Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah - Session 6

Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah - Session 6

Scripture: Nehemiah 2:1-8, 17-18
Sermon: Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah - Week 6

Scripture: Nehemiah 2:1-8, 17-18
Sermon: Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah - Week 6

In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,  when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart."

I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, "May the king live forever!  Why should my face not look sad when the city  where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire? "

The king said to me, "What is it you want?"

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, "If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it."

Then the king , with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, "How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?" It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.

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 for 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.

Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire.  Come, let us rebuild the wall  of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace. " I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me  and what the king had said to me.

They replied, "Let us start rebuilding." So they began this good work.

-Nehemiah 2:1-8, 17-18


By Jesse Campbell

I was overwhelmed with fear and replied to the king, 'May the king live forever! Why should I not be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?' Then, the king asked me, 'What is your request?'" -Nehemiah 2:2b-4
Artaxerxes was a pagan king who was under no obligation to ask anyone the question, "What is your request?" Nehemiah was a cupbearer. His job was to hold the king's cup. He was a professional coffee table. He certainly had no business, in the worldly sense, making demands to a king. Yet, king Artaxerxes here asks liquid container support engineer Nehemiah what he wants. God is sovereign over the pagan king and the pagan king clearly has great respect and affection for the believer Nehemiah. I wonder how Artaxerxes saw Nehemiah's faith. We can see from the text that Nehemiah was forthright with his passionate beliefs while also being respectful to Artaxerxes ("May the king live forever...") and that God's will is realized through this relationship between a pagan ruler and his believing cupbearer.

Take to heart this week the rapport that Nehemiah has with Artaxerxes. Artaxerxes is genuinely concerned for Nehemiah's emotional well-being according to verses 1 and 2 and Nehemiah leaves no stone un-turned in making his requests to the king according to verses 5, 7, and 8. This fascinating relationship are fascinating examples of Romans 13:7, Colossians 4:5, Romans 13:1, and John19:11 at work.