|The Book of Nehemiah
Nehemiah wrote this book around 445 to 425 B.C. His name means âœYahweh consoles.â Nehemiah was a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes I. It was the position of Nehemiah, as cupbearer, to sample the wines before the king would drink them to make sure they were not poisoned. Nehemiah became close to the king because of this position.
By 456 B.C, the refugees who had come back to reconstruct Jerusalem were in an awful state. The external walls of this once grand city were now nothing but rubble and debris. The people that lived within seemed now to be easy targets for all enemies. Nehemiah hears about the situation of his fellow countrymen and becomes saddened. The King asks Nehemiah why he is saddened and Nehemiah is given permission to rebuild the city after telling King Artaxerxes. Nehemiah immediately went to Jerusalem to begin rebuilding the city. In 52 days the rebuilding was finished and Nehemiah remained as governor over Judah.
Nehemiah was also a man of integrity, patriotism, humility and piety. Nehemiah remained with his countrymen for 12 years before returning to Artaxerxes kingdom. He remained with Artaxerxes for just a short time and then returned to Judah where he called his people to repentance. Nehemiah never once forgot that he was an Israelite and that his people were in distress. Nehemiah ends the history of the restoration of the remnant exiled from Babylon. Nehemiah also notes the beginnings of Danielâ™s âœSeventy Weeksâ and provides a great historical backdrop for the book of Malachi.
An important part of Nehemiah is his prayer found in chapter 1 verses 6 to 11. Nehemiahâ™s prayer concerned the loving kindness of God, confession of sin, Godâ™s judgment and Nehemiahâ™s asking for success in that which he was undertaking.
An Outline of Nehemiah:
I. The walls of Jerusalem rebuilt under Nehemiah, 1:1-7:73
1-2: Here we find this is the writing of Nehemiah. It is of the things he has done. The time of year this writing takes place, which would be the ninth month or the latter part of our November and beginning of December. It was in the time of Artaxerxes 20th year, around 445 B.C. in the capitol city Shushan, which is located in Persia that Hanani and others from Judah came and Nehemiah questioned them pertaining to the survival of certain Jews and of the city of Jerusalem.
3: Nehemiah is told that the remnant left is in great distress and that the city of Jerusalem is in need of repair. The walls and gates are broken and burnt down and the people have not been able to rebuild them.
4-11: After hearing this Nehemiah went before God in prayer. Nehemiah reminds God of all the prayers he has brought before Him for self and for the Israelites
reminding God of His Words to Moses also saying if they were unfaithful they would be scattered but if they would return faithful unto the Lord and keep His commandments they would be gathered
together in the Lord's place for them. The prayer of Nehemiah contains four parts:
Father, I see in this chapter that we can pray to You for favor; favor with You and also with man. But we must do so in a certain manner as
Nehemiah did coming to You recognizing Your loving-kindness, confessing sin, realizing whatever You answered would be right, and asking then for favor. Father, keep me mindful to always
petition You in recognition of Your majesty!
Nehemiah Chapter 2
In this chapter we will see that Artaxerxes sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem commissioned to rebuild the wall and gates.
1: Nisan is March/April of the year 444 B.C. This would be four months after hearing of the news of Jerusalem and the plight of the remnant. Nehemiah does not actually say why he waited this length of time before bringing it to the king but it would seem possibly he wanted to be sure it was God's timing when he did so. Waiting until he knew that God had sufficiently softened the heart of the king.
2: As Nehemiah approaches the presence of the king he is fearful because coming before the king with sadness was not a common thing to do. Nehemiahâ™s life could be taken because of his plea he was about to make. The majority of aristocrats would not be behind this horrible plea that Nehemiah was going to make.
3-5: It is of course no wonder that Artaxerxes would question Nehemiahâ™s character since he had been the cupbearer and knew the king's dos and don'ts. But, as Nehemiah approached the king he soon became calm and able to tell the king his troubles because he sensed the king's great concern to know of his sadness. So Nehemiah begins to tell the king of the reason for his sadness which did not have to do with the king whom Nehemiah prayed for constantly but with the tombs of his fathers. He mentioned the tombs of his fathers because all nations viewed the tombs as sacred. He did not mention the city its self at this time because he knew a heathen king that would care not for the city was hearing his words. He spoke his words carefully searching for the right things to say that would cause the king's heart to lean favorably towards his request to be sent to Judah, to the city of his father's tombs.
