The Old Testament figure Nehemiah was in a great position. Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king (Nehemiah 1:11). This position of cupbearer means that he was wine taster for King Artaxerxes. Monarchs of that day and age (and many since) were in a precarious position despite being powerful rulers. Their reigns could be cut short by a spiked goblet of Merlot. In a sense, wine that touched the lips of Artaxerxes would have to touch the lips of Nehemiah first. It would have been a position of great trust. It was also in the interest of Artaxerxes to keep Nehemiah healthy and cared for. He wouldn’t want any false alarms.
Nehemiah was in a comfortable position. Yet it was the visit of a relative named Hanani that disturbed Nehemiah to his very core. “The remnant in the province, who survived the exile, are in great trouble and disgrace. Jerusalem’s wall has been broken down, and its gates have been burned down” (Nehemiah 1:3, HCSB). Jerusalem had been sacked many years before. But some Jews had returned to resettle and rebuild. However, it appears that the efforts of those returnees has been thwarted. This news effected Nehemiah deeply.
Many people have asked, “Mark, why are you a Christian Apologist?” That is an interesting question. I am a Christian. I have a good job with a local company. My wife and I attend a Bible-believing Southern Baptist church. As Americans, we are quite comfortable with our situation. The future ahead seems positive.