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Tag: Nehemiah

Lessons On God’s Work

Well, this is our final week of looking at Nehemiah. We’ve seen how God led Nehemiah to return to Judah from exile to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. We’ve also seen how Nehemiah faced great opposition, but persevered in spite of it. Now today we are going to look at just two verses to wrap it all up. But I should mention that this isn’t the end of the story of Nehemiah. In fact, we’re not even half-way through. There is lots more to the story and many more things that can be learned, so I would encourage you to read through the rest of Nehemiah.

But for today, we are going to look at two verse in chapter 6, verse 15 & 16:
So on October 2nd the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.

From these two verses we can draw four principles that we can learn about God’s work.

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Satan’s Tactics: Discouragement, Distractions, & Down-Right Sin

This is our fourth week of looking at Nehemiah and how he led the people of Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls after 70 years of exile. It’s been very interesting (for me anyway) to read through this story and discover what principles we can apply to our situation here.

And I’m very excited to share with you the next part of the story. It’s my favorite part and I think the lessons that we learn from it are very applicable to everyone here. So let’s jump right into it.

Nehemiah 4:1-3
Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, 2 saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?”

3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!”

God put it on Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild the wall, God moved the king as to allow Nehemiah to go back to Jerusalem, and God put everything into place so that the walls of Jerusalem can be rebuilt for the His glory. So what does Satan do? He tries to stop it. Doesn’t Satan work the same way today? When God is doing something, Satan tries to get in the way. And he uses the same tactics back then as he does today too. So we are going to look at three of Satan’s tactics to stop God’s work. The first tactic he employs is discouragement.

Table of contents for Nehemiah

  1. Weeping for the Lost
  2. Principles of Preparation
  3. The Work Begins
  4. Satan’s Tactics: Discouragement, Distractions, & Down-Right Sin
  5. Lessons On God’s Work
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The Work Begins

For the past two weeks, we’ve been looking a Nehemiah. Just to recap, Nehemiah was the cup-bearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia around 500 BC. He was a Jew who had been living in exile probably all of his life. Other Jews had earlier been allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, but rest of the city was in ruins. When Nehemiah heard about this, God laid it on his heart to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. He asked the king for permission to go, and through the sovereignty of God, he was allowed.

As we’ve been talking about Nehemiah wanting to build the walls of Jerusalem, we’ve been applying those principles to us wanting to build the church.

Now Nehemiah is in Jerusalem, so let’s read what happens.
Nehemiah 2:11-16
11 So I arrived in Jerusalem. Three days later, 12 I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. We took no pack animals with us except the donkey I was riding. 13 After dark I went out through the Valley Gate, past the Jackal’s Well, and over to the Dung Gate to inspect the broken walls and burned gates. 14 Then I went to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but my donkey couldn’t get through the rubble. 15 So, though it was still dark, I went up the Kidron Valley instead, inspecting the wall before I turned back and entered again at the Valley Gate.

Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem, takes three days to rest from his long journey, and then goes out at night with a handful of people to inspect the walls.

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Principles of Preparation

When we left Nehemiah last Sunday – he was weeping and mourning and fasting and praying to God because he heard about the terrible state of his countrymen back in Jerusalem. After many years of exile, some of the Jews had returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple, but the city was in ruins, the walls had been torn down and the gates had been burned.

We also talked about our countrymen, right here in our community, living in the ruins so to speak – living lives apart from God. And I trust that God has, and will continue to fill your heart with compassion and concern for the lost in our community, because until we feel the same way God does about our friends and neighbors, (that is with great love and compassion) things aren’t going to change for them. They’re going to stay living in the ruins.

But today as we continue to look at the life of Nehemiah, we’re going to see how he begins to take action. And through that, hopefully we can learn a few principles for us to follow in reaching our community for Christ.

Nehemiah 1:5-11 & 2:1-9

The first thing I want you to notice is the time of year. If you remember from last week, it was late autumn when Nehemiah got the report about the broken walls, but when is it when he talks to the king about going back to Jerusalem? Early spring. What did he do all winter?

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Weeping for the Lost

Today we begin a new series of messages from the Book of Nehemiah. I’m guessing that most of you wouldn’t list Nehemiah in your top five favorite books of the Bible, and in fact, there could be some of you who couldn’t even tell me who Nehemiah was. So before we take a look at the Scriptures for today, I want to give you just a brief history and background of Nehemiah.

After the time of Solomon, the nation of Israel was divided into two kingdoms. The northern part with 10 of the 12 tribes kept the name Israel. The southern part with 2 of the 12 tribes was known as Judah. Jerusalem, the capital and the location of the Solomon’s temple, was part of the kingdom of Judah.

All of the kings of Israel were evil. Because of their continued sinfulness, God allowed the Assyrians to invade and defeated Israel. The people were deported and scattered over the face of the earth – never to return.

Judah had some good kings, but the majority were evil. Because of their continued sinfulness, God allowed the Babylonians to attack and defeat Judah. They destroyed Jerusalem, including the temple, and deported many of the people to Babylon. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were among those who were deported.

Seventy years later, the king of Persia (who had since conquered the Babylonians), allowed several groups of Jews to return to Judah to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

The story of Nehemiah picks up about 95 years after the Jews are allowed to return to Jerusalem. The temple has been rebuilt, but the rest of Jerusalem is not in good shape.

Nehemiah 1:1-4

So things are not well for those who have returned to Jerusalem. The walls have been destroyed and the gates have been burned. And Nehemiah weeps.

When I first read through this passage, I had a hard time understanding why Nehemiah was so worked up about the broken walls of a city nearly 1,000 miles away. I don’t think Nehemiah had ever been to Jerusalem before – so why does he spend days mourning over it’s broken walls?

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