The Book of Nehemiah is a spiritual gem in its lessons for the Christian. It is the last of the historic books of the Old Testament and tells how the repatriated Jews rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem under the able leadership of Nehemiah. The autobiography of Nehemiah is most admirable and though an exile he rose to an eminent position as cup-bearer to the mighty Persian King, Artaxerxes.
Key Word: Prayer; Key Verse: (6:3).
The Personality of this man is that of one of the noblest patriots in Jewish History. Nehemiah was heart broken by the reports that came back from Babylon to Jerusalem telling of the desolation of the city of his fathers. The walls were still unbuilt; the temple and its service neglected; Ezra no longer governor; the people were in great affliction and reproach. The Arabs were encamped close to Jerusalem, Sanballat and his allies were all powerful, and priests and laity alike had gone back to their heathen ways and customs, all the company that had under Zerubbabel and Ezra gone back to Jerusalem. Though comfortably situated in the palace at Shushan Nehemiah’s heart was in the ruined city of Jerusalem. Like Moses he wanted to be with the people of God. His zeal and patriotic spirit made him desire to see for himself, and to act upon the providential leadings of His God. His deep feelings towards His people and their place won for him permission to return to the city of Jerusalem. The Book opens in the reign of Xerxes, and ends in the reign of Darius II. Throughout the Book, Nehemiah is seen as a man of sterling integrity, intense earnestness, unlimited fidelity, and self denial. He was familiar with the Word and character of God, unswerving in his devotion to God and Israel, untiring, unwavering, uncompromising, a most practical man in godliness and service for God.
Nehemiah was a man of prayer at all times, and under all circumstances. He lived near the mercy seat and constantly sought the face of God for help and wisdom in the prosecution of His work. Note then—i:5-11; ii:4,9; v:19; vi:9,14; xiii:14, 22,29,31.
He was a man of purpose. He put his shoulder to the wheel and saw the ship of Jewish hope set sail. So thoroughly did Nehemiah imbue his countrymen with his zeal that in the remarkablely short time of 52 days the colossal task of building the walls and gates of Jerusalem was completed. He is a model to study in working for God. Though he met with tremendous opposition the work was pushed towards completion success fully with trowel in one hand and sword in the other.
He not only had trouble without by a growing army of antagonists, but also like the early Church he had trouble with the “loan sharks” or forty thieves within. In the commencing of his task he bowed in prayer and at the end he was chasing enemies from the temple. With courage and faith in God he entered into his task with nobility and solemnity (6:3); all knew he was sent of God. For all the help received he attributed the glory to His God.
Nehemiah: The Model Worker
1. The key note of his life. (xi:3).
2. The secret of his unction (i:5-11).
3. The persistence of his course (ii:5).
4. The humility of his life and labours (i:5;7:5-9).
5. The singleness of eye and fixity of heart (ii:17-18).
6. The devoted love to the people (i:4).
7. The success of his work (xiii).
The Construction Of The Walls (I-VII).
1. Preparation ---i-ii
2. Construction ---iii
3. Opposition ---iv-vi:14
4. Completion--- vi:15; vii:3
The Consecration Of The People (VIII.-X).
1. The Scriptures ---viii.
2. The Supplication ---ix
3. The Seal of God --- x.
The Completion Of The Work (XI.XIII).
1. The Census of the People - - -xi.
2. The Dedication of the Wall - -xii.
3. The Purity of the People - - - -xiii.