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Day 272 – The Call of Nehemiah


Thoughts and Reflections

Today we read about Jerusalem’s restoration. Zechariah writes 500 years before Jesus comes, he tells us of mourning for “him whom they have pierced.” Jesus was pierced on the cross for us. In Nehemiah, we see a third wave of the people’s return to the Holy Land. The walls of Jerusalem have not been rebuilt so the city remains vulnerable to attack. When Nehemiah’s heart is broken, he turns to the Lord. He is later accused of rebelling against the king. The King himself gave him letters and permission to rebuild the walls. He waits and hears God’s word and acts on it.

Nehemiah shows us model leadership to follow.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Nehemiah 1

1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. It happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa,

2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, arrived with some men from Judah. I asked them about the Jews — those who had escaped and those who survived from the captivity — and about Jerusalem.

3 They replied, ‘The survivors remaining there in the province since the captivity are in a very bad and demoralised condition: the walls of Jerusalem are in ruins and its gates have been burnt down.’

4 On hearing this I sat down and wept; for some days I mourned, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

5 I said, ‘Yahweh, God of heaven — the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps a covenant of faithful love with those who love him and obey his commandments-

6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to listen to your servant’s prayer, which I now offer to you day and night on behalf of your servants the Israelites. I admit the sins of the Israelites, which we have committed against you. Both I and my father’s House have sinned;

7 we have acted very wickedly towards you by not keeping the commandments, laws and rulings which you enjoined on your servant Moses.

8 Remember, I beg you, the promise which you solemnly made to your servant Moses, “If you are unfaithful, I shall scatter you among the peoples;

9 but if you come back to me and keep my commandments and practise them, even though those who have been banished are at the very sky’s end, I shall gather them from there and bring them back to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling-place for my name.”

10 Since they are your servants, your people, whom you have redeemed with your mighty power and strong hand,

11 O Lord, let your ear now be attentive to your servant’s prayer and to the prayer of your servants who want to revere your name. I beg you let your servant be successful today and win this man’s compassion.’ At the time I was cupbearer to the king.

Nehemiah 2

1 In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, since I was in charge of the wine, I took the wine and offered it to the king. Now, he had never seen me looking depressed before.

2 So the king said to me, ‘Why are you looking depressed? You are not sick! This must be a sadness of the heart.’ Thoroughly alarmed by this,

3 I said to the king, ‘May the king live for ever! How can I not look depressed when the city where the tombs of my ancestors are lies in ruins and its gates have been burnt down?’

4 The king then said to me, ‘What would you like me to do?’ Praying to the God of heaven,

5 I said to the king, ‘If the king approves and your servant enjoys your favour, send me to Judah, to the city of the tombs of my ancestors, so that I can rebuild it.’

6 The king — with the queen sitting beside him-said, ‘How long will your journey take, and when will you come back?’ Once I had given him a definite time, the king approved my mission.

7 I then said to the king, ‘If the king approves, may I be given orders for the governors of Transeuphrates to let me pass through on my way to Judah?

8 Also an order for Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest, to supply me with timber for the beams of the gates of the citadel of the Temple, for the city walls and for the house which I am to occupy?’ These the king granted me because the kindly hand of my God was over me.

9 When I reached the governors of Transeuphrates, I gave them the king’s orders. The king had sent an escort of army officers and cavalry along with me.

10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the official of Ammon heard about this, they were exceedingly displeased that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.

11 And so I reached Jerusalem. After I had been there three days,

12 I got up during the night with a few other men — I had not told anyone what my God had inspired me to do for Jerusalem — taking no animal with me other than my own mount.

13 Under cover of dark I went out through the Valley Gate towards the Dragon’s Fountain as far as the Dung Gate, and examined the wall of Jerusalem where it was broken down and its gates burnt out.

14 I then crossed to the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but it was impassable to my mount.

15 So I went up the Valley in the dark, examining the wall; I then went in again through the Valley Gate, coming back

16 without the officials knowing where I had gone or what I had been doing. So far I had said nothing to the Jews: neither to the priests, the nobles, the officials nor any other persons involved in the undertaking.

