Summary: Nehemiah reads like a novel and is full of practical wisdom for many of today’s complex problems. We read it to gain wisdom and for direction. Nehemiah has been an example to many when it comes to dealing with difficult people and he has been an inspira
The movie Amazing Grace accounts the determination of a man named William Wilberforce who spends his life crusading for the abolition of slavery. Wilberforce came from a prosperous family that lived near a North Sea port which saw little in the way of slave trading. At the young age of 21 he was elected to parliament for the county seat of Yorkshire which was a very large district.
In his early years in Parliament, Wilberforce was noted for his eloquence and charm but not much else. But his conversion to evangelical Christianity in 1785 changed everything. From then on he approached politics from a position of strict Christian morality. One day Wilberforce had a conversation with a man named William Pitt that changed Wilberforce and the rest of the world forever.
Pitt shared the horrors of the slave trade with Wilberforce and Wilberforce was moved. From that conversation until his death in 1833 Wilberforce campaigned relentlessly against the slave trade in England. It took almost 20 years from the time he started his campaign to abolish the slave until it was actually abolished.
The Emancipation Bill gathered support and received its final commons reading on 26 July 1833. Slavery would be abolished in England. ’Thank God’, said Wilberforce, ’that I have lived to witness a day in which England is willing to give twenty millions sterling for the Abolition of Slavery’. Three days later, on 29 July 1833, he died. http://www.brycchancarey.com/abolition/wilberforce.htm
Wilberforce was a born again Christian who passionately lived out his convictions in spite of opposition. And he was opposed by many. People lied about him, gave him there word they were on his side then changed their views while in Parliament. He was personally and professionally attached for his position on the slave trade and he suffered from poor health for the majority of his life. But God was with him and this one man changed history forever.
Nehemiah was a man who had a mission just like Wilberforce. He lived in a time when the walls surrounding his ethnic city of Jerusalem were in ruins and he will be the subject of study this morning.
Out of all the books in the OT, the book of Nehemiah is one of my personal favorites. It reads like a novel and is full of practical wisdom for many of today’s complex problems. I read it to gain wisdom as a leader and I read it to get direction. Nehemiah has been an example to me when it comes to dealing with difficult people and he has been an inspiration to me because he set clear goals then worked hard to make them a reality. If you read this book it will make an impact on you.
Let me summarize the book of Nehemiah for you then we will take a look at a few specifics that apply to us in the end. At the time Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king in a distant land. The king’s cupbearer did more than simply serve the king his wine. The cupbearer was considered to be a very high position because of the direct access to the king. It was an odd position for Nehemiah to be in since he was a Jew. He must have been a man of wisdom and discernment. His position signifies his ability to lead and direct and he must have been very well liked by the king because of his competency. Cupbearers also had direct access to the king’s wife, so to insure that no funny business went on most cupbearers were eunuchs.
Nehemiah was a man of God. He served the king, but he did not worship him. We don’t know exactly why Nehemiah became cupbearer to the king other than God destined him for that position to use him to help his chosen people, the Jews. While working for the king Nehemiah heard that the city of Jerusalem was in ruins. It’s large rock walls had been demolished and were lying in ruins. Nehemiah had never seen Jerusalem, but he knew that was the city of David, a very important city to the Jews because that is where the temple of God was. The walls were in ruins because 100 years earlier they had been torn down by enemies of the Jews when they came and took them into captivity. Now only a remnant remained. Jerusalem was the centerpiece of the Jewish nation and God burdened Nehemiah’s heart to restore it.
In Nehemiah’s day the walls around Jerusalem protected their national identity. It separated them from their pagan neighbors and also acted as a wall of protection from potential enemies. Without the wall, the Jewish people were becoming less and less distinct. They were melting into the surrounding nations. This was not by choice, it was happening because the Jews had been conquered and had yet to regroup even though a hundred years had passed.