The Account of Nehemiah: God’s Influence in the Palace

Nehemiah’s Position Blesses a Pagan King

Nehemiah was a palace worker. He wasn’t a high-ranking official or anything. However, he was in the palace. He was the Persian King Artaxerxes’ cupbearer. Nehemiah favored this pagan king.

Because of God’s favor on Nehemiah, this pagan king granted him permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city walls. If you study the chronological version of the Bible, you will notice that the book of Esther came before the book of Nehemiah.

When we examine the event in which Nehemiah asked for permission, we notice an essential presence. “Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, ‘How long will your journey take, and when will you return?” the Bible says. ‘It pleased the king to dispatch me, so I set a time’ (Nehemiah 2:6, emphasis added).

Who was this mysterious queen? Esther was this queen. We can see her influence even after she has saved the Jewish nation. She was elevated to a prominent position to protect the Jewish people for the Lord.

Nehemiah’s Influence Carries Out God’s Plans

Nehemiah was at ease in the palace. He had the king’s approval. What more could he want? Why did he have to be concerned about reconstructing Jerusalem’s walls? Why should he be concerned?

Nehemiah cared because he knew he couldn’t afford to stay in his comfort zone. According to the Bible, he wept when he heard about the state of Jerusalem. He was not only emotionally troubled. He did something about his feelings. What was his first action? The Bible said, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days, I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:4).  

Nehemiah was concerned because he understood his proper role. It was not to be the pagan king’s cupbearer. He was an insider to God. Nehemiah used his clout in the palace to kickstart rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls.

What can you do in your workplace?

Are you satisfied with your position in the political system? Perhaps,  you are afraid to ruffle some feathers in the name of the Lord.  Are you afraid to leave your comfort zone?

Nehemiah was the man God chose for this project. He felt called to do this project and was determined to see it through. He bravely requested permission from the king to carry out God’s will. Nehemiah asked that God act on his behalf, which He did.

I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe conduct until I arrive in Judah? And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me. (Nehemiah 2:7-9, emphasis added) 

We see how God places his people in the palace to influence something significant in the stories of Obadiah, Esther, and Nehemiah. The palace is the seat of power. The palace serves as a focal point for protection and control.

Obadiah’s job was to guard the prophets. Esther’s role was to safeguard the Jewish people. The role of Nehemiah was to protect Jerusalem’s future. What is God asking you to guard?

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