The Heart of God – By Reverend Lawrence Patterson
“When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven,” Nehemiah 1:4.
For some time now, I have been meditating on the revelation which the book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament provides, and while all 13 chapters are loaded, one particular verse resonated with my spirit in the beginning.
In verse 4 of Chapter one, when Nehemiah learned his brethren that survived the captivity had been grossly impacted and their land which once served as the City of God (Daniel 9:19) was burned and turned into a heap of rubble, he “sat down and wept.” He then went on to say that “For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed.”
The statement was a reverberation of what Jesus did in John 11:35, when he recorded “Jesus Wept”. This is the shortest scripture in the bible, but it packs a powerful punch. After speaking with Lazarus’s grieving sisters, Martha and Mary, and seeing all the mourners, Jesus was moved to tears, which demonstrated His compassion for suffering, the results of sin and the cost of redemption; the true Heart of God!
With Nehemiah, while he was living in the comfortable conditions of the Kings palace (Nehemiah 1:1), he did not choose to look the other way when the matters of his kindred and land were brought to his attention, but he demonstrated a heart towards the things that matter most to God, and that’s people!
Today, while our nation has the reputation of being the hallmark of liberty and opportunity, when I turn on the news, I am bombarded with political upheaval, racial divide, high crime, lawlessness and immense marginalization. It would be impossible to turn a blinded eye or deaf ear and not hear the real cries of all people. I hear the voices echoing “Where is our modern day Nehemiah, who and what institution will galvanize the community, and what is the Church doing?”
I strongly believe something has to happen if we want a fresh move of God, compassion and courage has to come forward if we want to see sustaining change. While I thank God for relief and social organizations, I still believe if the Church would take a collective stance like Nehemiah, we would receive divine instructions and be more than a building taking up a block in the community but a movement on a mission to reach, teach and rebuild a community.
Action: Mediate on these few scriptures (1 John 4:11, Ephesians 4:3; Acts 2:42), adopt a community to pray for and then seek God for ways to rebuild hope in the lives of people where your influence matters the most. Hebrews 6:10, say’s “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”