A. Nehemiah learns of the crisis condition of Jerusalem.
1. Approximately 1,000 years after the time of Moses and approximately 400 years before the birth of Jesus, the nation of Israel and the Jewish people were in a desperate state.
Him. Their nations were destroyed, first the northern Jewish kingdom of Israel and then the southern Jewish kingdom of Judah. The city of Jerusalem was completely conquered by the Babylonians and the once glorious temple of Solomon was destroyed.
B. When the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, they deported almost all the inhabitants of the city and the region; For about 70 years Jerusalem was something of a ghost town, with the potential to end up like many ancient cities, completely forgotten except by history.
w. When the Jews were deported to Babylon, they began to build their houses there. They settled and many still followed the God of their fathers, but they did so from Babylon, with no desire to return to the land that God had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
I. Some of these faithful Jews were elevated to prominent positions in the governments to which they were deported. Daniel, Sadrac, Mesac and Abed-negotiation became leaders in Babylon; Esther was made queen in the courts of a Persian king.
d. But after 70 years of captivity in Babylon, they were given the chance to return to their homeland, the Promised Land. Of the approximately two to three million Jews deported from the land, only 50,000 decided to return to the Promised Land, approximately only 2%. But they returned, and in the days of Ezra, they rebuilt the temple and once again laid a spiritual foundation for Israel.
It is. The Book of Nehemiah begins 15 years after the end of the Book of Ezra; almost 100 years after the first captives returned to the Promised Land and about 150 years after the city of Jerusalem was destroyed. After so long, the city walls of Jerusalem were still in ruins.
I. Before that, the citizens of Jerusalem tried to rebuild the walls, but failed. In Ezra 4:6-23 we see that some 75 years earlier they tried to rebuild the walls but were stopped by their enemies. No one thought that this obstacle could be overcome, so the walls were in ruins, and the people were still vulnerable.
2. (1-3) Nehemiah learns of the condition of Jerusalem.
The words of Nehemiah, son of Hacaliah. It happened in the month of Chislev,theyIn the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came with some men from Judah; and I asked them about the Jews who escaped, who survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem. And they told me: "The survivors who remained from the captivity in the provincethey arethere in great anguish and reproach. the wall of jerusalemEsalso thrown down, and its gates burned with fire.”
a.In Shushan the citadel: Nehemiah lived inShushan, the capital of the Persians, and lived in thecitadel— that is, the fortified palace of the Persians. Right away, we know that Nehemiah is someone important who lives in the palace of the king of Persia.
b.I asked them about the Jews who escaped, those who survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem.: Nehemiah's body was in Persia, but his heart and interest were in Jerusalem, 800 miles (1,300 km) away. He wanted to know about those who returned how the people and the city were.
I. We might think that a prominent man like Nehemiah had more important things on his mind than a far city he had never been to and a town to which he was a stranger. However, because his heart was for the things of God, his heart was not for himself but for others.
ii. Nehemiah had the heart of Psalm 137:5-6:If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! If I don't remember you, let my tongue stick to my palate; if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my supreme joy. If Jerusalem was special to God, it would be special to Nehemiah as well.
C.The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates burned with fire.: The news you received was not encouraging. people were calledsurvivors; this was not a hopeful title. They were ingreat anguish and reproach, and the walls of the city itself wereinsideis citydoorsthey wereburned with fire.
I. The poor condition of the town and the poor condition of the city walls were intimately linked. In the ancient world, a city without walls was a city completely open and vulnerable to its enemies. They had no defense, no protection.
ii. Ocity without wallsit was always vulnerable, unable to safely house people and valuables. If there was anything of value in a city without walls, it could easily be stolen because there was no defense to stop it.
iii. Those who lived in a city without walls lived in constant stress and tension; they never knew when they might be attacked and brutalized. Each man lived in constant fear for his wife and children. The temple could be rebuilt, but never embellished, because anything valuable would be easily taken away.
4. No wonder people lived in constantSuffering, in constant misfortune (reproach), living assurvivors. God has more for us than just being survivors. God not only wants us to be winners, butmore than conquerors through him who loved us(Romans 8:37).
3. (4) Nehemiah's reaction to the news about Jerusalem and its people.
And it happened that when I heard these words, I sat down and cried and criedFor manydays; He was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
a.i sat down and cried: Nehemiah's immediate reaction was extreme. He not only felt bad for Jerusalem and the people in it; immediately, there was no strength in her legs (I sat down), and began to cry and moan.
b.I cried for many days: God was going to use Nehemiah todosomethingaboutthis situation. But first, GodfezsomethingtheyNehemiah. Any great work of God begins when God does a great work in someone.
I. God arranged this long ago, with Nehemiah's important position in Persia, with a curious heart about the welfare of Jerusalem and its people. Now we see that he was heartbroken by his state of need.
ii. God saw the need in heaven, but little would be done until the right man also felt the need. God would do something great to meet that need through Nehemiah.
iii. But there's no way Nehemiah could do this alone. he had to be oneleader- someone whoinfluencesother people - to make this work. Nehemiah is a book aboutleadership– something we obviously need today. Once the leadership isinfluence, leadership applies to everyone. Everyone has an area of leadership. In some way, everyone is a leader; the question is whether they are good or bad leaders.
4. Leaders must prepare for hard work because it will not be easy. “There is no victory without war; there is no opportunity without opposition; there is no victory without vigilance. Because every time God's people say, 'Let us rise up and build up,' Satan says, 'Let me rise up and oppose.' (red path)
v. Leaders must have a great vision, and Nehemiah had one. His mindset seemed to be: “Through me, God is going to solve a problem that has been around for 150 years. Through me, God will do something that has completely failed before." We must have a vision, a goal, that is big enough.
