Lent Devotional: Nehemiah 1:5-11

by Jonathan Haefs

Nehemiah 1:5-11 (click here to read the entire passage)
“O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Now I was cupbearer to the king. (Nehemiah 1:11)

Who rules the world?

It is so easy to have our vision filled by the actions of world powers and leaders, headlines and newsfeeds, etc. It is so easy to become convinced that our world is ruled by anyone but God.


I mean, we do believe that the triune God sovereignly rules over all. Scripture testifies to this reality from cover to cover. So why in our day to day do we struggle to see and believe that his sovereign hand is at work?

By all accounts, the prophet Nehemiah should have had the same struggle that our hearts experience.

Nehemiah was cupbearer to king Artaxerxes… ruler of the Persian empire… which at that time basically meant ruler of the world.

Nehemiah’s vision was filled by the actions of the world power and the world leader every moment of every day. He practically lived the headlines. His life was the news feed. And yet, when he hears the news the Jerusalem’s walls are broken down, he does not first run to his master the king… or does he?

Nehemiah turns to his true, sovereign King in prayer!

All you have to do is look at what Nehemiah calls himself in relation to the Lord… he constantly calls himself God’s servant! He may have been king Artaxerxes servant, but in a truer, deeper way he was a servant of the true sovereign king of the universe!

Given his day to day reality, how in the world was Nehemiah about to see and believe that the sovereign hand of God was at work?

Part of the answer has to be prayer!

Nehemiah’s knee jerk reaction was not to kneel before king Artaxerxes but to first kneel before the Lord as his true King. Where your knees get used to kneeling is where your heart will find its king!

If we daily “kneel” before our newsfeeds, setting our eyes solely on the actions of world leaders, then our hearts will absolutely struggle to believe that our sovereign God is the one who actually rules the world.

But, if we bring everything we see in our newsfeeds before our God in prayer… if we kneel before him day after day… then we will be training our hearts on where to find the true King over all! We will be training our hearts in who to trust! We will be teaching our hearts to see true reality!

Who rules the world?

How you answer that depends on where you kneel.

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.