6-7: It is noted here that the queen is mentioned which tells us this is not a formal time when Nehemiah is meeting with him because generally the queen is not allowed to sit with the king in festive sittings so it must be a private sitting with the king. The queen is most probably Esther and perhaps she spoke favorably to Artaxerxes. The king asks how long it would take and Nehemiah answers him and is granted a set time and given papers to take with him for favor in the lands he will pass through. The simple fact that he was granted the permission to do this shows the great favor and confidence that Nehemiah received from the king.
8-9: The faithfulness and godliness of Nehemiah shines forth in all situations giving him favor to receive letters to give him passage through the King's forest of Lebanon, and any other thing he may encounter along his way. And he did not journey on his own; the king sent along with him officers of the army and horsemen. Nehemiah was given an armed escort; talk about being highly favored!
10: When Nehemiah arrived and word was brought before Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite they were displeased and cautious. Why would anyone want to come to help the sons of Israel? Nehemiahâ™s arrival was most probably viewed as a threat to the power and rule of Samaria over Judea.
11-16: And so Nehemiah was there at Jerusalem for three nights and arising in the night hours he concealed his intentions as to what he was going to do and went to inspect the walls and gates to see how much damage was done to them. He traveled with only a few men so as to not be discovered. He went around the city so he could inspect the walls and gates. And as he continued around he found nothing but rubble and destruction in his path. And he told no one other than those with him what he was doing. He did not tell the officials, priests, or noblemen. He kept it to himself inspecting to see what was required for material and labor to rebuild the gates and wall.
17-18 When he returned to where he was camped he told of the terrible destruction of the wall and gates and the rubble all over and said to them let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. And he told them of the words spoken with the king and his favor with both God and man and they said rise up and let us with great energy and stamina build. And with their own hands they began the great work.
19-20: Once Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab chieftain of Dedan heard what Nehemiah was doing they mocked him and accused him of rebelling against the king of Persia. But Nehemiah quickly answered them saying they had no authority over them. Their God, the God of heaven was their authority and they would arise and build on that authority and they had no place in Jerusalem.
Thank You Father God for letting us know that we also can have favor with You and also with man if we follow in Your divine will for us!
Nehemiah Chapter 3
With this chapter we begin the rebuilding of the city walls and the assignments to each person as to what they would do.
1-5: Eliashib a grandchild of Joshua, and high priest rose up to help in the work. Eliashib would later though ally with the Samaritans and cause trouble for Nehemiah. This shows us that even the priests (pastors) went forth to work meaning that pastors should be first in every good work setting the example for others to follow just as Christ set the example and went forth first in all things working for the good of others. The sheep gate was next to the temple and it was called this because the sheep were brought through for sacrificing. And they sanctified the work they did consecrating it to God. The men of Jericho labored, Zaccur the son of Imri helped, the sons of Hassenah and Meremoth the son of Uriah helped, and Meshullam the son of Berechiah and Zadok the son of Baana helped to make repairs. And the Tekoites helped without the favor of their nobles. The Tekoah nobles, the rich and mighty, would not submit to the work being done on the walls of Jerusalem even by their own people.
6-11: And others helped to repair the walls and gates of the great city even the throne was fortified, not only repaired but made stronger. And with all those that labored Jerusalem was being restored section by section.
12-13: And not only did the men labor but even the chief governor of the city and his daughters did labor to repair and fortify the great city.
14-32: The city was rebuilt section by section by great men and women alike. The workers labored in earnest and with great zeal most likely due to the character alone of Nehemiah. And the Tekoites are again mentioned in verse 27 as giving more of themselves than necessary. Willing to take of the slack of others even though scoffed and neglected by their own nobles who would have no part in the repair of the city. The Inspection Gate or East Gate of the city may have been the gate Jesus came through recorded in Matthew 21:10.
Father, I stand amazed at the amount of men and women willing to go forth in Your name to rebuild that which belongs to You. Father, let their be
today laborers of that same quality!
Nehemiah Chapter 4
In this chapter the Jews are scoffed but with Nehemiahâ™s encouragement they continue to carry on with the work at hand as Nehemiah prays for courage, direction, and protection from the Lord.
1-2: Once Sanballat heard they were rebuilding he became very angry and furious. He scoffed and mocked the Jews speaking out in the presence of all his people of Samaria saying things like what do these weak people thing they will do. Do they intend to rebuild this city in one day because they could not think we would allow them to continue longer? And what is it they plan to make their repairs with the stones from the ruins that were burnt and broken and have lost their strength?