C.I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven: Nehemiah's reaction was beyond immediate emotion. Often a worry comes up suddenly and then quickly passes. But if it is from the Lord, it will remain and grow, and the burden will remain until the problem that caused it is resolved.
I. We must also note what Nehemiah didNoto do: did not complain, whine or "see who could solve this problem". He immediately did what he knew he could do: pray and seek God intensely in this situation.
d.the god of heaven: Nehemiah also had a clear understanding of whom he fasted and prayed for. There are many "gods" that people trust, but only theGod of heavencan really meet our needs.
B. Nehemiah's prayer.
1. (5-7) Nehemiah humbly prays to God.
And I said, "I pray,SEÑORGod in heaven, oh great and awesome God,Youwho keepsThey arecovenant and mercy with those who love you and keep your commandments, please keep your ears attentive and your eyes open, so that you may hear the prayer of your servant, which I now pray before you, day and night, for the children of Israel. , your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have committed against you. Both my father's house and I have sinned. We have done very corruptly against you, and we have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances that you commanded your servant Moses.”
a.I pray: Prayer is essential to leadership. If your vision is so big that only God can fulfill it, then obviously you must pray. If prayer isn't absolutely necessary to realize your vision, your goal isn't big enough.
I. It seems that Nehemiah prayed for four months before doing anything (Nehemiah 1:1-4 and 2:1). Later, when the reconstruction works of the walls began, it took only 52 days to complete the work. However, this 52-day project was based on four months of prayer.
ii. Nehemiah took his pain and stress to God in prayer, and apparently was able to leave it there. Prayer will relieve stress for him. He may be trying to relieve stress through entertainment, but all he does is divert attention from it. Entertainment offers no solution to stress. Prayer will give you strength; when you wait on the Lord in prayer, He renews your strength (Isaiah 40:31).
b.I pray,SEÑORGod of heaven: Humility begins simply by understanding that there is a God enthroned in heaven andI am not him. Nehemiah recognized exactly who God is, describing him with many magnificent titles:SEÑORGod of heaven, oh great and fearsome God, you who keep your covenant and mercy with those who love you.
C.Please let your ear be attentive: Humility also includes my total dependence on God. When Nehemiah desperately asked Godhear the prayer of your servant(let your ear be attentive... your eyes open), reflected his total dependence onSEÑOR. Only God could help, and if God onlylisten, Nehemiah knew that He would help.
I. God will allow you to be unsuccessful to expose your need for total dependency.
d.Confess the sins... that we have sinned against you. Both my father's house and I have sinned: Humility will also openly confess sin. Nehemiah confessed the sin clearly and simply, without any attempt to excuse the sin.
I. We should always avoidapologizeourselves in the confession of our sin. May we never say, "Lord,conI have sinned” or “Lord, I am sorry, but You know how hard it was” or other nonsense. We can find great freedom in open and honest confession, without any attempt at apology or wondering “if” I have sinned or not.
mi.Both my father's house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you.: Humility identifies with those in need. Obviously, Nehemiah was a godly man; but he openly and passionately identified with hishis father's houseand prayed using “us” instead of “they”.
I. “You never lighten the load unless you first feel the pressure on your own soul. You are never used by God to bring blessings until God opens your eyes and makes you see things as they are. (red path)
2. (8-10) Nehemiah comes to God seeking God's promises.
“Remember, please, the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying:'Seyou are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; butconyou turn to me and keep my commandments and do them, although some of you have been thrown to the ends of heaven,stillFrom there I will collect them and bring them to the place that I have chosen for the dwelling of my name.they areyour servants and your people, whom you have redeemed with your great power and with your mighty hand.”
a.Remember: This is a powerful way to get closer to God, asking him to remember his promises. Nehemiah said:SEÑOR, You made a promise to Moses and to this nation, I ask you now to fulfill it. Nehemiah quoted Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 30.
I. This, without a doubt, is the secret of the great power in prayer:invoke the promises of God. We can get a little angry when one of our children approaches us and says "Daddy, you promised"; but our Father who art in heavendelightin it - and many timesdemandsbefore the prayer is effective.
ii. In Psalm 81:10 God tells his people:open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. God will not open his store until we open our mouths asking him to fulfill his promises.
b.If you turn to me and keep my commandments and do them: Nehemiah quoted aconditionalpromise. The condition was to return to God and keep his commandments. He really had no way of knowing if the nation was keeping the commandments, but he knew thathehe was keeping them, and because he identified with the nation in its sin, the nation can also be identified with Nehemiah in his godly fulfillment of these conditions.
3. (11) Nehemiah prays with his heart ready todosomething.
“O Lord, I pray that your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who wish to fear your name; and may your servant prosper today, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. Because I was the king's cupbearer.
a.Grant him mercy in this man's eyes: Nehemiah concluded by asking God to bless him when he soon spoke to the king of Persia about the matter. Nehemiah was going todosomething about the tragic state of the walls and the people of Jerusalem, and he knew that without God's intervention he could do nothing.
b.May your servant prosper this day: This is a prayer from a man ofAction, not a minor critic. Nehemiah does not pray “God, make everything better” or “God, get someoneothermaking progress on this issue. Instead, your prayer is “God,I useto do better."
I. “Recognition of need must be followed by earnest and persistent waiting upon God until the overwhelming sense of need in the world becomes a particular burden to my soul for a particular work that God desires me to do.” (red path)
ii. “Taking the matter seriously, he didn't start talking to other people about what they would do, or come up with some wonderful plan of what could be done if so many thousands of people joined the company; but it occurred to him that he himself would do something. (Spurgeons)
© 2022 Oenduring wordDavid Guzik's Bible Commentaryewm@palabraduradera.com