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Thursday: Nehemiah — 17 Comments

  1. "Read Nehemiah 2:16-18. How do you think Nehemiah convinced the leaders to start working on something they had thought impossible?"

    The leaders at Jerusalem were "dispirited and divided" (PK 637), and had they remained in this condition, the rebuilding of Jerusalem's wall would definitely have been IMPOSSIBLE.

    So how did Nehemiah convince the leaders to start working on the great venture? I would suggest that,

    1. As a result of his midnight ride to survey the condition of the walls and gates [the night before,] Nehemiah gained enough first-hand knowledge to SPEAK INTELLIGENTLY. He had a realistic view of the task they would face.

    He knew what he was talking about, and THIS surprised and impressed his listeners. The Spirit of Prophecy actually says that "the fact that he made this circuit [i.e. the night-time reconnaissance trip] contributed GREATLY to his success", when, the very next morning, he spoke with the leaders. (PK 637.)

    2. Nehemiah also "told them of the hand of [his] God which was good upon [him]; as also the King's words that he had spoken to [him]." (Neh 2:18.)

    Of course the two things were closely connected. The fact that God's hand was upon Nehemiah, made the King of Persia very generous. Nehemiah asked the King for permission to travel to Jerusalem, mainly to rebuild the wall and the gates of the city. The only part of the King's reply that we have recorded is, "how long shall your journey be? and when will you return?" (Neh 2:6).

    Nehemiah made a request to the King for letters too. These were granted. And the royal letters would be critical/essential for the acquisition of materials, and to ensure support from various officials.

    "Nehemiah's whole soul was in the enterprise he had undertaken. His hope, his energy, his enthusiasm, his determination, were contagious, inspiring others with the same high courage and lofty purpose." (Prophets & Kings p.638).

    Nehemiah's "appeal went straight to their hearts." The leaders knew that God Himself would be in the work. (ibid.) Nehemiah was certainly NOT a prophet; he was NOT a priest; but he was a man who felt things deeply, and he was a man of opportunity.

  2. Nehemiah exerted a positive influence which was irresistible even when there was little to encourage the hearts and eyes of the people. He must have felt a strong desire to see that the city of God returned to its glory days. He understood perfectly the role of Israel in the divine plan. For this to be achieved however, the city had to be rebuilt.

    Whenever a city was to be conquered in the medieval times, it was imporant to pull down the its walls. It was logical then that the rebuilding process should start with the building of the walls. This in itself gave courage to the hearts of the doubtful to return and probably build new homes in place of the ones that were torn down.

    As a church, we have situations that need urgent attention like this. Our walls need to be rebuilt. We need to provide courage and motivation for the souls of dispirited members who are not motivated by anything that has to do with faith. We need to rebuild the lives of those who are not even members of the church but who are equally in need of spiritual build-up.

    We must stand up like Nehemiah to provide them with the right motivation. We need to encourage them to be a part of this rebuilding process in our spiritual lives.

    "While the souls of men are dying
    "And the master calls for you,
    "Let none hear you idly saying:
    "There is nothing I can do."

    "Gladly take the task He gives
    "Let His work your pleasure be
    "Answer quickly when He calleth:
    "Here am I, O Lord send me."

  3. How to know if a new proposal is God's will for us?
    1. Ask God for guidance and be willing to accept His answer either way
    2. Is it in line with the principles in the Bible
    3. Does it fit in with the way the LORD has been leading you in the past
    4. Consult with friends who you know are committed to Jesus
    5. Look out for "signs"
    6. Remember God's timing is not as we expect.
    7. Put this whole portfolio of points together, make a decision, tell the Lord what it is and step out in faith, then look out for opening or closing doors.

  4. God's promise to be with Nehemiah is for us too. If we like Nehemiah surrender our soul to be guided and controlled by Him, then the power of God awaits our demand and reception.

