Summary: We must have courage to respond to the truth.
Th: Brave Hearts
Pr: WE MUST HAVE THE COURAGE TO RESPOND TO THE TRUTH.
?: How? How do we do this?
TS: We will find in our study of Nehemiah 1:1-11, three stages that take place in responding courageously to the truth.
The _____ stage that takes place in responding courageously to the truth is the…
I. PASSION (4)
II. PRAYER (5-11)
III. PAUSE (11)
RMBC 12 Jan 03 AM
Today we are beginning a series on the book of Nehemiah.
He is one of my favorite characters that we find in Scripture.
It is really a little known fact, but Nehemiah was not very tall.
In fact, his name comes from being “knee-high”: Ne-hi-miah.
He ranks right up (or should we say down) with Bildad…Bildad the Shuite (shoe-height).
When I made mention of this to someone, this person told me that there was someone even smaller in the Bible: “The man who slept on his watch.”
But I was unable to find him…
Okay…some of that was fiction!
ILL Notebook: Truth (mysterious pregnancy)
A woman takes her 16-year-old daughter to the doctor. The doctor says, "Okay, Mrs. Jones, what seems to be the problem?"
The mother says, "It’s my daughter, Debbie. She keeps getting these cravings, she’s putting on weight, and is sick most mornings."
The doctor gives Debbie a good examination, then turns to the mother and says, "Well, I don’t know how to tell you this, but your Debbie is pregnant - about 4 months, would be my guess."
The mother says, "Pregnant?! She can’t be, she has never ever been left alone with a man! Have you, Debbie?"
Debbie says, "No mother! I’ve never even kissed a man!"
The doctor walked over to the window and just stares out it. About five minutes pass and finally the mother says, "Is there something wrong out there doctor?"
The doctor replies, "No, not really, it’s just that the last time anything like this happened, a star appeared in the east and three wise men came over the hill and there’s no way I am going to miss it!"
Well, let me ask you this…
Do you have the courage to face the truth?
Sometimes, we don’t like what we hear or see.
We don’t want it to be true.
We may even try to ignore it, but it doesn’t make it go away.
This is something that happened to Nehemiah.
He had to face the truth and the question is, what was he going to do about it?
First, let’s get some…
1. Historical Background to the book of Nehemiah.
The setting of this story the year 445 BC.
Almost 300 years earlier in 722, Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom and carried them into exile.
In 606, After Babylon has already conquered Assyria, they come to Judah (the Southern Kingdom) and carry off the first captives.
In 598, Daniel and his companions were taken to Babylon.
Then, finally, in 586, Jerusalem was leveled and destroyed.
Later, in 538, Persia conquered Babylon under Cyrus and allows Zerubbabel in the following year to return to Jerusalem and begin the rebuilding of the temple.
By 516, the temple is restored.
Sixty years later (458), Ezra the priest would also return to Jerusalem because deterioration had once again set in at the temple.
It was his also his determination to rebuild the walls to Jerusalem.
Now it was 13 years later (445), and our story begins.
What we have before us, basically, is Nehemiah’s journal.
He is a Jew, born in exile and had probably never been to Jerusalem.
And he is made aware of a…
2. PROBLEM: A city with no walls (1-3).
The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the capital,  that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem.  And they said to me, "The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire."
Nehemiah lived in Persia’s capital city, Susa, the most powerful place in the world at that time.
And through his brother, Hanani, he receives the bad news.
Once again, Jerusalem’s walls have been flattened and the gates have been burned.
Morale is low, for the place of God, the temple in Jerusalem is unprotected and in danger.
Nehemiah sees the need, but how was he going to react?
He lives thousands of miles away.
And to do anything could be costly to him.