Ellen G. White Writings

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Christ Triumphant, Page 182

Position Does Not Preclude the Need for Prayer, June 24

Let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. Nehemiah 1:11.

Nehemiah, the Hebrew exile, occupied a position of influence and honor in the Persian court. As cupbearer of the king, he was admitted to the royal presence, and by virtue of this intimacy and his own high abilities and tried fidelity, he became the monarch's counselor. He was a man of high principle, unbending integrity, and great sagacity.

In that heathen land, surrounded by royal pomp and splendor, Nehemiah did not forget the God of his fathers or the people who had been entrusted with the holy oracles. The dignity of his position did not rob him of his piety or his love for his brethren.... He was not ashamed to own his relationship to them and to the truth. He felt that he must honor the truth in all places. He did not make apology for holding a faith distinct from the faith of those in the Persian court....

Days of peculiar trial and affliction had come to the chosen city. Messengers from Judah described to Nehemiah its condition. The second temple had been reared, and portions of the city rebuilt, but its prosperity was impeded, the temple service disturbed, and the people kept in constant alarm by the fact that its walls were still in ruins and its gates burned with fire. The capital of Judah was fast becoming a desolate place, and the few inhabitants remaining were deeply embittered by the taunts of their idolatrous assailants, “Where is your God?”

The soul of the Hebrew patriot was overwhelmed by these evil tidings. So great was his sorrow that he could not eat or drink; he “wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted.” But when the first outburst of his grief was over, he turned in his affliction to the sure Helper. The record says that he “prayed before the God of heaven.” He unburdened his heart to God. He knew that the affliction that had come upon Israel was the result of her transgression, and with deep humiliation he came before God to ask for pardon and a renewal of the divine favor. Faithfully he makes confession of his sins and the sins of his people.

Taking hold by faith of the divine promise, Nehemiah lays down at the footstool of heavenly mercy his petition that God would maintain the cause of his penitent people, restore their strength, and build up their waste places.—Manuscript 58, 1903.

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