Words of Hope Daily Devotional

The Words of Hope Devotional is a non-profit, donor-supported publication whose goal is to encourage readers to grow in faith through the practice of daily Bible reading and prayer. The devotional is available in your email, in print, and as an app in Google Play and the App Store.

A Persistent Leader

Read: Nehemiah 6:1-15

And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” (v. 3)

Near the end of his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul encourages the believers to “be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (16:13). Nehemiah is one of the Old Testament’s best examples of what that means: his resolute faith and courage in the face of opposition were unwavering. Jerusalem’s enemies were persistent, but Nehemiah was more persistent in his goal to rebuild the walls.

As the work neared completion, Sanballat, Tobiah, and the others continued to try to thwart it. Pretending a desire to negotiate, they invited Nehemiah to meet them away from the city. Nehemiah refused to give them the time of day. “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down,” was his only response to them. When they threatened to tell the king that he was leading a rebellion, he was not intimidated. (He knew the king personally, after all!) Finally, they hired someone to tell him that assassins were coming for him, and his only recourse was to hide in the temple. But Nehemiah wasn’t a Levite; entering the temple would be cowardly and even sinful for him. Once again, Nehemiah was neither frightened nor shaken in his purpose. He was strong and stood firm in the faith.

The end result? The wall was completed in a miraculous 52 days! Nehemiah never doubted God would be faithful among the ruins. And then, suddenly, the ruins were no more. —Laura N. Sweet

As you pray, ask for strength to stand firm in the faith.

About the Author

Laura N. Sweet is a wife, mother, grandmother, and former Christian schoolteacher from Midland, Michigan. She writes devotional material for both adults and children, and her work has appeared in more than a dozen publications.

A Persistent Enemy

Read: Nehemiah 4:1-16 Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome. (v. 14) Finally, some progress! The Jews in Jerusalem now had an effective leader in Nehemiah and a workforce of volunteers. They had a

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A Purpose Shared

Read: Nehemiah 3:1-12 Next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, repaired, and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. (v. 8) So many names! In this section of Nehemiah 3, there are at least 18 specifically named individuals

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A Program to Rebuild

Read: Nehemiah 2:11-20 And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. (v. 18) In Nehemiah 1, we read that Nehemiah’s brother Hanani had reported that the exiles were “in great trouble

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A Plan for Repair

Read: Nehemiah 2:1-10 The king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me. (v. 8) Have you ever asked God for an “open door”? Paul wrote about God opening “a door” for the message

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A Prayer from Nehemiah

Read: Nehemiah 1 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant. (v. 11) The book of Nehemiah is really the first-person memoirs of Nehemiah himself—a contemporary of Ezra the priest. The events of chapter 1 took

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A Penitent Population

Read: Ezra 10:1-15 We have broken faith with our God . . . but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. (v. 2) When you drive past the rescue mission in my hometown, you see one word prominently displayed

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A Prayer of Confession

Read: Ezra 9 As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled. (v. 3) The book of Ezra suddenly gets very personal! This section is written

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A Priest’s Arrival

Read: Ezra 7:1-10 Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes. (v. 10) Eighty years after the first group of exiles had arrived to rebuild and resettle Jerusalem,

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A Passover Observed

Read: Ezra 6:13-22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful. (v. 22) Seventy years after Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, the new temple (called “Zerubbabel’s temple” by

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