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Summary: Nehemiah, (flourished 5th century bc), Jewish leader who supervised the rebuilding of Jerusalem in the mid-5th century bc after his release from captivity by the Persian king Artaxerxes I. He also instituted extensive moral and liturgical reforms in rededicating the Jews to Yahweh.

Prayer Rebuild the broken situation

1. Nehemiah 1:1-11

2. Ezra 7:11-28

3. psalm 42

Background of the Book

Nehemiah, (flourished 5th century bc), Jewish leader who supervised the rebuilding of Jerusalem in the mid-5th century bc after his release from captivity by the Persian king Artaxerxes I. He also instituted extensive moral and liturgical reforms in rededicating the Jews to Yahweh.

Nehemiah was the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes I at a time when Judah in Palestine had been partly repopulated by Jews released from their exile in Babylonia. The Temple at Jerusalem had been rebuilt, but the Jewish community there was dispirited and defenseless against its non-Jewish neighbours. Distressed at news of the desolate condition of Jerusalem, Nehemiah obtained permission from Artaxerxes to journey to Palestine to help rebuild its ruined structures. He was provided with an escort and with documents that guaranteed the assistance of Judah’s Persian officials. So about 444 BC Nehemiah journeyed to Jerusalem and aroused the people there to the necessity of repopulating the city and rebuilding its walls. Nehemiah encountered hostility from the (non-Jewish) local officials in neighbouring districts, but in the space of 52 days the Jews under his direction succeeded in rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls.

Nehemiah then apparently served as governor of the small district of Judea for 12 years, during which he undertook various religious and economic reforms before returning to Persia. On a second visit to Jerusalem he strengthened his fellow Jews’ observance of the Sabbath and ended the custom of Jewish men marrying foreign-born wives. This latter act helped to keep the Judaeans separate from their non-Jewish neighbours. Nehemiah’s reconstructive work in Palestine was subsequently continued by the religious leader Ezra .

Nehemiah’s story is told in the Book of Nehemiah, part of which indeed seems to be based upon the memoirs of Nehemiah. The book itself, however, was compiled by a later, anonymous writer who apparently also compiled the books of Ezra and the Chronicles.

People cry about a lot of things. They cry at weddings. Parents cry when their children leave home. Sometimes they cry at the birth of their children and grandchildren. They cry at sad movies. Today we’re going to look at a man who cried about a broken wall.

Illustration

I don’t think there’s any disagreement or doubt that America is in desperate need of a sweeping revival! Like the one that happened in 1857.

- Jeremiah Lanphier, young businessman in NYC, who believed in the power of prayer. The nation was divided by slavery. Drunkenness was rampant. People were filled with fear & anxiety. Lanphier asked God, “Lord, what would you have me to do?” God led him to start a prayer meeting at noon on Fulton Street in the financial district of Manhattan so other businessmen could come & pray. Out of a population of 1 million in NYC at that time, 6 people showed up the 1st week ½ hour late. Met again the next week – 14 showed up. Again the next week – 23. 40 the next week. Decided to meet every day. Within weeks, thousands of business leaders were meeting every day for prayer. God began moving powerfully throughout the nation as revival broke out & began to spread. Estimated that 1 million people were saved out of a national population of 35 million, including 10,000 conversions every week in NYC for a time.

Over 150 years earlier, Nebuchadnezzar and the armies of Babylon invaded Israel and carried many of the people away as slaves. At this point, Cyrus has released the Israelites and allowed them to return to Jerusalem. But not all of the Jews returned to Jerusalem, Nehemiah was still residing at the palace in Shushan. Notice how Nehemiah responded to what he learned from Hanani.

v4 it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

1. How many of you believe that we need another revival like that in our nation?

2. How many of you believe that God could do that again?

3. - How many of you believe that God WANTS to do that again?

4. - How many of you are willing to do whatever God wants YOU to do to bring about that kind of revival in our nation again?

• He knew that a pandemic was coming.

• He knew that a time of massive national turmoil was coming

• He knew that today would be the first time that we would be back together in these buildings for corporate worship.

• And He knew that we would need to hear from Him about how HE would rebuild, restore, & revive His people IF we would hear from Him, obey Him, & adjust our lives to HIS plans as He leads us.

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