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Sunday, September 14 2014
Nehemiah 1: Nehemiah's Prayer From Shushan
"I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam"
Shushan, also known as Susa (Bible translations render the city name as either Shushan or Susa) was a capital of Elam, in what is today western Iran, about 150 miles north of the Persian Gulf. The city of Shushan / Susa, or more specifically, the royal palace there, is known to Bible history in relation to the accounts of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:1), Esther (Esther 2:8 and see Esther: The Lots Of Purim) and Daniel (Daniel 8:2 and see The Prophet Daniel: The Ram and The He Goat).
The return of the people of Judah to Jerusalem (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Return Of Judah) began with the work of Zerubbabel (see Zerubbabel's Return). Nehemiah was still in Persia when he heard the first reports of the state of Jerusalem, as it had been left by the Babylonians seventy years earlier ("the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire") and the opposition that the pioneers faced (see The Temple Obstruction).
"1:1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.
Nehemiah "was the king's cupbearer." It was a servant's role, but also one of great trust and respect - those who were able to serve a king were also able to get close enough to kill a king (as happened numerous times throughout history). Nehemiah was also a devout man of the LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God) who knew how to pray, and what to pray for (see the Fact Finder question below).
"1:4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
Fact Finder: What do the Holy Scriptures teach about prayer?
This Day In History, September 14
81: Domitian became the 11th Roman emperor (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). He reigned (81-96 AD) during the time that the then elderly apostle John was given to write the book of Revelation (see Revelation: Thy Kingdom Come). Domitian succeeded his brother Titus who oversaw the prophesied destruction of Jerusalem in 70 (see A History Of Jerusalem: Titus And The Zealots and What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?).
629: Byzantine Emperor Heraclius entered Constantinople after his victory over the Persian Empire.
1180: The Battle of Ishibashiyama in Japan.
1262: Cadiz, Spain, was captured by Alfonso X of Castille, ending a 500-year occupation of the city by the Moors.
1741: The German-born English composer George Frederick Handel finished his "Messiah" oratorio, after working on it non-stop for 23 days.
1812: During the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon's invasion of Russia reached Moscow to find that the entire city had been abandoned and set on fire by retreating Russian forces.
1829: The Russo-Turkish War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Adrianople between the Ottomans and the Russians (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1854: British and French forces landed in the Crimea to fight the Russians, who had started the Crimean War with their invasion of Turkey in July 1853.
1901: U.S. President William McKinley died at age 58, a week after being hit by an assassin's bullet while standing in a reception line in Buffalo, New York. McKinley was one of many U.S. Presidents who did not survive their elected office (historically, the greatest danger for U.S. Presidents hasn't been foreign enemies, but their own people). In 1989, Ronald Reagan broke what some called the "year zero curse" when he became the first U.S. President since 1840, who won a Presidential election in a year ending in a zero, to leave office alive (although not without incident - Mr. Reagan was very seriously wounded in an assassination attempt in March of 1981):
1917: After the communist revolution that overthrew the Czar (the term used for the Russian king, which was derived from the Roman "Caesar"), Russia was proclaimed a republic by the victorious rebels.
1939: The first functional helicopter, Russian-born Igor Sikorsky's VS-300, made its first flight.
1944: Belgium, Luxembourg and part of Holland were liberated from Nazi occupation by U.S., British and Canadian troops.
1948: Construction of the United Nations buildings in New York began.
1959: The Soviet Union's unmanned Luna-2 became the first man-made spacecraft to land on the Moon.
1960: Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia formed OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
1982: Bashir Gemayel, President-elect of Lebanon, was assassinated by a bomb while speaking before a Maronite women's group. The explosive device, which was set by a pro-Syrian dissident, demolished the building and killed dozens of other people.
2001: A "National Prayer Service" was held at the Washington National Cathedral for victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. A service was also held on Parliament Hill in Canada, the largest such service in Canada's capital. When George W. Bush abruptly closed U.S. airspace on September 11, threatening to arbitrarily shoot down any domestic or foreign aircraft that entered U.S. airspace, U.S. bound aircraft already in flight over the Atlantic and Pacific, carrying thousands of passengers, with insufficient fuel to turn around, landed safely at numerous airports in Canada.