  5. Field Ministry brothers and sisters. Like Nehemia who went out there to check himself, we should go out there and do the preaching. Instead of spending so much of our time in church walls with people of the faith we need to go out there into the world with the Gospel. It may seem difficult to go out there and conduct bible studies with my neighbor, my school teacher, my work colleague but that is our mission. We should go out there where the devil is with our tools to preach the 3 Angels message and warn them of the imminent destruction of Babylon.
    With caution and prayerfully, we should know how to approach certain obstacles to our preaching and what lessons to say on initial visits. Do not quick to give lessons about the Sabbath but first find areas which you somehow agree and take it from there. Be led by the Holy Spirit

  6. When a person allows humility and re-cognition to rule the heart and be filled with Holy Spirit as we read in the examples of Nehemiah and/or Daniels prayer ... Herein lies the equation, human spirit mingled with the Holy Spirit (co-operation), manifests the working hand of the invisible Most High God into this dimension of space and existence. We get to see miracles of life happen, re-creation of the city of God … which city we are!

    Some say it is a miracle to walk on water, others say it is a miracle just to walk this earth in peace.

    To be in the presence of such Spirit filled folk is contagious, no ear tickling sermons are necessary, just there cheerful countenance and their simple courageous confidence in the Lord God. Re-Creation happens, Gods rest comes upon us and all men are either draw to it or shaken down by it.

    These tenants beg the question … “Which city are you, one of destruction or one of re-creation?”

    My pray is as Christ's, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” ~ Matt:11:25

  7. It may be useful to clarify THE TIMING of Nehemiah's visit to Jerusalem. Because the restoring and the rebuilding of Jerusalem started many years before Nehemiah's arrival at the city. (Nehemiah did not start the rebuilding process.)

    The destruction of Jerusalem occurred in about 586 B.C. when the Babylonians broke into the city and destroyed the Temple, etc. (2Kings 25:9-10)

    About 48 years after the burning of the Temple, etc., and the deportation of the Jews, the Babylonian Empire fell to the Persians. (c. 538B.C.) The Persians effectively inherited the Jewish captives.

    In the 1st year of Cyrus (536 BC), (King of the Medes and Persians,) he issued a decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem, and to rebuild the Temple and the basic infra-structure of the city. (Ezra 6:3 etc.)

    It was about 92 years later (about 444 B.C.) that Nehemiah asked the then current Persian King, Artaxerxes, (in the 20th year of his reign), for permission to go to Jerusalem to build there. (Neh 2:1)

    So basically, Nehemiah arrived at Jerusalem about 92 years after Cyrus gave his decree, allowing the rebuild to start. The great weakness was the lack of city walls. Parts of Jerusalem's wall were still intact, but large breaches existed in that wall, and so the city was extremely vulnerable. It seems to have been Nehemiah's primary purpose to rebuild that wall, and to re-establish lockable gates in the wall.

    • To illustrate the thought that rebuilding at Jerusalem had been carried forward [after the destruction by the Babylonians, and before the time of Nehemiah,] I would refer to the first chapter in the Book of Haggai.

      About 50,000 people had returned to Jerusalem, and their focus had been on building and adorning their own residential homes, while the construction of the House of God had not featured as a priority to their minds. Their attitude was, "The time is NOT come, the time that the Lord's house should be built." (Hag 1:2) They felt that there was simply too much opposition, too many problems; and so they focused on their own projects. The fact that building had been going on in the city is clear. But initially the people had their priorities back-to-front, and this was the reason that the blessings of the Lord were with-held from them. (See Haggai 1:1-11 set in 520 B.C.) They were too busy trying to build/adorn their own houses. But once they shifted their focus, and set their hearts and hands to building the house of God, the blessings of God were seen.

  8. Nehemiah was a man who had devoted his time thinking about his native land Psalms 86:11, he did surveillance and set a timeframe in which to accomplish the time, he mobilized the people and set a plan of action. Nehemiah was a leader without a pedigree who accomplished much. We have church members who have no posts in our churches but if they surrender their lives to the guidance of the spirit they will accomplish much

  9. The first thing Nehemiah did was that he went and prayed continuously for guidance, encouragement and for God to dwell with them even thought some of his people had strayed. Obstacles will come and go but if we keep a close connection with God our heavenly father we will know when to give up and when to fight.

