Nehemiah is among the historical books of the Old Testament.
Authorship – The memoirs of Nehemiah.
The events of the book are from 446 B.C. during the reigns of the Persian king, Artaxerxes.
Nehemiah was a Jewish leader who had attained status in the Persian court as a cupbearer to the King.
The letter was written to the returning exiles to Judah and Jerusalem confronting their failure to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem
The time period would make Nehemiah contemporary with Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
As we have previously noted in Ezra and Esther, God is continuously working to fulfill His promises to the nation of Israel. The unseen force in this book is God’s sovereignty … God cannot but be faithful to His Word.
This is why we as Christian order our steps/live our lives according to the promises of God’s Word.
The book of Nehemiah is a handbook for leadership. Nothing gets done without the right leader and leadership
Nehemiah exemplifies the necessity for “teamwork.” There can never be a leader without followers; followers determine the success of the leader.
Nehemiah demonstrates the proper response to opposition. Nehemiah evaluated the opposition, made appropriate plans; then trusting God he put his plans into action. The leader that underestimates the enemy, or overestimates one’s personal strengths, will not succeed.
The actions of Nehemiah show that prayer and hard work are cooperative elements necessary in serving God … you don’t just pray, and you don’t just work, you do both.
Nehemiah prays out of a burden for his people (Nehemiah 1:1-4).
Though he lived in Persia, Nehemiah identified with the people of God, especially those who had returned to Judah and Jerusalem.
Nehemiah was driven by a desire to see the nation of Israel fulfill its mission resulting in God’s glory.
What are you passionate/burdened about?
Haggai delivered a bad report to Nehemiah: the returning Jews after the completion of the Temple had failed to continue the work of rebuilding the city (See Haggai 1). Haggai referred to their failure as a “disgrace.”
Why would Haggai refer to their failure as a “disgrace?”
Nehemiah’s response was brokenness which led to his devotion to prayer.
Prayer is often motivated by a broken heart. We pray for what breaks our heart.
“Fasting” is separating oneself from any distraction for the purpose of prayer.
Nehemiah fasted and prayed “before the God of heaven.” As believers we must realize that the only answer for the problems we face is God (not the White House, etc).
Instead of complaining about someone’s failures, pray for them!
Nehemiah prays to the God Who forgives and redeems (Nehemiah 1:5-11).
Nehemiah first addressed the greatness of God (recognizing His ability to answer His petition) and the faithfulness of God (that God would actually intercede).
Nehemiah reminds his readers (and us) that God’s response is often predicated on one’s obedience.
Compare “those who love Him and keep His commands” to “If you love Me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Nehemiah’s prayer was not a ‘one stop shop,’ … he prayed day and night.
Note: Nehemiah included himself as a part of the problem … he identified himself with the sins of Israel.
Nehemiah didn’t appeal to God on the basis of Israel’s worthiness, but on the basis of God’s personal glory and faithfulness.
Nehemiah prays while he takes action (Nehemiah 2:1-8).
Nehemiah attached action to his prayers … he was willing to DO whatever it took. So don’t be surprised when you ask God to do something that He responds “go ahead.” Always be willing to put feet to your prayers.
From a human standpoint, Nehemiah was fearful, not knowing how the Artaxerxes would respond to his sadness and requests … BUT like Esther his commitment was “If I perish, I perish.”
In this passage we see God, once again, behind the scene working out His plan.
The key to success in the service of the Lord is to find yourself where God is, joining Him in what it is He is doing.
Theological Theme: Prayer should always be motivated be a concern for God’s glory.
Christological Theme: Like Nehemiah, Christ intercedes for the success and service of the saints
Missional Theme: Pray for God’s people to engage His work; to remain active in the ministry of the Lord (too often believer’s get sidetracked, or fearful of opposition, and quit what it is God has called them to do).