Nehemiah Part 1
In America, there have been what we call revivals or great awakenings. Times were millions of people are convicted of sin and repent and we see the transformation happening all over. Even here in Hawaii, 96% of the population was Christian at once time. But eventually, the fire begins to fade as the worldly slowly creeps back in and we become distracted again by the cares of this life. I think I see the beginnings of a new revival. We always hear about the negative things going on but we don’t often hear about the positive, that youth are gathering together to be sent as missionaries and evangelist. Why don’t we hear about these things?
I think in the age of information and social media we are learning that those who control our media and news feeds are not giving us the whole story. One of the greatest wars being fought today is the war of information. They would have us believe that the fire of the church is burning out in America. If God so desires, he can circumvent any plot of the devil that influences culture to draw people to Him in true repentance.
There was a time in Israel’s History after they had been taken into captivity in Babylon that they were allowed to return to Israel and begin rebuilding from the ruins but it didn’t look anything like its former glory. From Cyrus on the Persian Kings allowed the remnant in Judah to rebuild the temple and some of the infrastructure but in Nehemiah time the kingdom of Judah was still in disrepair. As we enter into our Study in the book of Nehemiah which is actually a continuation of the book of Ezra we will see the power of what God can do with us to build his kingdom even when experiencing difficulties along the way. Now Nehemiah is a cupbearer to the King. They ensured there was no poison. It was also a position of great influence 2nd only to the crown prince.
Read Nehemiah 1:1-11
- Judah was his homeland but he has not been there since the exile. It is one thing to be sad when you get some bad news but he moved so strongly in his heart. Why this extreme reaction?
I remember when I received my calling into the ministry. It wasn’t as if God handed me some blueprint of my life for the next 20 or so years. No, it started with a burden on my heart. A burden for that God himself had placed in my heart for the people of Hawaii. To see the lost saves, to bring a message of hope and healing, Eventually, the vision for the church became clearer but it started with a burden for the broken and the hurting and those in need of hope. God had first allowed me to go through some very difficult times and experiences that would prepare me for ministry and then he placed this burden on my heart for the people and so I prayed and fasted and sought the Lord.
This I believe is what also happened to Nehemiah. It was a burden that God had put on his heart which would eventually lead to a vision to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem.
Where God gives us a vision, he will provide the burden to carry it out.
There are many needs and concerns in this world but ask yourself what need stands out the most. What burden has God placed on your heart? It could be to lead people to Christ, to share your testimony with as many people as possible, it could be to disciple, to help people grow in their relationship with God, It could be to comfort others, it would be to provide relief for those that are under financial burden or homeless. There are countless opportunities to do God but ask God. get in your prayer closet and seek him about where he may use you for his glory. For Nehemiah, it wasn’t to be a priest or a minister but to become a governor. That’s right He was called into civil service. Now I know there are some Christians who believe that we shouldn’t get involved in politics and so they divorce themselves completely from the process but here we have a book dedicated to a man who God called to build a wall and become governor of Judea. I would say if you have a distaste for politics isbt that a good reason to change it with Godly virtuous people who won’t take bribes or further an agenda and actually represent the population to try and make life better?
- Prayer brings clarity and opens doors of opportunity. – Nehemiah prayed for at least 3 months before there was an answer chisleve is november-December and Nisan is march/April. We get stressed when we don’t see an immediate answer to prayer. And I think partly it is because we have become conditioned to expect instant gratification. Think about it. If you want something you don’t have to go to the store. You simply pop out your phone click on a website and its delivered to your door, you want dinner, you can have one of the many new services deliver just about anything for dinner. We don’t even have to figure out how to make coffee anymore. You just put a pod into your machine press a button and walla. A perfect cup of coffee. But the spiritual realm doesn’t work that way. And so we have to recondition our selves to be patient, humble and not start to freak out when things aren’t coming together as fast as we would like them to. I am preaching to myself when I say this because it seems I have to remind myself of this whenever some challenge comes my way. Ok, Dave remembers God has been there for you in the past right, he’s been there all the way. He will be with you now. My own little pep talk. But that is ok. We ought to encourage ourselves in the Lord. Because that clarity of the way forward, that open door of opportunity is right around the corner. Don’t give up now.
- A contrite and humble heart
- repentance Nehemiah didn’t distance himself from those he would help. But rather he identified with them. His prayers were not Lord forgive them. They were Lord forgive us. Nehemiah asked forgiveness on behalf of his people. Now we know from scripture that each person must come to God on their own. But there is this heart of intercession that stands in the gap for our community, our family’s. We see this throughout the scripture. The Apostle Paul in the book of Roman goes so far as to say he will rather be willing to be cut off from Christ that his Jewish brothers would be saved. Now, of course, God doesn’t make bargains but he hears hearts and he sends his spirit to influence and draw people. Nehemiah prayed for his people with solidarity.
- Standing on his Word God did not have to be reminded of his promise to Israel but this was an appeal to fulfill that which he did promise.
- Be willing to go. He was willing to be the one to be sent. How easy it is to pray Lord send someone but God is looking for those who would say here I am Lord send me.