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Gleanings from Nehemiah 1

This is a book about how God: provides, protects and prospers.

 

This book is a detailed journal of:

·      not just great physical victories,

·      but also, great spiritual victories.

 

Both aspects were needed. 

         Determination and Devotion.

 

Great balance is shown between the physical resources and spiritual resources.

 

J.Sidlow. Baxter says:

Nehemiah is a gem of a book in the spiritual lessons which it teaches us…

This rebuilding of the city wall is like a graphic object lesson illustrating those truths which lie at the heart of all true service for God; and he who will give heed to the lessons here vividly pictured will be a wise and successful builder in spiritual things.


God is still in the business of rebuilding and reviving

There are many lessons for the people of God today to learn from this book.


Can I challenge all of us on 2 things as we go through:

·      Our Spiritual commitment to God

·      Our Practical commitment to His Kingdom

 

Consider what I think is a key verse to summarise this:


Nehemiah 2:20 NKJV  So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build


Question: Can we adopt that verse personally?

 

CONCERN

Some people prefer not to know what’s going on, because information

might bring obligation.


Question: Do we show concern for the things of God or the people of God?


Hebrews 13:3 NKJV Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.

 

God wants us to be sincerely concerned about each other…

So much so that we are willing to check in and ASK the questions that we might not want to hear the answer to.


V4 Nehemiah wept


What does God want us to be weeping and mourning about right now?

What concerns us?

Are we content to just look the other way and go on about our business?


TIME IN PRAYER = 4 Months

We might look at the miracle of this book being that it only took 52 days to build a wall. Which was an absolute miracle! 

But do notice that it had a foundation of 4 months of prayer.

 

So right away we see Nehemiah’s Journal, details prayer.

The 1st chapter focuses entirely on prayer.


This was the foundation for the quick prayers later on.


When our lives are committed to God in prayer then we naturally ascribe every victory to Him.

 “Neh 2:8 According to the good hand of my God upon me”.


THE BIG SOLUTION TO BIG PROBLEMS

Many will admit that prayer is so often the last resort in our lives.

And even then it’s not as deep as we would like.

 

Consider the fact that if we have distress in our lives, if we have problems that seem too big.  Prayer is God’s solution:


(Isa 40:31). But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.


What stands out to me in verse 5 is that Nehemiah knew His God.

·      He ascribed greatness to His God.

·      He confirmed the faithfulness of God to His Word.

·      He confirmed the character of God of His love and mercy.


 KNOWING THE CHARACTER OF GOD

Understanding the character of God is what makes a powerful prayer life and a successful life. 

 

Think back to Daniel:

“… but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Dan 11:32, NKJV)


KNOWING THE PROMISES OF GOD

We notice here also that Nehemiah appeals to the promises of God in the form of the covenant with His people Israel.

 

Considering God’s promises in prayer is really important.

We need to pray through these challenges to help us in our daily walk.


IDENTIFICATION WITH SIN

As a model for intercessory prayer, consider the body of this prayer:

Nehemiah prays:

I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father's house and I have sinned.

(7)  We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.

 

I look at the character of Nehemiah, and if he stood alone, he seems like a pretty good spiritual man.

Similar to Daniel. 

One of the few characters in the bible where no sin is mentioned.

And yet, both demonstrate this same principle of identification:


Perhaps as we pray for situations, for hard people, for people we struggle with…

Perhaps instead of just praying for God to fix that person. 

Maybe our attitude should also be… Fix me.


V11 Let Your servant prosper this day:

This is a prayer of a man of action, not a side-line critic.

Notice:

Nehemiah doesn’t simply pray: “God, make it all better” or “God, get someone else moving on this problem.”

Instead, his prayer is: “God, use me to make it better.”

 

Nehemiah realised that his position was to be used for God. 

God had raised him up into a place where he could have the right sort of influence.


So it is with our lives, if we are surrendered to the Lordship of Christ, then we realise that we serve God in any position we hold. 

 

If it’s a shelf packer, a teacher, a policeman, a lawyer, a nurse or doctor, a political leader. 

Your duty is to serve God faithfully in that role.  

You may be able to influence those around you. 


This is a theme of the Exiles.

“For such a time as this”.

 

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"” (Est 4:14, NKJV)

 

I personally believe each one of us can ascribe that statement to ourselves.

God is building a building and you are a brick in that building.

You have a purpose in God’s plan. 

You job is to find out what that is and prioritise it.

 

Used by God or Usable by God?!?!

Want to be used by God? 

Consider the character you need to display to be usable by God!

 

Gene Getz: A mighty monarch such as the king of Persia would select for that position a man who was wise and discreet, and consistently honest and trustworthy. Nehemiah’s position alone reveals much about his intellectual capabilities, his emotional maturity, and his spiritual status.

 

Simply put, Nehemiah was the kind of person who cared.

I. He cared enough to ask (1:1-3)

II. He cared enough to weep (1:4)

III. He cared enough to pray (:5-10)

IV. He cared enough to volunteer (:11)


DEVOTIONAL QUESTIONS:

1) Are we sensitive to the signs of our times with respect to the status of God’s kingdom program?

2) Do we investigate or just look the other way when we see problems?

3) Are we specific in our confession of our personal and family sins as well as humble to identify with the corporate sins of the present day church of Jesus Christ?

4) Does our level of concern cause us grief and motivate us to seek the Lord for His work of revival and rebuilding?

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