Nehemiah: Rebuilding A Community: The Problem. Nehemiah 4:1-23

June 26th, 2017

Nehemiah: Rebuilding A Community
The Problem

Nehemiah 4:1-23

 

The Naysayers Return (v. 1-6)

  • Sanballat: Leading political official of Samaria residing at Beth-horon in Ephraim

    • His anger at the rebuilding of the wall was because he saw it as a threat to his influence in the area

      • Anger is often the world’s response to God’s work because it threatens the powerful and the status quo
    • He even questions the builders’ commitment to God (v. 2b)
  • Tobiah: An Ammonite official whose family claimed to Jewish roots to Jerusalem
    • He tries to undermine the quality of their work (v. 3)
    • Even though archaeological excavations found Nehemiah’s wall to be about 9 feet thick
  • Nehemiah’s response:
    • Prayer (v. 4-5): Trusting God to deal with these accusers
    • Determination (v. 6): The work continued

 

The Plot (v. 7-14)

  • The naysayers’ anger turns to plots of violence to stop the work (v. 7-8)
  • Again, Nehemiah and the people turn to God in prayer (v. 9)
    • And they set guards where the wall was the weakest/shortest
  • The work in these areas was overwhelming for those who lived closest (v. 11)
    • So they asked for help! (v. 12)
  • Their neighbors stepped up to help defend the gaps (v. 13)
    • Being encouraged by Nehemiah to trust God (v. 14)

 

The Plan (v. 15-23)

  • They continued working despite the opposition

    • Keeping defenses close at hand throughout the work
    • If an attack came, they had a plan to rally to where they were needed (v. 20)
  • Nehemiah encouraged those from outside the city to stay in the city while the work took place (v. 22)
    • Which meant people opened their homes to one another
  • They stayed ready for battle at all times (v. 23)

 

So What?

  • As we seek to do God’s work in our community, we will face opposition

    • Because it means a change to the status quo
  • We must trust God to fight for us
    • As we continue with diligence and prayer
  • The Church must model love and support

Meditation Verse: Neh. 4:

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Nehemiah: Rebuilding A Community: The Participants, Nehemiah 3:1-32

June 24th, 2017

Nehemiah: Rebuilding A Community
The Participants

Nehemiah 3:1-32

 

The Participants (v. 1-5)

  • The chapter is thought by many to be a list of unpronounceable names and gates

    • The text shows us much more than that
  • It reveals a process: All were involved
  • It reveals a plan : 10 gates and 40 groups
  • It reveals a purpose : Build where you live
  • Building begins with Eliashib the high priest and the other priests
    • Begin with the Sheep Gate
    • Close to the Temple
    • An example for the rest of the builders
    • Only section that was consecrated
      • Thus consecrating the whole project
    • The narrative continues a path around the city
    • Jericho (v. 2)
      • Not local: 20 miles from Jerusalem
    • References the Tekoites (v. 5)
      • Royals called out for not being involved

        • Possibly out of fear of Geshem the Arab

 

More Get Involved (v. 6–14)

  • We start to see the actual occupations of some of the builders (v. 8)
  • People worked in front of their own homes (v. 10)
    • Increased sense of responsibility
    • Not far away from home during construction
    • Knew the area better than anyone else
  • Father and daughters worked on the wall (v. 12)
  • Did their portion and then did more (v. 13)
  • Their gate was the Dung Gate (v. 14)
    • Also known as the Refuse Gate
    • Led out to where the refuse was taken
    • No portion was beneath them

 

 

Work Continues (v. 15–32)

  • Beth-Zur (v. 16)

    • Town 4 miles N of city
  • We begin to see groups working on more than one (v. 19)
  • Tekoites do another section of the wall (v. 27)
    • Tekoah was a town approx. 12 miles south

 

The Big Picture

  • Nehemiah used everyone to accomplish this work

    • Goldsmiths, perfume makers, merchants
    • Men and women
    • Priests to people from outside the city walls
  • Walls would have been totally overwhelming
  • Gates controlled access to city but the walls connected the gates
  • Modern analogy for the gates
    • Gates reflect the needs of our community
    • Walls reflect the commonality of the needs

 

So What?

  • As we seek God’s vision for rebuilding our community:

    • Do we see our role in the work?
    • Do we see our needs and those of our neighbors?

