trouble and shame

from the reading plan

Nehemiah 1:1-11a

BY Raechel Myers

[You can find the new Nehemiah plan on YouVersion by clicking here!]


I know. Another Old Testament prophet. But, if you felt like the text in Hosea was challenging, you’ll be pleased to know that things move a little more smoothly in Nehemiah. Still, thirteen chapters about rebuilding a wall might feel potentially tedious to some.

The good news is that Nehemiah is about so much more than bricks and mortar. It’s actually a remarkable story about God using regular, God-fearing folks – not just the big, important leaders – to accomplish His redemptive purposes.

Nehemiah will teach us about compassion, community, repentance, covenant, and conviction. And it doesn’t end like you might expect. Join us?

Trouble and Shame

Text: Nehemiah 1:1-11a

Think back to when you first moved out of your parents’ house. (And if you can, try to remember a time when you didn’t have access to news and status updates in the palm of your hand.) Your family comes to visit for a long weekend and as you sit down for lunch together, you ask how things are going back home.

Only rather than “same old, same old” or “so-and-so’s having a baby and the Jones’s just put in a new swimming pool”, you hear, “Honestly? Things are really bad. Everyone you knew growing up is either dead or wishes they were dead. Your hometown is falling apart. Our police force has been destroyed and the whole city is absolute lawlessness.”

It absolutely breaks your heart, right?

This is where we meet our man Nehemiah today. He has just received word that the wall of Jerusalem (his hometown) was broken down and the gates destroyed by fire. The people he loves – his fellow Israelites with whom he and his family go way back – are in “great trouble and shame”. Things are low. Really low.

Look at how Nehemiah responds with compassion for his people. Even though he is 800 miles away, safely and comfortably out of harm’s way, testing wine and food for the king’s table; just knowing that his people are hurting lays him low. Really low.

The Bible tells us that when Nehemiah hears this news he weeps and mourns for days. His people and his home may as well be on the other side of the planet, yet knowing that they are without protection has him fasting and praying and confessing on their behalf.

We have a lot to learn in our study of the book of Nehemiah. But even in this first day, even in setting the stage for what is going to need to be accomplished in the hearts and lives of the people of Israel, the sovereign God is showing us something awesome about biblical compassion.

Lord, rend our hearts for the hurting today. Let us not allow our own comforts or safe distance from pain prevent us from seeing and loving others as you see and love them. Move us. Break us. And build us back up for your glory.

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120 thoughts on "trouble and shame"

  1. NinaKay85 says:

    I am starting this a little late, but todays scripture is filled with so much revelation for me. We as christians we know how to pray for ourselves and those we love but what about those we may not know?
    Nehemiah had a heart for God and his people and prayed and fasted for them. That is a big example of the kind of love we should show to all and to remind us not to be spectators to others grief but to pray for them and sometimes go to God on thier behalf.
    I am so exited about these next 17 days!

  2. Sheila says:

    So, yes, I am late with my homework. I know my all forgiving God will understand.
    Couple of points…Old Testament has always been difficult for me to understand, but I believe this is the forum in which I will learn.
    Secondly, the set up you gave comparing today with Nehemuah' s time was the most impactful for me. When someone else puts something like this in a new context, I can really relate.

  3. Sue :-) says:

    I think I am goi g to love this devo, and this man of God, Nehemiah. I’m a day late because of work and a bibleclass, but I couldn’t wait to delve into these scriptures.

    It is so amazing how God works. My prayer has been for him to show me where I’m needed as his vessel, and time after time, when I thought an outreach would be right, God would close the door. I was looking for something BiG, and last week, He lead me to the word Community. Not the world or nation or even this city, but the community of my sisters and daughters and family. My community of my family.

    Yes, our walls are broken down, our faith is weak, and this is where God wants me to shine hisight. And suddenly, everything is coming together.

    I will walk tbese steps with Nehemiah, and keep attuned to God’s leading, as we rebuild these walls.

    Excited #SRT! God is sooo good.

  4. Patrice Evans says:

    Greetings! I've just started today with the reading plan, and what stood out for me is how Nehemiah went before God in a certain manner. He showed reverence and was strategic, decent and in order: 1) fasted and prayed first, 2) greeted God by worshiping and exalting Him, 3) stated his petitions to God (specific in his asking), and 4) Nehemiah reminds God of what He said in His word. This blesses me because I don't spend enough time in actually studying Gods word, but reading the text helps me know how to go before God in my prayer life.

