Put Me in Remembrance of My word
Nehemiah, like Ezra, was in exile in Babylon. Although he led a comfortable life in the court of King Artaxerxes and served as the king’s cup bearer (a position of great trust) his heart was for Jerusalem. One day he enquired about the condition of the city from a colleague who had just returned from Jerusalem. The news was not good: the exiles who had returned to rebuild the city were facing great difficulty, the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and its gates had been burned.
“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” NIV
Nehemiah was heartbroken. Like other Jews in exile, he lived with the hope of some day returning to the city of David according to the promise that God had given through the prophet Jeremiah.
Bad news can really hits hard. It comes without warning. One day all is well and we have hope in our hearts and then right the next day bad news hits like a bolt out of the blue. It is not hard to understand Nehemiah’s great sadness.
But Nehemiah didn’t just stop at the sadness. He did not fall into depression or abandon hope. Instead he determined in his heart that he would take it up with God. He fasted and prayed and then He went to God and said: Lord, do you remember that you promised (Deuteronomy 30:2-3) that if your people repented of their sinful ways, you would gather them up and bring them back to Jerusalem? Well now Lord, I repent for the sin of my people. Forgive us and take us back to Jerusalem.
He put God in remembrance of His promise and held God to His word. And God heard His cry. Nehemiah found great favor with the king who not only gave Nehemiah permission to return to Jerusalem but gave him all he needed to rebuild the walls of the city.
In Isaiah 43:26 (KJV) the Lord says, “Put me in remembrance…” In other words: remind Me of what I have said. Not because He forgets, but because He wants us to remember what He has promised and stand on it. It is an act of faith to put God in remembrance of His promise.
Let me encourage you then: when the bad report comes, when you find yourself in a difficult situation, in trying times, put God in remembrance of His word, His promise. God, in His graciousness and mercy, has made many, many promises to us for every situation that we can possibly face. And there’s a promise just made for the situation you are in right now.
Don’t be overwhelmed by your situation. Don’t despair. Turn your face to God. Put Him in remembrance of His word. The God who answered Nehemiah stills reigns and rules. He still answers prayers and shows Himself strong to those who call on His name.