The story of Nehemiah also comes at a time when the nation of Israel no longer existed as a political entity but as a remnant scattered across foreign lands. God, though, as always, would be faithful to His covenant promises, even when the people failed to live up to their end of the covenant.
Read Nehemiah 1:1-11. What is the background of his prayer? In what ways is it reminiscent of Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:4-19? In both cases, what is the issue, and how does this play out in the whole great-controversy drama?
Through the grace of the king, Nehemiah is given permission to return and rebuild in Jerusalem. On his return, Nehemiah spends the first few days just looking. He tries to survey the city by night, but the piles of rubble are so extensive that he does not get far (Neh. 2:14) ; so, he goes outside the walls to survey them from there (Neh. 2:15) .
Read Nehemiah 2:16-18. How do you think Nehemiah convinced the leaders to start working on something they had thought impossible? What could Nehemiah teach our church today?
Although Nehemiah did not at first tell the leaders why he had come, there were some people who were not happy and did all they could to prevent any work from being done to improve Jerusalem (Neh. 2:10, Neh. 2:19-20) . When work started on repairing the walls (Nehemiah 3:1-32) , these foreign officials were “furious and very indignant” (Neh. 4:1) and they mocked the efforts (Neh. 4:2-3, NKJV) . When they saw that God’s people were serious about their work (Neh. 4:6) , they became angry and planned an attack (Neh. 4:7-8) .
It would have been so easy to back down; yet, despite all sort of machinations against their work, they persisted. Trusting in God, Nehemiah saw to the rebuilding of the wall and left the threats of his enemies in the hand of God (Neh. 6:14-15) .