Summary: This sermon is a call from the life and practice of Nehemiah to be men and women of God.
Nehemiah a man of prayer and action.
His name means “Yahweh has comforted”
The book of Nehemiah takes us back to 445-432 BC. Nehemiah was probably born in exile and had never visited his homeland of Judah. Jerusalem was over 1000 miles away.
140 years previous Jerusalem was destroyed and the people exiled by Nebucanezer to Babylon finally in 586 BC (2 King.25:10.) The place was in ruins.
Nehemiah wasn’t the first of the exiles to return to Jerusalem, already there had been two previous returns.
1.Zerubbabel had led the first group back 90 years earlier. 538BC. (Ezra 1v2) and had rebuilt the temple in 516BC..
2. Ezra followed with a second group in 458BC (Ezra 7) but the walls were still torn down and the city was vulnerable to the people groups around.
3.Nehemiah was with the third group to return in 445BC.
Nehemiah the cupbearer.
He is living in exile in Medo Persian empire. He was cupbearer to king Artaxerxes a very prominent role with much influence and great wealth, much like a Prime Minister today.
His Character would be outstanding skilled and trained art and literature of the day, Intelligent, and fluent in several languages.
He held a comfortable and responsible position, yet he never forgot his own country and people. Could it be that we are in comfort here in the west and it prevents us doing great things for God?
What sort of person was Nehemiah? Consecrated to God or an Armchair adviser (He was not!) He was a man consecrted to God and a man with a vision.
Did he just sit back complaining about the whole affair or did he take action?
Behind all his power and opulence he was a man who was concerned about others especially his own people. Nehemiah was a man of action. God calls us to be people of action to do great exploits for God.
C.T. Studd; gave up a vast fortune for Christ said "God is not looking for nibblers of the possible, but for grabbers of the impossible." (He went to China, India and Africa to reach people for Christ)
Just one encounter, v2
It was during his time at the Kings citadel of Susa, it was located 150 miles north of the Persian Gulf around 600 miles east of Jerusalem, it was one of the five capitals of the Persian Empire.
He meets his brother Hanni with other men whom came from Judah. With this one encounter his life would change and God would use him to make a difference to a whole nation.
V3 Hanni a man with a message the truth one of his brothers returns from Judah and Nehemiah questions him about the Jewish remnant in Jerusalem.
V3.The news is bad, the people are in trouble and disgrace and the walls surrounding the city are still broken down and its gates have been burnt. ( Ezra 4.7-23 not chronological)
Despite the fact that the returned exiles had returned and the temple had been built, the walls of the city remained in ruins and the people were in great trouble and disgrace.
We also have a message to tell its good news;
Rom 10.14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
1. Nehemiah was a concerned man of God.
Concerned about the ruined walls V2 @ V4
What is your greatest concern? The European election, family issues, Sunday dinner. Get real with God.
A place he never been a people he never meet yet he was really concerned v4.It was the Jewish holy City. It represented their identity and it was blessed with Gods special presence in the temple. Even though the temple had been rebuilt 516BC the city walls still lay in ruins. (due to an edict by Artaxerxes Ezra 4.6-23. Not chronological)The walls represented a vital line of defence for Jerusalem; They were a sign of strength and peace.
Throughout the years they had faced ridicule
Neh 2;19 .4;1-3.a people who were ridiculed and mocked
Ezra.4;4, discouragement and fear under Zerubabbabel v6 also received opposition v7 calling Jerusalem a rebellious and wicked city.
Nehemiah was concerned for Gods honour he desired to remove the shame of the broken walls. He wanted to restore the reality and power of Gods presence amongst his people. Whilst the walls were down they were vulnerable to attack.
J.C.Ryle wrote, about Gods people “see only one thing”- care for one thing, live for one thing, are swallowed up in one thing and that one thing that is “to please God.”
1.Are we concerned for Gods honour? As we look upon Gods Church in our nation? Are there any parts of it which lie in ruins? Today she is still an item of ridicule and mocking by the masses we need to be people who rise above the scorn and ridicule and begin to rebuild the ruined walls. (Building up struggling Churches and planting Churches)