3: And Tobiah who was close by to Sanballat scoffed out saying that even if a small fox were to jump on the wall it would collapse.
4-5: Hearing the challenge and mockery put forth by Sanballat and Tobiah Nehemiah turns to what he always does He prays! He prays to God to make them prey for their enemies. He prays that their wickedness be brought before them and judgment upon them so they may either be reformed and saved or brought to judgment and made an example for others because they not only make a mockery of Nehemiah and the workers but they mock God.
6-9: And now with the wall only half built the people were under great pressure to get it done because they now were under the threat of attack. The enemy was not keeping it secret as to their intentions either and so much prayer had to go forth also along with a constant watch.
10-13: Faltering faith as the threat of attack looms over the workers in Judah and their families urge them to return home to protect their families. As it is with anything we do when we become discouraged or worried over a looming threat no matter what its size the task before us looks enormous and sometimes impossible. And this is what was happening to the Jews now dwelling in Judah. Some of them terrified by their enemies, and weary from the constant labor to rebuild, fortify, and remove the rubble are suddenly overwhelmed and brought to great discouragement. And after being told ten times of the threat of even death by sneak attacks did Nehemiah station guards with swords and spears and bows to protect from a possible invasion.
14-16: Nehemiah, being the person he was, also spoke to them sensing their great fear even after having stationed the guards sayings, âœDo not be afraid of them;â and reminded them to remember the Lord God who is stronger than all, mighty and awesome and on their side. He encouraged them to work and guard for God and their families. And after hearing that their enemies had news of this they returned to work half guarding and half working.
17-23: These remaining verses tell of the measures Nehemiah took to safeguard his workers. Half were always armed, bringing alert to each other and the workers in case of attack. The laborers were also given arms to keep at their side to quickly grab up in case of attack. There were trumpeters ready to sound the alarm of attack also. Nehemiah also urged as many as possible to remain inside the city walls at night. And Nehemiah said that those that followed him remained fully clothed and carried their weapons with them at all times even to get a drink of water or to wash up.
Where Jesus is Lord!
Nehemiah Chapter 5
1-5: It is not certain if the events listed in this chapter happened while the walls were being rebuilt or later. No matter the timing of these events a crisis is at hand and the Jews in Jerusalem are fatigued from their labors on the gates and wall of Jerusalem. They had been threatened by attacks, harassed by neighbors and even loved ones as they toiled to restore the home of their fathers. Imagine the great trial this would cause in their faith and now another great travesty bestows them as the rich usurp power over them in usurious gleanings. The taxes they had to pay caused many of them sell all they had or borrow money against what they had. Some even had to begin selling their children into slavery to pay taxes and provide for the family. And because of the great famine in the land it seemed hopeless for the people people that were of the same nature and belief of their oppressors yet they were being treated as animals forced into bondage.
6-10: âœThen I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words.â Nehemiah is now expressing his great anger over the horrendous things happening to the people he is angered and calls together a public assembly and openly condemns their actions towards the people. He says he has supported many of them with his own money because they had lost their position or property. This type of usury that was going on was totally against the law of God especially during such a time of tragedy (Deuteronomy 23:19-20). Nehemiahâ™s only concern was for the people and for Godâ™s work to be done and he says to the people all the people including those doing the oppressing that he asks nothing from them above what he himself is willing to do.
11-13: Nehemiah urges the wealthy usurious people to not only stop this trend of oppression but to also go the extra mile and restore the fields and vineyards to the poor. He urged them to do what was right in the eyes of God and with, I would say, feelings of fear, possibly great shame, and sorrow for what they did they, spoke out saying they were ready to stop and do what was right and they took an oath saying they would redeem themselves by returning that which was not rightfully theirs. And Nehemiah shook the front of his garment, which symbolized destruction coming upon anyone that should not follow through with their oath.
14-15: And Nehemiah says that for the twelve years that he was appointed he did not once take from the king's allowance. Even though as governor he was entitled to this allowance Nehemiah took not from it even though former governors took from it and put upon the people great burdens caring not for their welfare also but only that of the wealthy and self. Nehemiah again stresses his great fear (reverence) of God and stresses that those that truly fear God will not do things that go against Godâ™s will.
16: Nehemiah says that he also continued to work right along with all the others. And he labored at no cost to any one else. He took care of all his needs from his own resources taking from no one else.
