Resettling Our Refugee Brethren - Nehemiah’s Desire, Prayer, Faith and Action.

To encourage the brotherhood to attempt the daunting task of resettling our brethren in refugee camps, examples have been shown, as in the previous issue, of how God empowered the efforts of those, who against overwhelming odds, used what was available to them to carry out His will and His desires. Nehemiah shows how interest and concern for the afflicted prompted diligent follow-up action for a resolution, while also revealing God’s intervention in accomplishing what they could not. This is a pointer for us in our own pressing situation.

Nehemiah’s Great Interest and Concern: Ch. 1:2 - Clearly Nehemiah was not just enjoying a comfortable position and lifestyle in his secure job in the royal palace regardless of the distress of his brethren and the city of Jerusalem . In his all-consuming interest, and pressing priority he sought every opportunity to get information to facilitate urgent action.

The Grim Report Communicated to Nehemiah Upon His Enquiry: “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” (ch1: 3).

Nehemiah’s Reaction: “when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,” (ch. 1:4). In vs. 7, he aligns himself with his brethren’s sinfulness and consequent suffering, even though he was then in a relatively comfortable position, as he prayed for them day and night. In vs. 10 he calls to remembrance the fact that they were God’s servants and people whom He had redeemed by His power and strong hand, just as our refugee brethren are.

Nehemiah’s and His companions’ Mindset in Their Approach: Their desire to fear God’s name (vs. 11) was the basis upon which he prayed for prosperity in their effort, overcoming his first formidable obstacle – seeking release from the demanding and indispensable nature of his position in his service to the king - “…grant mercy in the sight of this man” – an indication of how Nehemiah saw the king in his limited mortality in relation to the supremacy of his God in whose hand he was placing his problem. Should we not similarly view our situation?

Nehemiah already had a detailed Plan: ch. 2: 5 – 8: The object of his mission, a time frame for its completion, acquiring the necessary authority from the King for his transportation, also for the materials required for his undertaking. Vs. 8 – God responded to his prayer of faith –“And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me”.

Nehemiah’s Constant Communication Throughout: “neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem :” (vs. 12). He sought and obtained direction from God for this massive undertaking. Vs. 18: At Nehemiah’s disclosure - 18 “Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.” Chs. 3 and 4 show the togetherness with which they worked and vs. 6 of ch. 4 - 6 “So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.”, also ch. 6: 15 “So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.” – all dependant on God.

1 Corinthians 10: 11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” Let us therefore take courage, and arise to this great mission.

UNHCR Refugee Statistics:

The UN's High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) released its annual global report, Global Trends, (2010) - which shows the highest numbers of displaced people worldwide since the 1990s. This means there are now 43.3m people forcibly displaced around the world - including: 27.1m internally displaced people (IDP) and 15.6m refugees.

Those refugee numbers have dropped a negligible amount, but a 4% rise in people displaced within their own country and a huge fall in returning refugees - to the lowest level in 20 years - means overall numbers are up.

Sis Esther Worrell (Canada)

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