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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).

Shushan Susa

"1:1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.

And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, 1:2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah;

And I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

1:3 And they said unto me,

The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire." (Nehemiah 1:1-3 KJV)

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,

1:5 And said,

I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: 1:6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned. 1:7 We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.

1:8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:

1:9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.

1:10 Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.

1:11 O Lord, I beseech thee, 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.

For I was the king's cupbearer." (Nehemiah 1:4-11 KJV)

Fact Finder: What do the Holy Scriptures teach about prayer?
See How to Pray: 12 Biblical Principles Of Personal Prayer


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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.

1752: Along with most of the rest of the world, Britain and its worldwide colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar (see Pope Gregory's Calendar; also The Blasphemy Calendar).

Napoleon's Retreat From Russia 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):
1960: John F. Kennedy, assassinated
1940: Franklin D. Roosevelt, natural causes
1920: Warren Harding, natural causes
1900: William McKinley, assassinated
1880: James Garfield, assassinated
1860: Abraham Lincoln, assassinated
1840: William Harrison, natural causes

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.


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