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