness is not merely a surface-level emotion but is connected to deeper concerns, possibly related to the condition of Jerusalem.

Reflections: How can we navigate and learn from moments of sadness, recognizing them as opportunities for introspection and seeking God's guidance in times of inner turmoil?

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