Summary: The declaration and mission of Nehemiah is more than just rebuilding a wall, it's a calling for men and women to return to living fully for the God in heaven. Doesn't the church today have the exact same mission? Why are we not living it?

Nehemiah’s Mission

Nehemiah 2:1-20


- Nehemiah is a great study of leadership, but also of obedience to God

- Last time we saw our man Nehemiah receiving very disturbing news

-- This news was about Jerusalem and its apparent fall into ruin; people disgraced

-- His heart is burdened, and he cries out to God to hear his prayer; grant him favor

- We were reminded that prayer is ALWAYS the right response to a challenge

-- Nehemiah’s prayer and reaching out to God are a model that we can all use

-- Today, we will see how his prayer is answered, and how God begins to use him

- A little longer than usual … please hang in there / Read Nehemiah 2:1-20

- Pray

∆ Point 1 – A Conversation with a King

- Our story now advances four months to the month of Nisan

-- IMP: From the initial prayer in Kislev, he’s been praying for 4 months

- Let’s chat … most of us get annoyed when God doesn’t answer in 5 mins

-- It is a sign of maturity to continue to seek after the Lord and desire His will

-- Nehemiah does exactly that by his prayer and his burden makes this obvious

-- APP: Crying out to God in Chapter 1 we see what strategic prayer looks like

- So now, he is presented with an opportunity …

-- Wine is brought to the king, probably at a banquet, and Nehemiah is cupbearer

-- He says in v1 that he has never been sad before the king before today

- Note: This would be considered a capital offense in this time

-- You do not approach the king with bad news; esp. with your own problems

-- Consider, going to work & having a bad day & your boss fires you

-- This would be MORE severe than that – it could mean imprisonment/life

- In these times, the king would also customarily grant favors to others

-- So Nehemiah makes the choice to show his heart’s emotion to the king

- And so the king asked, “Why do you look sad … or … what’s going on?”

-- Again: Servants were allowed to not bring their personal issues to work

-- You are serving the king, and in his presence you are to remember that

- When King Artaxerxes opens the door for Nehemiah, he walks right in

- Notice Nehemiah’s first words: “May the king live forever!” (He praises him.)

-- This would’ve softened him up, for the choice of words that he uses next (v3)

-- “Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

-- It’s a rhetorical question, but it definitely opens the door to conversation

- IMP: Nehemiah KNOWS that this is the king who approved the destruction

-- His response shows concern, but hasn’t mentioned which city he’s burdened for

-- This calculated response gives opportunity for a pivotal question from the king

- V4: “What is it you want?”

- Now, look at Nehemiah’s next action: “Then I prayed to the God of heaven”

-- We’ve been discussing on Sunday night’s the different type of prayers

-- This is a PERFECT example of spontaneous prayer in God’s word

- TRANS: After praying to God for four months, he is given a chance to ask

∆ Point 2 – Nehemiah’s Request

- Nehemiah starts out with a customary praise for the one he’s before (v5)

-- His petition is clear: Send me to the land of Judah so I can help them

-- APP: When you ask for things … you need to ask specifically

-- He’s been praying specifically, so at the right moment ask specifically

- EX: If you’ve been praying for someone’s salvation and the opp. is there …

-- You need to be brave and ask directly: “If you died today …”

- King Artaxerxes then asks about the trip: “How long do you need?” (v6)

-- Nehemiah more than likely set a shorter time than he thought he would need

-- Note: He’d be gone nearly 12 years (Neh 13); doubtful he said that here

- Then he really just goes for broke on his asks (v7-8):

- Letters for safe passage

• Re: This would be journey through very political regions in the area

• If stopped, he would need to prove he is supposed to be there

- Letters for the materials he will need (cannot build without supplies)

-- He would need lumber for three projects he will undergo:

• Beams for the gates

• Support and framing for the wall

• And to build a temporary residence (prob. his ancestral home)

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