Summary: In addition to the rebuilding of the temple and priesthood, the people rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. They did so as a community of believers.
There are many famous walls in history:
* Great Wall of China
* Berlin Wall
* Vietnam Wall
* Wall Street is the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street in Lower Manhattan. Early Dutch colonists of New Amsterdam built an earthen wall for protection here.
* Walmart -- the most famous
* The City Walls of Jerusalem
2. Return from Captivity [Map]
a. Ezra -- Priesthood/Religion re-established
b. Zerubbabel -- Temple
c. Nehemiah -- Walls -- Nehemiah 6.15-16
2. Identity -- city set on a hill
d. An emphasis on Community (Common Unity) -- Mission to reestablish Israel -- as a Community
3. As a Community:
I. They Heard God Together (8.1-12)
A. Power in Hearing the Word of God -- Romans 10.17
1. Audible Hearing that Produces Action
2. Man's words are good -- God's are best -- Stand to hear out of respect
B. The Place of Public Reading -- 1 Timothy 4.13
13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.
1. No personal Bibles -- take for granted
2. Memory -- Psalm 119.11
3. Discoveries of God and his will -- a joyful event
Penny Marshall's popular 1992 comedy, A League of Their Own, sheds light on a little-known chapter of American sports history with its story of a struggling team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league was formed when the recruiting of soldiers during World War II resulted in a shortage of men's baseball teams. The AAGPBL continued after the war (until 1954), and Marshall's movie depicts the league in full swing. Two sisters from Oregon signed to play for the Rockford Peaches near Chicago, whose new manager played by Tom Hanks, is a former home-run king who wrecked his career with alcohol. At one point in the movie, the character played by Tom Hanks reams out one of the players for losing a two-run lead for the team. She begins to cry and sob right on the field. And amongst his ranting and raving, the coach says, "There's no crying in baseball." Now, Nehemiah and Ezra are not exactly reaming out the Jews who have gathered to listen to God's Word, but they do say something quite similar to "there's no crying in baseball." They sort of say, "There's no crying in God's Word, there is JOY." Note Nehemiah 8:10.
II. They Worshiped God Together (8.13-17)
A. Discovery of the Feast of Tabernacles -- "THE" Feast (John 7)
1. Wilderness and Canaan
2. Dedication of Solomon's Temple -- 2 Chronicles 5-7
3. Significance of the Feast
a. Appeal for Rain
b. Use of Palm Branches and other limbs
c. Water Drawing Ceremony -- water and wine poured on altar -- Jesus on Cross
d. Reference to Holy Spirit (John 7.37-39)
B. The Three Pilgrim Feasts Emphasize the Common Unity of the People
III. They Ministered for God Together
A. Reestablishing the Nation
1. Had Built the Walls Together
2. Withstood the Samaritans Together -- weapons and tools -- Nehemiah 4.16-18
16 From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, 17 who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other.18 And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me.
B. Reestablished the Community as a Community
1. Nehemiah and Leaders
2. Fellow Laborers (Nehemiah 3) -- no one was above laboring
3. Daughters of My People or Daughters of Zion (Isaiah 1.8, etc.) -- a title for the poor who lived outside the city walls (Urban and suburban) -- good kings allowed them in the city in times of siege; evil kings did not
1. Conceptualizing the Church (Dwight A. Pryor)
a. An intentional community --the people come together, born again, as members of a covenant community. There is companionship and peaceful coexistence (hopefully). There is a give and take. Each is independent and all have a measure of equality. All are priests in the kingdom. The common thread is the river of life, Yeshua (Jesus) himself.
b. An instrumental view -- Members of the covenant community become mutually dependent because of their commitment to koinonia. Now they contribute to a cause. Together we create something that on our own we could not. We are a community of priests. An individual's relationship to Yeshua is far from the fullness of the church. He saves, not just for one's sake, but to join us to the community so something can be created that honors him and advances his kingdom in the world. It is held that the church is the instrument that God uses to win the lost; to dispense the sacraments; and to advance the purposes of Yeshua the Messiah.