S.S.S. Study Kings and Prophets
Family School at Faith Baptist Church
The final return of the remnant, building the walls.
Chapter 1, Nehemiah living still in captivity, but in relative ease with a job in the palace of Artaxerxes the king, inquired as to the condition of his fellow israelites. This shows that even though he was in a great position from the worlds eyes (cupbearer to the king) he longed to be with his people, in the land his God had given them.
When told of the great affliction of his people and the state of their city Nehemiah wept, mourned, fasted, and prayed. It is clear that despite being "well off" in a heathen land, his hearts desire was for his God, his people, and his home. Today many of us are guilty of wanting Gods will, liking Gods people, and preferring Godly places, instead of desiring Gods will, Loving Gods people, and longing for Godly places.
Desire means "a passion excited by the love of an object, or uneasiness at the want of it, and directed to its attainment or possession."
In Nehemiah's prayer we find important clues as to his character,
1. vs 5 He first glorified and worshiped God in his prayer. Right knowledge of God
2. vs 6-7 He then confessed sin and asked forgiveness (including himself personally). Humility
3. vs 8-9 He knew about Gods promises both for punishment and blessing. Studious of scripture
4. vs 10-11 Begs forgiveness and shows a willingness to give up what he has for God.
Chapter 2, Nehemiah unable to hide his sorrow continues doing his job and is questioned by the king. Vs 3 When the king asks him why he is sad, he doesn't lie, or shrug it off, he tells the king the truth, and upon the kings response nehemiah before answering prays. Many times in scripture men are met with hard circumstances, choices, and questions, those whose first reaction is Godward (Paul and Silas in jail, Daniel in the lions den, etc) are met with Gods help, but those whose reaction is bent toward this world (Jonah, the disciples in John 6:66, Etc) Miss out on Gods help and sometimes even bring Gods punishment.
Vs 5-9 Nehemiah requests of the king to go restore Jerusalem, and after receiving letters from the king as proof of his blessing he left the comforts of a stable income, a good job, and all he knew and headed to the place God called him to.
The phrase "Follow me" is used 24 times in the bible, 18 in the New Testament,
Matthew 4:19-20, Matthew 9:9, Mathew 16:24.
Vs 12-18 Nehemiah secretly looks into the enormity of the task at hand. This is the point at which many men would give up. No one at Jerusalem knows what God has laid on his heart so if he quits now, his people may never know.
Vs 19 He does not quit, Nehemiah rallies the men and expresses what God has laid on his heart to do, in Romans 1:14-16 Paul expresses his heart to the church at rome. As soon as he tells the people what he is going to do, there comes opposition. His response is this Vs 20 "Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem."
Chapter 3, All the people rise up and begin the work, here we are told exactly who built which parts of the wall and gates.
Chapter 4, Progress is made swiftly and the enemies mock and assemble themselves but the work goes on because vs 6 "...for the people had a mind to work." Oh how needed this verse is in modern day christianity!
Vs 7 seeing that simply mocking the people wasnt working, and that the walls were already half completed the enemies grow mad and desperate, when the people hear of the plans of their enemies to attack them they responded with prayer, and a watchman read Vs 9.
1st Corinthians 16:13, 1st Thessalonians 5:6, 2nd Timothy 4:5, 1st Peter 4:7. Why? 1st Peter 5:8
Vs 10-11 fatigue, threat of attack, and the reality of the task at hand begins to wear on the workers. Notice in verse 10 a large part of the problem with the workers moral, was the amount of work it was taking just to clear the "rubbish". Today many people, many christians, begin to build up the wall of sound doctrine, and faith in their lives, but sometimes in order to build we must first remove things, which is where many christians quit on church, youth group, "Those beliefs", "Those standards" and on God. We start the work, but the pre building cleanup just brings back old memories, old sins, old scars, and we chose not to face it. 2nd Corinthians 7:1.
Vs 12-23 Nehemiah speaks to the people and first reminds them who exactly is on their side and then, encourages them not to fight for their lives, but for the lives of their brethren and their families. Nehemiah 4:14 "And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses."
From that time on each man who worked on the walls worked with a tool in one hand, and a weapon in the other, and every man dwelt within the walls.
You and I are told to fight the good fight of faith 1st Timothy 6:12, to put on the armour of God Ephesians 6:11, and also to work as laborers in His fields, Luke 10:2-3.
Homework: There is much much more to learn from Nehemiah and the building of the walls, this week read through the book of Nehemiah at least two times and report on a significant event that happens after chapter 4. Next week be prepared to briefly share the event you chose.
Memory Verse: Nehemiah 4:14 "And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses."
Answer/discuss in class:
Why was the wall so important, What are some walls we have in our lives?
Why did the enemy get more angry as the walls neared completion?
Why do you think Nehemiah kept the plans to build secret for three days?
Why do you think Nehemiah walked about the city before telling the people his plans?
How can we do work with both a tool and a weapon in hand/ what is an example of this?