17-18: He says here that he kept at his table 150 Jews and officials. And also he would entertain any others that came to them. This is a true show of
hospitality and also tells us that Nehemiah must have saved his money well while cupbearer to King Artaxerxes because he says he bore all the expense from his own monies not wanting to put a burden
on the people by collecting taxes from them.
Father, help me to be always this humble to care only for the sake of others before me!
Nehemiah Chapter 6
1-4: Now that the work is complete other than all the gates, word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Gesham, and the other enemies that the wall had been rebuilt and no breach was in it other than doors in the gates. Nehemiahâ™s enemies tried to deceive him by asking him to meet them. Nehemiah though realized this could be a trick and sent a message to them saying he could not come down while they work was yet not finished and they sent messages back to him and so on four times with Nehemiah never swaying from his stand.
5-9: Now having failed to draw Nehemiah into the open Sanballat sends him an open letter saying things in a manner to deceive. Sanballat is saying that is commonly known and rumor has it that Nehemiah and his people have rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem to come against the king of Persia. Nehemiah sends a message back to Sanballat saying this is a lie made up by you in order to frighten us and bring about discouragement causing the workers to flee in fear but, my God will strengthen my hands! Nehemiah was letting them know this battle would not be between just men, but it would be against God and God would be victorious. Thank You Lord for giving us strength in our times of need!
10-14: Nehemiah then met with Shemaiah who also tried to deceive him by saying he had a revelation that they were coming to kill him by night and he should enter the
temple for safety. Nehemiah though knew this could not be because it would cause the people to fear and flee for safety thinking Nehemiah was no longer on their side. Nehemiah says, in no
way should I dishonor God and these people by showing such a sign of cowardice. Nehemiah realized Sanballat and Tobiah to deceive him and cause him to sin by going into a place forbidden him
hired Shemaiah. This would cause Nehemiah to look the part of a coward sinful and shameful. Nehemiah than prays to the Lord again saying to remember Sanballat, Tobiah, and all those
prophets and prophetess that tried to frighten him and the people according to their works.
Where Jesus is Lord!
Nehemiah Chapter 7
1-4: Now Nehemiah appoints leaders, gatekeepers, singers and others to keep the city safe. Nehemiah being the person he was knew he had to return to Shushan as promised and so he makes appointments of the most trusted people to guard the city and its inhabitants. Nehemiah wanted to be sure the people were safe against any type of attack.
5-73: Everything Nehemiah did he did for the people because of God! He relied on God to lead, guide, and direct his every move. And Nehemiah says the people must remember that anything good that comes from their heart comes from God. In other words all glory must go to God for all things good. Even though human hands may have toiled they toiled by the divine direction of God.
And now he begins to list the people by genealogy by finding the book of registry. This book of registry or genealogy listed an account of all those who came from other territories. It listed the priests, and nobles, slaves, and servants, men and women, children, and also listed the animals that came with each one. There was also an accounting of the monies given by each person. This record is very similar to the one found in Ezra 2. And they lived in the city one and all together.
Where Jesus is Lord!
Nehemiah Chapter 8
1-6: This chapter begins with all the people asking Ezra to bring the book of the Law of Moses to the meeting at the front of the Water Gate. This was the feast of the trumpets, and the altar was set up and all able to hear and receive instruction were to be there. Any one unable to receive instruction was not allowed to attend. And Ezra stood upon a pulpit or podium made of wood. This most likely is not a pulpit as we know it but instead more of a raised platform big enough to hold 14 others beside himself. It was Ezra's responsibility to read aloud from morning until midday. The other priests present assisted his burden in a show of support and also help in the reading. Ezra and the others were reading and expounding on the Scripture. When Ezra opened the book all the people stood up. What a display of respect for the Word of God. How many of us stand in the presence of Godâ™s Word? And than Ezra blessed God and all the people responded with Amen, amen!
7-8: We must understand that as Ezra read the scripture it would have to be translated also into Aramaic from Hebrew. Aramaic is a branch of the Semitic family of
languages which also includes Syriac and Chaldee. We do not know for sure if Ezra read in Hebrew and than translated, or if the Levites translated as Ezra read. Most probably the latter
is true. And all would be responsible for expounding on the Scripture as they spoke and translated.
