Nehemiah began with repentant prayer and soon the hand of God was upon him. It is much easier to see the effects of own's own sin and the sin of one's fathers when everything held holy lays in waste and it's defensive walls are burnt to the ground; easier when one is serving his captor hand to mouth. Too bad that it often has to come to this before we see our sin and it's consequence. The pattern of revival is always shown to begin with repentance, receiving the hand of God, and then the valor to stand against everything that opposes.
There is a good amount of information that we are left to assume about Nehemiah. That fact that a Hebrew, any Hebrew, would be trusted as a personal cup bearer in any foreign king's court says a wealth about Nehemiah's character and integrity. The fact that the king would grant such a request to a Hebrew at this particular time says much to the strength of their friendship. The fact that the king would trust Nehemiah's abilities as a leader of this project say's much about his apparent leadership abilities despite him being utilized up to this time as a cup bearer (and to provide him much of the resource?). Add to this the fact that several of the tribal leaders of Judah had enough confidence in Nehemiah to commit themselves and their own limited personal resources to this extremely dangerous and volatile objective, simply put Nehemiah must have been very well known and very well respected even before the hand of God came upon him in this bigger way. The remnant risked being outed in a irreversable way.
This is a very detailed prophecy. In 65 tears Ephraim/Israel shall be no more and not long after both Ephraim and Judah shall be without a king being first under the hand of Assyria. The fruitful land shall be over taken with flys and bees and become briers and thorns suitable only for cattle. Heads and beards and feet will be shaven in utter humiliation. During this era of captivity the messiah will born, His name, her virginity, His diet and distaste for evil all are revealed. Each and every piece of this prophecy has been completely fulfilled within a 675 year time span.
When the heat of affliction is on a congregation is pulled many unpredictable directions. One man alone cannot hold it all together. It benefits from previous study and training and relationship fostering and building, it is helped by preparations and establishment of others in their roles and armaments, but, in the end it just has to be given in it's entirety to God. The pastor must not rely on his own strength and resource, ego or pride in these times, he must rely as he did day one on the hand of His Lord.
The righteousness of Judah had nothing to do with their own righteousness but, of the Lord's choice, His covenant with them. His righteousness made their righteousness and this form of righteousness is much much different. In the same fashion, Judah's escape from their captivity to Babylon was not in their own hands, their Lord was going to use the Medes to break their bonds. It cannot then be said that it was the hand of Judah, nor even the hands of the Medes (not with the impossible impenetrable odds that the Medes were up against); only by the hand of God. The Lord has used Judah in this same fashion to break many a nation since and continues to use them today; a nation the rarely was a nation with an army the rarely was an army.
Seven years of burning nothing but weapons for fuel. A gathering of many birds and creeping things to eat on the carcasses. Seven months of flagging and burying the dead. A national effort by every citizen to cleanse the land. This would be an effective way of making yourself known again to your people. It would certainly lift the veil from their eyes. Imagine being in Israel at this time. Given the odds of the battle this sight would only be by the hand of God.
The emphasis of the word fear is not only on the sheer terror of this event but also on the reverence toward the controller of of such uncontrollable elements. That this happened in the manner that it happened for the people who were in this moment could only have been the hand of God. For us who now read of this event there is intellectual wiggle room and physical detachment from these occurrences that these many witnesses were not privy to. It is interesting to see how in the coming hours/days how this fear/reverence too wore down; a testament to the tendencies of the self justifying human reprobate will.
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