Summary: There are certain critical things in our lives that have broken down like the walls of Jerusalem were. Like Nehemiah was called to rebuild and restore the walls of the ciy so we are also called to rebuild walls that have been broken down in our lives, our
Sunday August 17, 2008
Theme: Restore the Walls
Jerusalem was destroyed and temple burned on July 18, 586 B.C. (2 Kings 24).
Oct 29, 539 B.C., Babylon fell to Medes and Persians. In Cyrus’ first year, he issued the decree allowing Jews to return. They made three returns:
1) Zerubbabel led the first in 536 B.C. (Big gap of 57 years - Esther’s time)
In 535 B.C. the construction of the Temple began.
In Feb 18, 516 B.C. the temple was completed and dedicated.
2) Ezra led the second in 455 B.C.
Ezra left with about 1500 men and their families in mid-March 455 B.C.
In August of 455 B.C., the little group arrives safely in Jerusalem.
3) Nehemiah led the third in 445 B.C.
Dec. Of 446 B.C., Nehemiah hears of the report.
In April of 445 B.C., after a prayer period of four months, Nehemiah speaks with the king. Early September, after just 52 days, the wall was completed.
He faced threat from the Sanballat (governor of Samaria), Tobiah (ammonite leader) and
Geshem (Arab chief).
8 Problems Nehemiah faced in Rebuilding Jerusalem
Ridicule (2:9, 4:1-3)
Wrath (4:1, 6-9)
Internal Strife (5:1-5)
Satanic subtlety (6:1-8) compromise
Lying prophets (6:10-14)
Nehemiah in verse 2 asks about the surviving remnants and Jerusalem. The response by Hanani and the other men who came with him was not favorable. They spoke of the fact that the people were in great trouble and disgrace as the wall of Jerusalem had been broken down and the gates set on fire. This was a serious problem because of the significance of the wall for the Jewish people. The wall represented security from their enemies. Without the wall the people would be vulnerable to attacks from intruders, the burnt gates meant anyone could enter the city at any time. This also meant the place of worship would be under threat.
The bible says when Nehemiah heard this he sat and wept for what was happening in his homeland. He was affected by what was happening. This morning I wonder are there some young people who recognize that there is a problem with their context. Are there some young people who are perceptive enough to see that Satan is launching an offensive against the people of God? Young people, there is a problem and the question is what are you going to do about it.
The wall of:
• Love for neighbour is broken down
• Love for and relationship with God has broken down
• Family life is broken down
• Purity is broken down
• Holiness is broken down
• Prayer is broken down
• Faith is broken down
• Meditating on God’s word is broken down
Like Nehemiah restored the physical wall of Jerusalem and restored worship within the city, God is calling forth a group of young people who he has placed a vision within to liberate Jamaica. Young people you have been selected by God to bring restoration to your fellowman. God is saying to you the vision is in front of you, he is guiding you and you need to just follow his instructions. Restore the walls. Jamaica is in a spiritual dilemma, young people the clarion call today to you is “Restore the walls”.
A. Prayer (v.4)
Nehemiah did not only hear about the problem and cried but he responded firstly by praying. His prayer was focus and purposeful. Young people this is one of the walls that have been broken down in our lives. We don’t pray like we use to or we should. I stand as guilty as you are in all honesty. Prayer it would seem is the most explosive weapon in the believer’s arsenal as we wage war against an ever present enemy. Those who faint in this regard often find themselves weak, depleted and often discouraged. Those who are rich in prayer find themselves strong and full of hope.
Nehemiah on this day acknowledges God for whom he is and notes that God is a God who keeps his covenant to those who love and obey his commands. This is a definitive section of the prayer. This section of Nehemiah’s prayer is drawn from Deuteronomy 7. Nehemiah is setting forth the idea that God will do as he says when we respond to him in love and obedience.
It is in this prayer that Nehemiah confesses his sin and that of Israel before God. The prophet did not exclude himself but sets forth himself as being as guilty as his fellow countrymen. The bible declares that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much. The bible also declares that we ought to pray without ceasing. The bible tells us that men ought always to pray. In the great restorative passage in Chronicles the bible says if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.