10-12: And then they were told to go to eat and feast before the Lord for the day was holy. It was the feast of trumpets and there was to be great joy and thanksgiving. It was time to be strengthened by rejoicing in God and serving Him with a heart of cheerfulness and thanks. It is our duty to praise God cheerfully and with thanksgiving and our doing this will give us strength in mind and body. It makes us strong in the Lord and able to come against the enemy.
13-14: Now all the people gathered before Ezra so that they might learn more and gain more knowledge of the Law of Moses. And as Ezra expounded and gave them insight they discovered how they were to live in booths during this feast.
15-16: And so all the people went forth to the hills and all the cities with olive branches, myrtle branches, palm branches, and other types of branches to make booths to live in during this time of festival.
17-18: And once the people had made booths they lived in them for seven days and on the eighth day they celebrated with a holy assembly before the Lord God listening to the reading of the law.
Father, how slack we have come in our worship, in our respect, in our love for You and for Christ. Father, help us to gain more respect and honor
for You, Your Word, and Your Son in Jesus name amen.
Nehemiah Chapter 9
1-3: The people had been made aware of their sins and you could say they were convicted and conviction will either draw you to God or chase you from God. Godâ™s conviction usually causes a person to see God and want Him, even though they might not always run to Him, but when man brings about conviction is it something ugly and condemning driving us totally away from God, even our thoughts. And now they confessed and prayed, and read the Word of God. These people read the Word for a fourth of a day and than confessed their sins for a fourth of day and than praise the Lord for a fourth of day talk about loving God. This group of people didn't need any hype and glamor to love the Lord. They didn't need theater seating and concession stands to hear the Word. Today we struggle with half a day once a week! Those who truly love the Lord and His Word will have a hunger, such a hunger that they will not be able to get enough of it.
4-38: Ezra 9, Nehemiah 9 and Daniel 9 are excellent prayer chapters and here in Nehemiah 9 is the Bible's longest prayer running from verse 5 to verse 38.
And so the feast of tabernacles has ended and they are gathering together again before their God and the speakers cried with a loud voice to Jehovah. Ezra begins his prayer with an
acknowledgment of the great and majestic power of Godâ™s hand in creation. God created and gave life to all things in the air, on the land, under the land, in the sea, trees,
plants, birds, ants, bugs, cattle, dogs, flowers, and people and he sustains their life majestically and all those that recognize this awesome majesty bow down before Him. We should never doubt the
faithfulness of God to do what He says He will do. If God said it you can count on it happening. God chose Abram, and if God chooses you and you accept Him, He will pour out blessings
upon you. Make your heart faithful with Godâ™s heart and covenant with Him and He will be faithful to you. In this somber, inspiring prayer we see that the first thing happening is
adoration to God is given. God is lifted up in his majesty and omnipotence. He is thanked for His mercies and loving care upon the people, He is truly thanked and welcomed into their
presence. And then they begin to publicly make confession of their sins and the sins of their loved ones and covering all the bases of government, work, recreation, etc. Sounds like they
are not inhibited at all and really mean business with God. We can't make it to the altar to stand in for a loved one for fear some one will think itâ™s for us we go forth. We
must take a look at where we are today! Do we have this type of honor and respect for God! Do we stand when His Word is read? Do we stand or bow in his presence? Many of us
can't spend 2 hours once a week before Him without pillow seats and five or six potty breaks or get up stretch breaks something is wrong with this picture. We have fallen down in our honor,
respect, and worship of our Father God! In this prayer of Ezra they acknowledge their sins, their wicked ways, they call on God to cleanse them, to have His will in their life and they simply
throw themselves upon His mercy pledging their obedience to Him in all things. The ultimate ending in verse 38 has the people wanting to renew their covenant with God they want to renew
their walk with the Father. In other words they want to get right with God! They don't want to wait till they reach the end of the rope; they want to be rescued NOW! Are you ready
to be rescued or still waiting till you reach the bottom? Father, help us to not wait till the end of the line before we realize we need to come
before you with humble heart!
Nehemiah Chapter 10
1-27: The first 27 verses of chapter 10 give us a list or record of those signing the document or covenant to renew their walk with God! This was a sealed document meaning it was sealed by the leaders bearing a legal quality also. It was not just a spoken word but also a written and signed oath.
28-37: Verses 28 to 37 cover those that did not sign the document of Ezra. This group enters into their own covenant with God. They say that if they do not follow the Words of God they will be cursed. This is also a somber and inspiring covenant of obedience to God by a people. They are saying that they will abstain from marriages with the heathens and that they will responsibly observe the Sabbath. They also say they will respect the land and the paying of debts every seventh year contributing also to the expenses and repairs of the temple. They also promised to give regular gifts to the priests. There would also be a giving of the first fruits.
