“‘They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.’
I was the cupbearer to the king.”
Last time Nehemiah asked God to remember the promise He made to His people: if they bodyguard and accomplish His commands, He would bring them Home to the place His Name dwells. Today we conclude Nehemiah’s prayer.
“God, we are your slaves ransomed by Your vast power and fierce ability alongside us. Adonai, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant and of your servants who take pleasure in revering Your Name.
Such goodness in the wording. I particularly love how Nehemiah recounts the way God ransomed His people: by His chazaq yad – mighty hand. Chazaq can mean fierce, stubborn, stalwart. Yad (hand) translates to authority, care, ability, alongside. Entrust.
Oh yes, we can trust Him. Even (especially?) when things feel upside down. My Word this morning was Romans 8:18: “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.”
And we suffer here, don’t we? It is not all tiny, it’s simply tiny in comparison to what lies ahead. Glory, the masterpiece of a tapestry He’s weaving all over the world in people’s hearts. More than we could ever ask or imagine among those who take pleasure in revering His Name; who want to make Him famous. His stubborn, fierce authority and care and ability alongside of us is enough to make it. Oh yes, in the meantime we groan. But He makes it all worth something. And He really can be trusted.
We also finally see Nehemiah’s role in the king’s court: a cupbearer. The priority task in this role was to taste the wine before the king to ensure it wasn’t poisoned. While that might seem a menial job, as we will see later, it was one that held much trust and esteem with the king. Nehemiah saw him daily and clearly had his ear.
The Hebrew in Nehemiah’s prayer for mercy before this king is tender. “Grant me success by giving me deep compassion before the face of the king.” Surely that’s what mercy is, that mercy that is new every morning, giving us a fresh start.
When I pray for our family to have tender hearts toward God and people, I haven’t thought much about how that prayer is simply a request for our hearts to be more like His. Tender, deep compassion. So tender God can grant it to a pagan king on behalf of a people he likely never thinks about.