Nehemiah Chapters 1-7:3
God taught one special group of people what He was really like, and what was right and good. They were Jonah's people, and He did this for hundreds of years. Yet again and again they turned away from God, worshipping idols and doing bad things. At last God said again "No More!" and sent another nation, with a fierce king (Nebuchadnezzar), to carry them off as slaves to a far-away country (Babylon). 150 years later one of their great-great-grandchildren was a very important man serving a new king in Persia. His name was Nehemiah.
Nehemiah before the KING.
Nehemiah was cup-bearer to the King, entrusted with making sure no one poisoned the King.
- Bad News (Nehemiah chapter 1 verse 3) and Nehemiah weeps at it. Their city in ruins, and the people fearful and weak.
- A Good Plan. "I can ask the King for help" but I FEAR him. To look sad before the King was forbidden - you could lose your head!
- 4 months later, the King sees him sad, and asks why (will King be angry, and cut off my head?). Nehemiah prays, and tells the king all the trouble. The King answers "What do you want?"
- Nehemiah asks to be sent to rebuild the city - the King says "YES"!
- He asks for building materials - the King says "YES"
- and without asking, the King gives him armed soldiers for his safety.
- Why? - "because the hand of my God was upon me the king granted my requests" (Nehemiah chapter 2 verse 8 and 18 - even great and mighty Kings are in God's hands, and do what He wants.)
Nehemiah before the WALL
- inspects the wall at night, in secret - why? Do not stir up trouble too soon. Not everyone wanted the wall rebuilt so that the city could become a good place to live again. Some people got rich by keeping the other people poor and without a wall to defend themselves.
- He sees the wall is a mess - broken down, piles of rubble and the gates all burned up. A huge job!
Nehemiah before the PEOPLE
- He calls the the people together. "You see the mess we are in"
- "We can rebuild!" he cries out. And he told them of how God, their God, the God of all the Universe, had made the King want to help them.
- The people all say "Let us start rebuilding" and get to work, despite Sanballat (Nehemiah chapter 2 verse 18), one of the local officials, who does not want the city and wall rebuilt. "Wait till the King hears about this!" he says, not knowing the King had ordered the rebuilding.
- God makes everything work, so we should work too!
- God uses people - it is foolish and lazy to say "God can do it all (true) so we can just sit and drink tea! (false)"
- God has things for us to do too. To do good things, to help, to tell the truth, to read His words in the Bible, to pray, and many more things.
Nehemiah before the ENEMIES
- Sanballat, a local government official, doesn't want the Jewish people to have help. and jeers at the workmen - "if a fox lent on your wall it would fall down!". He tries to block the building work and to frighten Nehemiah. Nehemiah sets armed soldiers to defend the builders, and even the builders wear swords as they work.
- Sanballat and his crooked crew even try to ambush and kill Nehemiah, but he is too smart to fall into their trap.
- There are Enemies for us if we want to follow God
- even good things - sport, or music, or anything --- if they often keep us from reading the Bible (God's word to us) and keep us from going to church
- Bad things - false "friends" who invite us to get drunk, or steal things, or take drugs, saying "Don't be a sissy - its fun!"
- And there really is the Devil, a bad angel who hates God and anyone who wants to obey Him (but don't be afraid - God is a million times stronger!)
The Wall is Built
- The wall is finished in just 52 days. A huge job done, and the people are very happy!
- Chapter 6 verses 15 & 16 - The enemies are very sad, for they knew the wall had been rebuilt "with the help of our God"
- Psalm 127 verse 1 "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in vain."
- What foundation is your house built upon?
- No, not the family house of bricks or timber, but your life, which is much much more valuable, and goes on forever.
- Only if you build your life on God, and what He says, will your life-house be good and beautiful and strong.
- If you build on anything else, it will end in ruin and disaster. Build your Life on God - He is Strong and Good!
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Last published: 2 July 2011
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