38-39: On the issue of the tithe we turn to Leviticus 27:30-33 and Malachi 3:8. The Levites had to tithe to support the priests and singers. One tenth of the
increase of the land, trees, herds, and flocks were to be given to the Lord as His tithe. It was also possible to substitute part of your tithe with a percentage of money. The tithe was
twice a year one kept at home to take care of the poor and one brought to the temple. The people set out a beautiful proclamation between self and God they are literally saying,
âœwe will not forsake the house of our God!â No matter what happens we will honor and support the house of God from generation to generation. The house of God is not just a
church building it is something constant and remains within each Believer! We are the house the temple of God. Will we forsake our self?
Nehemiah Chapter 11
1-2: And now the city of Jerusalem is completed, the walls are up, the gates and doors are ready but work is still needed, the inside is full of rubble, homes are in a state of destruction and repair of the inside of the city is desperately needed. Many come voluntarily to dwell in the Holy city; lots are cast for others to populate the city. 1 out of every 10 people will come back to the city to repopulate it. Many came willingly, others only because their lot was drawn.
3-24: These verses list the people that must have already been living in Jerusalem or the ones chosen by lots. The number includes laymen, Levites, priests, gatekeepers, servants, and others. Their number totaled nearly 3000.
25-36: These verses cover the number of people dwelling outside the city of Jerusalem. This number covers the territory of Judah and Benjamin. No actual number is given for the amount of people living outside Jerusalem at this time.
Where Jesus is Lord!
Nehemiah Chapter 12
1-26: Here in chapter 12 we find the first 21 verses listing the priests, prophets, high priests and Levites that came with Zerubbabel and Joshua.
27: The rededication of the walls of Jerusalem, the Holy City. This is a time of celebration and great rejoicing for God has blessed and the city of the Holy Temple of God has been rebuilt.
28-29: These verses list the names of the cities around Jerusalem from which people came to assemble for the blessing of the wall.
30-43: Nehemiah is not just thanking God but He is truly showing his graciousness and admitting that nothing could have been accomplished without Godâ™s loving intervention. The people purified themselves before the Lord. Setting them apart for service to the Lord. And the strength of the walls was shown by the great number that went upon the wall and walked for it was made wide enough to allow men to walk in both directions and strong enough to support a great number of men at one time. And they all gathered together in a great assembly and even the children with them and all recognized the greatness of this gathering and they rejoiced for the Lord is Good and merciful unto them.
44-47: Here we see in these verses that Nehemiah is reinstating the type of worship David did in singing praises to God around day and night. We see the people lovingly supporting the priest and Levites and praising and worshipping the Father God. And this seems like the most glorious ending to any book, but it is not the ending, Nehemiahâ™s book does not end with this time of rejoicing, it goes on for another chapter and we must read this chapter and prayerfully we will recognize things in this coming chapter and learn from it.
Father, help us to learn from others, help us to learn from the examples given us in Your Word!
Nehemiah Chapter 13
1-3: These verses inform us of how the people discovered the wrong they had done. It came from the reading of the Word of God from the book of Moses. In other words, as they as a body of Believers assembled together for the reading of the Word, God exposed their sin. This is how the Holy Spirit works in us today convicting our heart of the sin therein. And this happens as we read the Word of God, hear the Word of God, meditate in prayer before God. And than the task at hand to us as it was to the people of Nehemiahâ™s time is to apply the truths of God to our life and make changes. The Ammonites and Moabites were family! These were descendants from the incestuous relationship of Lot with his daughters. The Ammonites and Moabites refused the children of Israel passage though as they were heading to the Promised Land and Balak charged Balaam to curse Israel but instead of a curse he blesses them. The sin has been made known and now the act of applying the cure to their life must take place. This would be a separation of them from the heathen world. To deal with sin is not an easy task. To step into sin is simplicity, to escape from it is burdensome but must happen to secure our relationship with God.
