Nehemiah 1:1-4 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
The account of Nehemiah is a great example of a person being called into ministry and the opposition that comes along with it. As the work increases and Nehemiah pursue the work at hand, so the opposition from the enemy also intensifies, for the enemy is not ecstatic about your calling, you’re wrong.
Nehemiah may have come from either a priestly or royal lineage based on a reading of Nehemiah 10:1-8. It’s possible that Nehemiah had never seen Jerusalem in person but had heard the accounts from his parents. Upon hearing the report of Hanani Nehemiah was overwhelmed with a burden for Jerusalem and the people. His reaction was to seek God through fasting and intercessory prayer for many days.
2 Kings 2:11-13 11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. 13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan.
Receiving the burden from God is like Elisha picking up the mantle that fell from Elijah, and he was carried away:
1. You’ve got to pick it up. Nehemiah didn’t have to pick up the burden for Jerusalem; he could have ignored it and gone on with life.
2. The mantle carries the weight of responsibility. God not only finishes what He starts, but He expects us to do the same.
3. The mantle has power. Not only does God call but he equips.
4. The mantle identifies you—“ And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,” (Eph 4:11)
When Nehemiah picked up the burden, he set the course for his life. What has God placed before you?