  10. What does Nehemiah teach us today? The life and work of genuine faith, coupled with the leading of God's Spirit into effective accomplishment of God's will for this hour.

    • Nehemiah was a fellow captive with all those that had been taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. So it was natural that he was interested in there well being. He was doing fairly well being a cupbearer for the King, Artaxerxes. It is interesting to some as to the possibility that Esther and Nehemiah were aware of each other and also fellow captives. Nehemiah 2:6. Plus the location was the same in Esther 1:2 and Neh.1:1 Shushan or Susa the citadel. If this is so, then the kings inclination to favor Nehemiah would be influenced by the Queen. There is a 33 year separation between Esther and Nehemiah records, by (BC) dating. The question of Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes being the same,is the issue most often discussed by scholars. Artaxerxes was the son of Xerxes. Ezra 4:3 seems to authenticate a separation by the word "also". Back to Nehemiah, verses 4 to 11 Nehemiah is admitting to being one of the people he was praying for. A corrupt sinner that did not keep the commandments or statutes or ordinances, verse 7. Both he and his
      family. His prayer many times was that God would listen. This continued many days along with fasting. Nehemiah reminded God of His promises. Like we do some times when we have an urgent request that only God can provide answers to. The opposition to Nehemiah's plan to rebuild the wall required special security, but Nehemiah was up to the challenge. With a united effort the wall was rebuilt. Knowing the difference between Gods plan and mans plan isn't easy sometimes, but necessary, if our choice is to please God and be led by Him in all that we do and say.

      • If we are unsure of what plans are God's or man's, we have strayed from the knowledge of God haven't we? God does not make us guess or lead us to be perplexed on knowing His will, though we can cloud the matter ourselves quite easily if still following the ways of men even if only in small ways. If God is first and foremost in all things, the light on our path is bright as we live by every word that proceeds from Him.

        Xerxes I ruled during the days of Esther, and was killed in 465, being followed by his son, Artaxerxes I, who gave the decree through Ezra in 457 BC and the permission to Nehemiah in 444 BC, ruling until 424 BC.

        • The plans that I had in mind are plans such as a minister might have before studying for the ministry. Most ministers will say they were called,supposing by God. However some have wrestled with the possibility that the choice was not what they wanted or was it even Gods calling,and not an influence by someone else. The answer may not be evident for several years. Some realize their mistake and leave the ministry for another vocation. That may be a poor example but the story of Nehemiah and the length of time that he spent in prayer and fasting I see as a need for conformation and help that Nehemiah wanted. On a personal level I have trouble sometimes in knowing that my choices are always Gods will. If they were then sin would never be a problem would it?

      • Paul, the opening thought in your post - "Nehemiah was a fellow captive with all those that had been taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar" catches my eye, and I'm wondering whether you can refer to some historical resource for this.

        It appears that the date of Nebuchadnezzar's death is generally accepted as 562 B.C. (History of Babylonia and Assyria, R.W.Rogers, vol.2,p.504.) In the same way, the date for Nehemiah being granted permission to travel to Jerusalem, appears to be generally accepted as c.444 B.C. (Robert uses this same date in his recent post here.)

        But if Nehemiah was taken among the captives in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, this would mean that Nehemiah would have been at least 118 years old when he traveled to Jerusalem to lead out in his building project. (And this is assuming that Nehemiah was taken at the very end of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. And yet, didn't the 3 main deportations of Jews from Jerusalem etc. begin about 40 years prior to Nebuchadnezzar's death?)

        I'm very mindful that historical dates can be disputed by various people, but on some points (such as the ones I've mentioned) general agreement exists.

  11. Nehemiah was a descendant of those that had been taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. It was 140 years from the time that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, taking captives, until Nehemiah went back, to rebuild the wall. I thought it very interesting that Nehemiah after his comunication with God was impressed to require the people working that lived out side the wall to move inside the wall to live, work, guard, eat, and sleep. Security secured. Now I don't believe by having a sword in one hand and a brick layers trowel in the other, diminished their total reliance on God. The danger was to high. They couldn't afford to be self sufficient any longer. Look how they had failed for 92 years putting God second.


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