Summary: What does your heart break for today? Change happens when people are authentically broken for the things of God.

A Man with a Broken Heart

Nehemiah 1:1-11

Rodeo Road Baptist Church

August 24, 2014

Disclaimer: Each sermon in this series on Nehemiah was written with both commentary help and referencing from time to time information from sermons and illustration found on Sermon Central. In most cases I tried to be faithful in giving credit to the author but I acknowledge that I was not consistent in that endeavor. So any similarity to other older posted sermons on this web site are due in part to the quality of their work and the timelessness of the truth they shared originally. There was no intentional intent to use without credit any material in these sermons that were first delivered by other pastors.


Nehemiah lived in the royal city of Susa, the winter residence of Artaxerxes, the Persian king. Judah, the homeland of Nehemiah, was a thousand miles away.

Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king. He was more than a “butler”. A cupbearer held a position of great responsibility. At each meal, he tested the king’s wine and food to make sure it wasn’t poisoned. If he died, then the king wouldn’t. Doesn’t sound like a great job. But think. A man who stood that close to the king in public had to be handsome, cultured, knowledgeable, and able to advise the king when asked. Because he had access to the king, the cupbearer was a man of great influence. The cupbearer was rather like a prime minister and master of ceremonies rolled into one.

Does Anybody Really Care? by Christian Cheong

Ever had this experience? You are excited about being a Christian and living for God, and then something happen and everything changes.

I. Is there anything broken in your life?

Nehemiah 1:3 And they said to me, "The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire."

What is it that is broken in your life - something that needs to be rebuilt? Everybody has something that is broken.

Now, these walls were literal walls in that day. Because, you see, walls are also symbolical. Walls, in the Bible, and especially around the city of Jerusalem, had a symbolic meaning. They spoke of the glory of God; they spoke of the salvation of God; they spoke of the protection of God over His people. And, the walls had fallen.

Now, what does this mean to us today? We too are called to rebuild some walls that are in decay. And, I want you to think with me, for a moment, about some walls today that have fallen to the ground, some walls that are in disarray.

1. Historical Walls – a nation in crisis – foundational worldviews are in shambles

2. Relational Walls – Family, Race (Fergusson, MO), Neighborhoods, etc. – emotionally isolated from God and each other

3. Moral Walls – Drugs, Sex, Violence, etc. – self-centeredness is weakening the core values of our culture and society.

4. Christian Walls – the church rather than being at the center of the community is now on the fringe and is badly in need of repair because of compromise and loss of mission

The most hopeless people in the world are people who recognize that they have a problem, but have no vision from God about how to solve with that problem.

Where there is no vision, the people perish… Proverbs 29:18

Illustration – ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Some have been fun. Some have really been more about the person than the cause, my 5 minutes of fame; some have been funny, President and Laura Bush; some like Dave Ramsey have combined personal stories with some fun; others have been very sober because they have told the story of the real heartbreak of ALS.

We live in an America where there are broken walls

II. But what breaks your heart?

Nehemiah 1:4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Have you ever had such experience? You are bothered by something, so much that you couldn’t sleep, you couldn’t eat, or you just sit there and cry?

Nehemiah was concerned about the welfare of his people, no doubt about that. But more than that, in his prayer we sense something bigger than these. It wasn’t just a social concern, it wasn’t just a physical concern; it was a spiritual concern.

Matthew 23:37“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing.”

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