Simply the Bible Blog

Daily Devotion and Podcast

Bad News

“They said to me, ‘Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.’” (Nehemiah 1.3)

Bad news is nothing new. From the dawn of creation tragedy has plagued the human family. Adam ate the forbidden fruit and was banished from Eden. Because of jealousy, Cain murdered his younger brother Abel. Pain, suffering and death have marred the creation God once called “good”. We want to blame God, but the fault so often lies at our own door.

Nehemiah was serving as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes in Persia, but one hundred fifty years earlier, Jerusalem had been destroyed and the people deported to Babylon. After the Babylonians were defeated by the Medes and Persians, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple, but only a fraction went. After nearly a century, the walls were still in ruins, leaving the city vulnerable to attack and the people in disgrace.

We have no control over bad things that hit us from the outside. The Bible talks about the “evil day”, and as much as we would like to “X” such days off the calendar, we aren’t given that option. A person is tested by how he or she responds. Do we respond in faith or frustration? Do we trust God to bring good from it or worry that He won’t? A common response to bad news is apathy. “Oh, that’s too bad.” But do we do anything about it?

Nehemiah would be mightily used of God because he didn’t just sigh over the bad news, he let it penetrate his heart to form compassion. This would cost Nehemiah more than he could imagine, but it was also the path of glory. While others stood around grieving and doing nothing, Nehemiah mourned and brought it to God.

What bad news have we received lately? What would Jesus do? What will we do?

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