Summary: The city was in ruins. They had a wall to prevent invasion, but inside is rubble, and they are supposed to live and worship there. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
Life Inside the Wall
Nehemiah is all about building a wall around Jerusalem right? No, only chapters 1-6 are about that. The people existed for the wall in those first few chapters. They gave their time, talents, and treasures to make it happen. But the remaining chapters show the wall existing for the people. It's not about the wall, but about what goes on inside the wall. The city was in ruins. They had a wall to prevent invasion, but inside is rubble, and they are supposed to live and worship there. But they had a grand vision of what it could be once again for the glory of God!
In chapter 7 Nehemiah organizes the people. He is a master administrator, organizer, and leader. It's not enough that they have their wall, they need their life back!
1. The Giving of the People.
At the end of this chapter we see all the people joining together to give for this very worthwhile cause of restoring the honor and glory of God's city, His temple, and to help one another in their needs. And when they gave - they gave all. What led to this kind of giving? Let's go back to the beginning of the chapter and find out...
2. The Guarding of the People.
Once the wall is built Nehemiah wants to make sure the people are secure. There are many enemies lurking just outside the wall who want to destroy God's people.
The first thing he does is to call 2 assistants: Hanani his brother, and another man named Hananiah.
v. 1-2 Why did God choose these 2 men? What qualities did they possess? The end of v. 2 answers this question. Faithful and fearful.
Faithfulness is the #1 quality for any servant of God.
2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
Not everyone in the church is highly talented, but that's ok, because the greatest ability is dependability! We can't all be wealthy, but we can all be faithful. [singer / teacher / popular / in charge] In the end we will not be judged by our talents or gifts but by how faithful we were with what God gave to us. God puts a premium on faithfulness. Whatever God has called you to do in the church, you should do it faithfully.
10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might...
Jesus Christ is faithful. He is known for His faithfulness. So it makes sense that we are never more like Him than when we are faithful.
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness...
14 ... These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Add to that the living proof of His faithfulness recorded in the gospels ... His life was consistently faithful to God His Father, to His principles, to His family, to His followers, and to the very sinners who rejected Him...those He came to save!
When we need forgiveness He is faithful!
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
When we need wisdom He is faithful!
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
When we need His presence the most He is faithful!
5 ... I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
The least we can do in gratitude for His faithfulness is to offer our faithfulness in return. [service / attendance / giving / witnessing / prayer life / worship]
God led Nehemiah to choose helpers who were faithful ... and fearful. That is, they feared God.
When we fear God we need not fear man, or any other circumstances. A fear of God eliminates all other fears.
ill.--John Knox lived in the 1500s and was one of the reformers who cried out against the evils of the establishment religion of his day. He was greatly persecuted by Queen Mary [remember her nickname? Bloody Mary!] She got this name for her persecution of many like Knox. But Knox never backed up and never backed down. He suffered greatly for his faith. Written on his tombstone: "He feared man so little because he feared God so much."
God help us to cultivate in our own lives these qualities of faithfulness and fearing God.