4-7: Now we find something very troubling happening. Eliashib, having been appointed over the chambers of the house of God, was a relative to Tobiah. Tobiah of course was a thorn in Nehemiahâ™s side in the building of the temple. He also was an Ammonite and by Godâ™s law not allowed in the house of God or to fellowship with the people of God. Eliashib though makes room for Tobiah in one of the storage rooms located round about the temple. So now Tobiah the enemy was sleeping in the storage room and Nehemiah was not there at this time he was with the King, Artaxerxes, at that time. Nehemiah though asked the king to give him leave to return and when he returns he discovers what has happened. This is similar to what happens some times in our churches of today. The pastor or leader goes away for a time leaving some one trusted in charge and that some one desires more and joins forces with the enemy and in some instances bringing devastation to the house of God.
8-9: What Nehemiah discovered when returning to Jerusalem was very distasteful to him. He was very saddened. And instantly had Tobiah removed along with his belongings. Nehemiah than had the area cleansed and moved back in all the things that belonged in that room. What see happening here is sin and the removal of sin. Nehemiah returned and found that a sin had been committed, he didn't stop and pray about what to do about the sin he knew what to do sin is sin and itâ™s no good so get rid of it. What do we do in today's world when confronted with sin? Jimmie comes over and says, âœI'm doing some things that are against God what shall I do?â And Gary says, âœWell, tell me what it is and than let's pray about it.â Why? Why do you need to pray? Did Nehemiah stop and think it over and than pray to see what needed to be done? No! This was nothing to pray and think over this was a sin and sin is wrong and Nehemiah said get rid of it! And that is what Gary needs to say to Jimmie âœStop the sin right now! Get it out of your life and ask God to forgive you!â And Nehemiah went a little further than just telling the get rid of the sin, he told them to clean the room, to cleanse it thoroughly and this is how we have to do when we get rid of sin cleanse our self thoroughly!
10: And next Nehemiah discovers that those that said they were going to support certain ones of Godâ™s house had not done so causing them to have to stop what they were doing and go to their own fields to provide for themselves. And when we do not provide for the kingdom of Christ locally and around the world we cause them to have to stop what they are doing or cut back on some things they are doing and than the work of God does not go forth as it should or could.
11-14: Next Nehemiah went to the officials and reprimanded them asking why they allowed the house of the Lord to be forsaken and restored them to their posts. And than all of Judah brought the tithe to the storehouses and Nehemiah appointed Shelemiah, the priest, Zadok, the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites along with Hanan son of Zaccur to watch the storehouses.
15-18: And soon Nehemiah witnessed more breaches of the Law of God. He found some that were working on the Sabbath and this went against the Law of God as written in Exodus 31:16-17.
19: And than Nehemiah ordered the gates closes as darkness drew near and order that no one leave or enter the city till after the Sabbath.
20-22: And also once the gates were locked no merchants or traders could rest outside the city without breaking the Sabbath. Nehemiah didn't want this because it would be a temptation to the people to go outside the city walls to purchase things etc. And Nehemiah ordered the Levites to purify themselves and watch the gates.
23-31: And as if there had not already been enough sin found out Nehemiah now sees that the sin of mixed marriages was now running rampant again through the land and in the city. The children of these marriages could not speak Hebrew. And Nehemiah took very harsh measures striking some of them and pulling the hair out of their head for some of them and told them they must promise to never give their daughters again to pagan marriages or take daughters from pagan families for their sons. Solomon who was one of the wisest men that lived, yet, he fell prey to the evils of sin by marrying pagan women. God does not want sin in your life and He gave us laws to obey and He gave them for a reason to keep us safe from harm, destruction, and death. We find also that one of the priests gave his son to Sanballatâ™s daughter. You remember Sanballat right another enemy trying to throw a wrench into the rebuilding of the Holy City. The priests, men of God, falling prey to the wiles and sins of the world breaking the Law of God! And today in our society we find men and women of God breaking the Law of God falling into sexual and other sins. Lord God, keep us pure and holy before You, let us always keep our eyes focused on You and mostly dear Lord help us that do Your work to keep ourselves above reproach always. Father, if we Your leaders and chosen ones cannot set an example how can we expect the people to follow the example of Christ we ask them to follow. Nehemiah was a great leader, strong, willing to set an example and live that which he preached and taught. Nehemiah came in the name of the Lord and conquered defeat even in the face of great evil against him. Nehemiah brought a cleansing to the city of Jerusalem. He was led by God and stood tall and strong for God in all that he did and at the close of this book he says to God, âœRemember me, O my God, for Good.â
Father, that is what I also ask of You remember me for good, keep my eyes on You, my feet going forward, my heart pierced for Your love and
devotion always and forever in Jesus name Amen!