Summary: There is a spiritual AIDS that causes our spiritual immune system to be broken down.
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Delete Discussion Intro:
1. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome – better known as AIDS. It is a disease that causes “an inability in the body’s immune system to ward off infections.” It was first brought to National attention in 1978, and is now at epidemic proportions.
In 1990 there was an estimated 8 million people with AIDS, today there are an estimated 38 million people with this incurable disease! There have been more then 25 million who have died of the disease since 1981. There was 2.0 million deaths in 2007 alone.
2. Now there is spiritual AIDS going on among God’s people – an inability to fight off spiritual infections. Many believers have allowed their spiritual immune system to be so broken down that they are defenseless against sin, self, and satanic attacks.
3. The need for Rebuilding our Broken Lives.
Trans: “The Jewish people had been taken into the Babylonian captivity and had been captive to Babylon for 70 years. Then in 530 BC the armies of Persia broke the Babylonian supremacy, and the king of Persia released the Jews and encouraged them to return to Jerusalem. Soon some 50,000 Israelites did return and began to reconstruct the demolished Temple.
But they soon became discouraged by opposition from the people who had settled there during the captivity. They abandoned their task with only the foundation having been built.
A few years later, Haggai and Zechariah appeared on the scene, and point out the people neglect, and challenged them to finish the job. This they did 20 years after their return.
Sixty more years passed, and under Ezra’s leadership more of the Jews returned to Jerusalem. Although the Temple had been rebuilt, the walls of the city were in shambles and the gates burned. It was then that God prepared Nehemiah and called him into service during the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.”
Nehemiah 1:1-3 (NKJV)
1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel,
2 that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
3 And they said to me, "The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire."
I. First, we have a Person. 1:1a
A. His Biography.
Nehemiah – the name Nehemiah means “Yahweh has comforted” and occurs some 8 times in the Bible.
Personal name meaning “Yah comforts or encourages” and name of OT book featuring work of Nehemiah. 1. Leader who was among the first to return with Zerubbabel from exile to Judah in about 538 B.C. (Ezra 2:2; Neh. 7:7). 2. Son of Azbuk, “the ruler of the half part of Bethzur” (Neh. 3:16), one who helped Nehemiah son of Hachaliah with rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. 3. Nehemiah, the son of Hachaliah, is the main character in the book that bears his name. He was a contemporary of Ezra and Malachi, Socrates in Greece (470-339 B.C.), and only a few decades later than Gautama Buddha in India (560-480 B.C.) and Confucius in China (551-479 B.C.). Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.
Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah (Neh. 1:1)
1. He was the main Character in the Book of Nehemiah.
2. He was the Cupbearer for Artaxerxes Longimanus, the king of Persia (1:11)
3. He was Called to return to Jerusalem, to rebuild the city walls, and was appointed governor of Judah (8:9; 10:1; 12:26).
4. He Challenged God’s people to spiritual renewal.
5. He Concluded his assigned task and then after 12 years returned to Persia (Neh. 13:6)
6. He was eventually Commissioned to go back to Jerusalem where he established needed reforms. (13:6-30)
B. His Family.
the son of Hachaliah – we no nothing about him except for his name (10:1).
Hanani – 7:2 was Nehemiah’s brother, and would be given the duty of governor of Jerusalem.
II. Furthermore, we have the Time and Place. 1b
A. The month of Chislev corresponds to our Nov-Dec.
B. The B.C., year is 445 B.C., the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus I. This is the 20th year of Artaxerxes reign (Neh.2:1). This was 13 years after same king sent Ezra to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:7).
“Artaxerxes I reigned 40 years over Persia, with his reign beginning about 465 BC. This would date the book of Nehemiah at about 445 BC. He was the 6th king to rule Persia since the fall of Babylon to the Persians. Cyrus was the first king. He was followed by Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius I, Xerxes [the Ahasuerus of Esther], and then by Artaxerxes I. Under these Persian kings, some Jews who had been under the Babylonian rule were permitted to return to Israel and reestablish a Jewish settlement.