Rebuilding the Wall
Nehemiah 4:7-14; 5:1-13; 6:15-16
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 Ezra, 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.
God’s people act wisely in the face of conflict (Nehemiah 4:7-14).
A “real” work of God will always be opposed (4:7, 8). I would suggest that absent opposition requires a closer look to determine if what we are doing is a “real” work of God. Paul admonition to Timothy (2 Timothy 3:12) … “all that will live godly shall suffer persecution” may be extended to include the church as a whole.
IN verse 9 the leadership team sought the instruction and intervention of God while they did what they could to accomplish the task at hand (4:9).
Practical Application – God’s instruction and intervention does not exempt one from responsibility; just the opposite, it calls one to commit to what it is that is the will of God.
When confronted with opposition, believers should respond with specific prayer acknowledging the necessity of God’s intervention for success.
Absent prayer believers are prone to failure, trusting in themselves. Yes, the believer has the responsibility to do all he can, but not apart from God’s direction.
Verses 10 & 11 outline the sources of opposition. The enemy within and the enemy without. The enemy within used a negative attitude to stop the work of the Lord.
NOTE: One of the most dangerous enemies to the work of the Lord is a pessimistic attitude perpetuated by church members.
Discuss a time the church was in conflict resulting from an “I can’t” attitude; an attitude of fear.
The best response to a pessimistic attitude is the full assurance of God’s will and the promise that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”
“After I made an inspection” reminds the church leadership of the importance to evaluate the work of the ministry regularly.
The motivation for service in face of opposition: (1) The greatness and glory of God. (2) Who is at stake (“your countrymen, your sons and daughters, your wives and homes”).
*By human standards success did not seem likely …
God’s people address social injustice (Nehemiah 5:5-13).
The Problem: Some were taking advantage of a bad situation for personal gain; they were disregarding the need and charging their fellow countrymen interest. There were extreme cases where some invoked slavery as a means of personal profit.
As believers in Christ we should seek to use God’s blessings to bless others in need.
Discuss – How might one take advantage of another’s misfortune? (Example: Because of financial problems a family is forced to sell …. and a neighbor/friend/ etc offers to purchase whatever at a much reduced price.) How should a Christian respond? By assisting them financially or by paying an appropriate amount.
God’s people give glory to God for success (Nehemiah 6:15-16).
Every success requires a response of praise.
Celebrated successes intimidate the enemies of the faith and bring glory to God.
Theological Theme: God is glorified through the believer’s commitment to, and the completion of a task..
Christological Theme: Jesus, like the citizens of Jerusalem, by His accomplishments and resurrection power protects His people from the enemies of sin and death.
Missional Theme: God calls us to do the right thing in the right way and then give Him glory for the successes.