As the United States and the rest of the world struggle to revive the faltering economy, I have been pondering many inspiring lessons from two Bible accounts. The first one is the experience of Nehemiah recorded in the Old Testament (see Nehemiah, chapters 1—13). Serving in an official position as cupbearer to the king, Nehemiah learns of the distress of his countrymen in Jerusalem, who have been left vulnerable because of the ruin of their city and its surrounding walls. When the king notices his sadness and asks him the cause, Nehemiah tells of his concern for his people and asks permission to go to Jerusalem so he can help with the rebuilding. The king not only grants his request but gives Nehemiah everything he needs to get the job done.
While most of us don’t hold positions of great power in government or business, there is something we can do to support the efforts of those who do as they work to put the pieces of our economy back together in a way that will be beneficial to all. With the kind of selfless dedication expressed by Nehemiah, we can, through turning to God in prayer, contribute to the revival of our economy.
The first thing Nehemiah did after returning to Jerusalem was to fast and pray. The spiritual sense of fasting suggests that he turned from the evidence before his material senses, which reported destruction and loss, and prayerfully turned in thought to what his spiritual sense was communicating to him of God as the permanent and stable substance of all that really is. This approach enabled him to succeed in his mission.