    1. Peggy says:

      AMEN! Patrice… great summary and personal application, too! Glad you are doing this with us!

      1. Sue :-) says:

        I highlighted that too. What a beautiful way to come before our Lord.

  5. Teresa says:

    What a blessing to not only be a part of an online Bible Study that gets me refocused every day but to be a part of a community of praying caring women!!!

    I could hardly wait for the Nehemiah study to start up as I really enjoyed the one on Hosea, I totally filled up the margins in my Bible. Today I wrote down some of the comments some of you have written on here in the margins of my Bible surrounding Nehemiah.

    As I have pondered all of the things said today and the prayers going up for Kellie and Lynda and others, I am reminded of a friend of mine who spurs me on to continually get out of my comfort zone to reach out to those around me and also those thst could be 800 miles away. To pray for someone when they bare their souls, the stranger on a bus or at Wal-Mart or wherever. To stop and listen. To send out a card of encouragement or pick up the phone when God brings someone to mind. And to not only pray for them, but pray over them, pray with them! To be prepared to give of our time, our money, our talents, our gifts to reach out to a troubled soul! To pray! To sob before The Lord for this broken world.

    When the news came to Nehemiah of the people back home, the news hit him so hard he could no longer stand, he had to sit down. Then he fasted for days! May we not be so complacent about the world around us that we are not overwhelmed by the needs, spiritual and physical and emotional!!

    Like I said earlier, I made it through over 20 years of depression. I had friends who did not give up on me. It’s hard not to give up when you are praying for someone for years and you are not seeing any change, don’t give up! It’s very draining to be the constant encourager, so you also need to find someone that is encouraging you!!! And when God answers your prayer in a different way or someone you have prayed for takes their life, keep moving forward! God is still there!!!! He is your Rock! Your Hiding Place! Your strong tower! Your deliverer!!! He will help you up out of your rubble and Ge will help you rebuild what you thought was hopeless!!!

    1. Peggy says:

      Thank you so much for sharing this Teresa! So very well said! I could not agree more! Praise our God who delivers and saves! I too have struggled with depression (only by God's grace, am I an overcomer) yet I have to stay in God's Word, filled by His Spirit and surround myself with godly people to stay strong. Beautiful response and application. I have also prayed for ever so much of my life, but particularly for my husband's salvation. (we are separated for 18 yrs. but I still do not stop praying for him)(we were married for 20 when we agreed to part). The stress and conflict weighed heavily on both of our health. I am so thankful that God is My Rock, Refuge, Hiding Place, Strong Tower, and so much more. I know that He is here and He is still at work. Thanks again for coming back and sharing this…it made it worth me coming back to read just this!!!

  6. Carolynmimi says:

    So much today has reminded me that recently Ibukun wrote of everyday bombings in her home in Nigeria. I promised to pray for her country and people and shared her story with others I know. Today's scripture reminds me that in the body of Christ around the world some are living in squalor, some in fear for their lives, some in broken relationships, some with ….well the list goes on. The world is broken and our brothers and sisters are suffering. It is time and this is the study to help us As scripturesque stated.. Let's tear down some strongholds and build some walls. Lord, don't let another tear fall down the cheek of a child without a response from the people of God.

  7. Sara says:

    I run an organization in my city and as someone who gets involved into the community I find you want more and more and when things get slow or calm down you feel disappointed or as though you aren’t doing enough. I do all I can to make sure God is my center of all we do. When we are all involved never forget this is the opportunity to share and show God’s love. We are all in this life together. Though it may be difficult at times I pray we all remember our center

  8. Jasmine says:

    I am in awe of God. Today I was off work and headed to my nail appointment which had been scheduled for the wrong time (throwing my day off). I randomly walked into another place slightly annoyed but the entire situation. But let me tell you how The Lord showed up and OUT! The young lady working on my nails suddenly stopped because she wasn’t feeling well. Later I found out that she had recently miscarried and was not only physically feeling the effects but both mentally/spiritually. This lady poured her heart out to me and cried in my arms. She’s old enough to be my mother…talk about a humbling experience. The fact that God allowed me and my attitude to walk into her shop and minister to her broken spirit truly amazes me. God did exactly what I prayed the night prior, he moved, broke us and is building us up for his GLORY! I’m so grateful! Bless your name Jesus

    1. Carolynmimi says:

      So glad you were chosen by God to be Jesus to that hurting lady.

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