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Summary: Nehemiah’s prayer shows us a very critical fact: Prayer is ALWAYS the right answer to what is going on in life. Whether you are facing a hardship, or a need for renewal, or asking for God's intervention -- prayer should always be our first response.

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Nehemiah’s Prayer

Nehemiah 1:1-11; Deut 30:1-10

Introduction

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

- Here is the critical thing to see this morning: prayer is always the right response

-- Re: Lots of us will go through life acting and solving … more than praying

-- Nehemiah is a great study in how prayer affects the outcomes of difficult tasks

- Read Nehemiah 1:1-11

- Pray

∆ Point 1 – Who is Nehemiah?

- Like most books in the Bible, the author begins with a salutation and timeline

- Nehemiah is the son of Hakaliah, which means, “whom Jehovah enlightens”

- Little is really known about his family, but we do have a clear timeline

- This is the 20th year of King Artaxercxe’s reign; prob. around 446 BC

-- He is residing in a place called “the citadel of Susa”, in modern day Iraq (v1)

∆ SHOW MAP

- This location was known to be a winter residence the Persian Kings

-- And for him to be there, he would’ve held a position of authority

-- Additionally, this is the month of Kislev (the 5th month of the Persian calendar)

∆ Point 1 – Who is Nehemiah?

- From the providence of Judah, comes visitors that he is acquainted with (v2)

-- One of these men is his brother, Hanani, and they have traveled to see him

- What Nehemiah questions them about sets the stage for the entire book

-- His ask is simple: “What’s happening with the exiled Jews who’ve survived?”

-- He also asks about the great city of Jerusalem and its current condition

- As a member of the king’s staff, his question was probably an official one

-- For example, since this is Persia’s kingdom, he could be asking about spies

-- He could be asking about possible revolts and things that could disrupt the king

- Nehemiah certainly knew about Artaxercxe’s judgement against Jerusalem

-- He also knew the king had no tolerance for disobedience to his orders

-- In Ezra 4 we see that the Jews were trying to build a temple to the Lord

-- This was perceived to be an act of disobedience to the Persian Empire

-- He decreed that his army put a stop to it (ref Ezra 4)

- But for some reason, Nehemiah is asking how the people are doing today

-- This ask seems more personal (based on his response to the news)

- He is told that the city is in shambles; the people are greatly distressed (v3)

- If you are in a city in this time, your walls stand as a defensive barrier

-- If you have no walls, and even the gates are destroyed, you have real issues

-- There is no protection from armies and those who would seek to do you wrong

-- Consider: Living in a house with no doors or windows on it

- APP: Once the king’s decree was made to stop them from building a temple …

-- It became a free-for-all and their city was practically destroyed

-- Ezra 4:23, “As soon as the copy of the letter of King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum and Shimshai the secretary and their associates, they went immediately to the Jews in Jerusalem and compelled them by force to stop.”


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