Summary: #1 in the Nehemiah series. Nehemiah’s story parallel’s the path that a backslidden Christian, or any man without God, must walk if he is to be saved and victorious in the end.
Book of Nehemiah Series #1
The Christian’s Life and Warfare.
By Pastor Jim May
The book of Nehemiah was written by Nehemiah, between 445-425 BC. Along side the Book of Ezra, it records the fulfillment of God’s promise to restore Israel to her land after the 70-year exile in Babylon. The warnings to Israel as a nation had been around for some time but they came to a head in 605 BC when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the nation.
Jeremiah 25:1-12, "The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened. And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations."
History records that in 586 BC the prophecy of Israel’s downfall came about exactly as Jeremiah had predicted and for the next 70 years the people of Israel and Judah were in exile and their beloved city, Jerusalem, was destroyed. After this period, some of the exiles returned to Jerusalem, but being a city without walls or protection, the Jewish remnant were always at the mercy of their ever-present enemies. The book of Nehemiah starts at this point, with a Jerusalem without walls and Israel in ruins.
The Types and Players in Nehemiah
I want to give you more than a history lesson through all of this. There’s more to see here than meets the eye at first glance. Since all of the Old Testament is given for an example for us to learn from, then there has to be some pertinent lessons for each of us, and for the church, in the day in which we live and our daily walk with the Lord.
By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit God has placed within the Book of Nehemiah some key characters and events that reveal to us some things concerning our walk and warfare as Christians. What you will find is some very important steps that the Book of Nehemiah teaches us in how to overcome our three deadliest enemies – Satan, the world and our old sinful nature.
The main character is Nehemiah, whose job it was to rebuild the wall and its gates. While he had a lot of enemies, the three most prominent were Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem. If we are going to understand what this book is really all about, and how it could possibly relate to us today, we have to start by describing what some of the symbolisms are and what some of the characters stand for.
In the natural sense, the wall surrounded Jerusalem, and was broken only by 10 gates. The wall kept the wrong people out, while the gates let the right people in. The walls were for protection and showed the separation between the people of God, and His enemies. The walls represent our salvation, specifically from the power of sin.