Nehemiah 5:14: “Moreover, from the time that I [Nehemiah] was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the governor’s provisions.”

August 5th, 2020 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Nehemiah was governor of Jerusalem for 12 years before he returned to his post as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes in Persia. It only took 3 months for him to complete the rebuilding of the wall, but he stayed 12 more years to make sure that the spiritual rebuilding of the people was going on as well.

Nehemiah was a man of character, who understood clearly the principles of God’s kingdom. Chapter 5 tells how Nehemiah stopped the people from collecting interest from their fellow Israelites who were struggling to survive, a practice forbidden in Deuteronomy 23:19–20. Nehemiah also tells that he was careful not to personally profit off the people while governor. He didn’t even collect the governor’s allowance for food, as the governors before him had, because he knew it would be too much of a burden on the people.

Nehemiah never heard Jesus’ words in his lifetime, but he certainly practiced them: “And [Jesus] sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all’” (Mark 9:35). We notice that Jesus didn’t say there was anything wrong with the disciples’ desire to be great in His kingdom, but merely that the true method of acquiring that greatness was the exact opposite of the world’s way and the way they had been arguing and thinking about it. Nehemiah became great by being a servant to all. We should aspire to greatness, but not the kind of greatness the world promotes. We need to look to someone like Nehemiah as our example. He had fame and great influence, all the potential trappings of power, but his ambition was to serve his brother and to be great in the eyes of his Lord.

“LORD, put us in the right place, at the right time, with the right attitude of heart to be used by You this day.”