August 16: Gathering and Return of the Jewish People

God had promised the Jewish people that their exile to Babylon would last seventy years.  Exactly seventy years later, the first group of captives returned to Jerusalem and began the rebuilding of the wall and the Temple.  A second group soon followed.

But their work of restoration was going slowly.

When Nehemiah who was still in Babylon heard about the trouble he immediately turned to God in repentance and prayer.

Soon Nehemiah received permission AND provision from the king to lead a third and final group back to Israel.  God’s promise was fulfilled.  Despite opposition the walls were soon completed and worship resumed.



Nehemiah 1:5-11

And I said: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned.

We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.

Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’

Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand.

O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy…

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