Meditation Verse: Phil. 2:4

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Nehemiah: Rebuilding A Community. The Plan, Nehemiah 1:11bc-2:20

June 12th, 2017

Nehemiah: Rebuilding A Community
The Plan

Nehemiah 1:11bc-2:20

 

An Audience with the King (1:11c-2:8)

  • Nehemiah served as Artaxerxes’ cupbearer (1:11c)

    • A food taster to the king who ensured that the royal meals were of high quality, and not poisoned
    • In some instances, they would act as counselors to the king as well
    • He already had the ear of the king
      • Shows God’s providence in the situation
    • Nehemiah waited and prayed from Kislev (1:1; Nov/Dec) until Nisan (2:1; March/April)
      • 4 to 5 months of prayer waiting for the right opportunity
    • When the time was right, Nehemiah let his guard down before the king
      • Letting the king see that something was bothering him
      • And surprisingly, the king notices and cares!
    • Nehemiah shares what is on his heart
      • And the king’s response is to ask him how he could help
    • But, before Nehemiah asks for help, he prays, again! (2:4b; see 1:5-11)
    • Then he asks for permission to rebuild Jerusalem
      • Along with letters to guarantee his safety on the journey back
      • And material support to finish the project
    • This was risky, since Artaxerxes had actually halted the rebuilding of Jerusalem previously (Ezra 4:17-22)
      • Out of fear of rebellion
    • But the king & queen* gives him everything he asks for
      • Asking only when Nehemiah would return

        • Which shows that the king valued him greatly
      • Nehemiah sees all of these events as God’s hand upon the work

 

Surveying the Problem (2:9-20)

  • When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, he met with the leaders of the region

    • He received opposition from Sanballat and Tobiah
  • He then went out at night to survey the damage to the city walls in secret
    • He had not sought out the Jewish people’s help yet
    • He wanted to see the extent of the work that needed to be done first
  • After his survey, he gathers the people and explains what God has laid on his heart to do
    • And he includes himself in their troubles (v. 17)
    • While explaining how God has already begun the work through Nehemiah’s relationship with the king
  • The people were so inspired that the took up the call right away (v. 18)
  • As the people rallied to Nehemiah’s side, the naysayers started in (v. 19)
    • Accusing them of rebellion against the king
  • But, Nehemiah places his hope firmly in God (v. 20)

 

So What?

  • Nehemiah sought God throughout the process

    • And he used his secular connections to help with God’s work
    • As well as calling God’s people to step up
  • As we seek to rebuild our community, we must do the same:
    • Constantly seek God
    • Use our connections, both within and outside the Church

Meditation Verse: Nehemiah 2:20a

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Nehemiah: Rebuilding A Community. The Passion and The Prayer. Nehemiah 1:1-11b

June 5th, 2017

Nehemiah: Rebuilding A Community
The Passion and The Prayer

Nehemiah 1:1-11b

The Passion (v. 1-3)

  • Nehemiah is the author of this book

    • Probably written around 430 BC
  • Not much is known about Nehemiah before this
    • His father is Hakaliah and his brother is Hanani
  • Kislev is a month that would commonly include parts of Nov. and Dec.
    • 20th year = 20th year of the reign of the Persian King Artaxerxes
  • Nehemiah shows his heart by asking about the city of Jerusalem and more important the condition of the people there
    • He is told that the survivors* were in great trouble and disgrace

      • Since there was no simple way to communicate, this would have been devastating news to receive

 

Prayer of Confession (v. 4-7)

  • Begins with brokenness

    • His concern for the people and the city of Jerusalem led him to tears, to fasting and to mourning and most importantly, to prayer
  • This portion of his prayer shows us his clear understanding of who God is
    • Praise before petition
  • His confession was personal and not superficial
    • He understands that their inability to follow God’s commands had time and time again gotten them into trouble

      • This was no exception

  The Petition (v. 8-11b)

  • Nehemiah reminds God of his promise to his people

    • Done to show his utmost confidence in the covenant God had made with his people (2 Chron. 7:14)
  • He references the Exodus and God leading his people out from Egypt (v. 10)
  • He understands that the time for action in at hand (v. 11)
    • He was asking God to act and showed the confidence of being in his will

 

 

 

 

So What?

  • Do we have a heart for the “survivors” in our community?
  • Do we understand that before we can be a part of restoration in our community, we need to restore our relationship with God?

Meditation Verse: Neh. 1:11a

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