17 I then said to them, ‘You see what a sorry state we are in: Jerusalem is in ruins and its gates have been burnt down. Come on, we must rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and put an end to our humiliating position!’

18 And I told them how the kindly hand of my God had been over me, and the words which the king had said to me. At this they said, ‘Let us start building at once!’ and they set their hands to the good work.

19 When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the official of Ammon, and Geshem the Arab heard about this, they laughed at us and jeered. They said, ‘What is this you are doing? Are you going to revolt against the king?’

20 But I gave them this answer, ‘The God of heaven will grant us success and we, his servants, mean to start building; as for you, you have neither share nor right nor memorial in Jerusalem.’

Zechariah 12

1 A proclamation. The word of Yahweh about Israel (and also about Judah). Yahweh, who spread out the heaven and founded the earth and formed the human spirit within, declares:

2 ‘Look, I shall make Jerusalem a cup to set all the surrounding peoples reeling. (That will be at the time of the siege of Jerusalem.)

3 ‘When that day comes, I shall make Jerusalem a stone too heavy for all the peoples to lift; all those who try to lift it will hurt themselves severely, although all the nations of the world will be massed against her.

4 When that day comes — declares Yahweh — I shall strike all the horses with panic and their riders with madness. And I shall strike all the peoples with blindness. (But I shall keep watch over Judah.)

5 Then the rulers of Judah will say to themselves, “The strength of the inhabitants of Jerusalem lies in Yahweh Sabaoth their God.”

6 When that day comes, I shall make the rulers of Judah like a brazier burning in a pile of wood, like a torch flaming in a sheaf; and they will devour all the peoples round them to right and left. And Jerusalem will be full of people as before, where she stands (in Jerusalem).

7 Yahweh will first save the tents of Judah, so that the glory of the House of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not increase at Judah’s expense.

8 When that day comes, Yahweh will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and the frailest of them will be like David when that day comes, and the House of David will be like God, like the angel of Yahweh, at their head.

9 ‘When that day comes, I shall set about destroying all the nations who advance against Jerusalem.

10 But over the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem I shall pour out a spirit of grace and prayer, and they will look to me. They will mourn for the one whom they have pierced as though for an only child, and weep for him as people weep for a first-born child.

11 When that day comes, the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad Rimmon in the Plain of Megiddo.

12 And the country will mourn clan by clan: The clan of the House of David by itself, and their women by themselves; the clan of the House of Nathan by itself, and their women by themselves;

13 the clan of the House of Levi by itself, and their women by themselves; the clan of the House of Shimei by itself, and their women by themselves;

14 all the rest of the clans, every clan by itself, and their women by themselves.’

Zechariah 13

1 ‘When that day comes, a fountain will be opened for the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to wash sin and impurity away.

2 ‘When that day comes — Yahweh declares — I shall cut off the names of the idols from the country, and they will never be remembered again; I shall also rid the country of the prophets, and of the spirit of impurity.

3 Then, if anyone still goes on prophesying, his parents, his own father and mother will say to him, “You shall not live, since you utter lies in Yahweh’s name.” And even while he is prophesying, his parents, his own father and mother will pierce him through.

4 When that day comes, the prophets will all be ashamed to relate their visions when they prophesy and no longer put on their hair cloaks with intent to deceive.

5 Instead, they will say, “I am no prophet. I am a man who tills the soil, for the land has been my living since I was a boy.”

6 And if anyone asks him, “What are those gashes on your chest?” he will reply, “I got them when I was with my friends.” ‘

7 Awake, sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me- declares Yahweh Sabaoth! Strike the shepherd, scatter the sheep! And I shall turn my hand against the young!

8 So it will be, throughout the country- declares Yahweh Sabaoth- two-thirds in it will be cut off (be killed) and the other third will be left.

9 I shall pass this third through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, test them as gold is tested. He will call on my name and I shall answer him; I shall say, ‘He is my people,’ and he will say, ‘Yahweh is my God!’

Proverbs 20:20-22

20 Whoever curses father or mother will have his lamp put out in the deepest darkness.

21 Property quickly come by at first will not be blessed in the end.

22 Do not say, ‘I shall repay evil’; put your hope in Yahweh and he will keep you safe.


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