Book Review


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Nehemiah, a Man of Prayer and Courage is a true story about a man named Nehemiah (cupbearer to Artaxerxes I of Persia) who eventually became one of the most inspiring and authoritative leaders ever mentioned in the Bible.

Nehemiah was a man of prayer, for prayer was an integral part of his ordinary living and working. Nehemiah displayed courage in the face of great adversity; and he manifested genuine concern for the welfare of his people - the people of Israel. He exhibited keen foresight in all of his endeavors, yet displayed extreme caution when necessary like when he stayed in Jerusalem for an extra three days.

Nehemiah was essentially a man of clear decision; he did not procrastinate. He possessed the quality of empathy, for he was willing to lend an understanding and a sympathetic ear to problems and grievances of the people. Nehemiah's decisions were characterized by strict impartiality, for he showed no respect for persons, even the nobles. Nehemiah accepted all the responsibility given to him and exhibited a healthy realism by praying and setting watch day and night.

When the city of Jerusalem was destroyed, Nehemiah was broken-hearted and prayed that God would let him have Artaxerxes' (King of Persia) permission to leave the palace in Shushan and return to Jerusalem to restore the walls which were destroyed by the Babylonians. Nehemiah loved the Jews, cared for them, and was concerned for their safety and well-being.

Although Nehemiah was a man of deep piety, prayer, and courage; he still faced all kinds of opposition when he began to undertake this massive rebuilding project. He faced mockery from two menacing foreigners named Sanballat and Tobiah, yet he still displayed a pleasant attitude toward this organized opposition. Day and night, Sanballat and the Ammonites conspired to stop Nehemiah from completing this massive rebuilding project, yet Nehemiah would press forward and continue to lead his people in the rebuilding process until the wall would eventually be completed 52 days later. Nehemiah would eventually go on to serve as governor of Jerusalem and institute social and political reforms including the repopulation of Jerusalem and the elimination of charging interest on loans.

Although Nehemiah is primarily known as the man who rebuilt the wall in Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity, it is important not to overlook this man's outstanding character. Nehemiah was a man of impeccable integrity. He kept high standards, and he never settled for second best. Nehemiah possessed amazing organizational ability, effectively delegated responsibility to the Jewish people, and raised the morale of his colleagues in the process. Nehemiah was generous in appreciation and encouragement; yet he dealt promptly with the potential cause of weakness in his people. Most important of all, Nehemiah restored the authority of the Word of God back to the Jewish people.

As you can see, Nehemiah displayed amazing character, exhibited tremendous faith in God, and was a mighty leader. Nehemiah was truly an important instrument used by God in Biblical times.

-- Written by David H. Boshart, Jr.

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