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Nehemiah, chapter 1
Nehemiah had a visit from one of his brothers, who came from Judah. The brother, along with other men, relayed to Nehemiah the resettling of the Jewish exiles who had returned from their Babylonian captivity. What they told Nehemiah, though, of the condition of Jerusalem so grieved Nehemiah. For days (we don't know how many days), Nehemiah mourned and fasted and prayed.
Nehemiah 1:4--"When I heard these things I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of Heaven."
Nehemiah is a man of prayer, and of action. He sets his eyes on the God of Heaven and of Earth in humble supplication that God might grant to him a solution of restoration for the Kingdom of Judah and of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah, chapter 2
Nehemiah was a cup bearer to Artaxerxes II, king of Persia. Take note, Nehemiah was a captive in Babylon; but, he held a high position in the court of the king. Nehemiah, obviously, had merit; here is a man, Nehemiah, who is a Hebrew, and who has been placed in a very important position in the king's court. Nehemiah, quite literally, held the king's life in his hands.
After Nehemiah had spent his time in prayer to God, Nehemiah knew he would have to speak to the king concerning what was happening in Jerusalem. Artaxerxes was so pleased with Nehemiah that he granted Nehemiah the permission needed for Nehemiah to return to Judah, and to Jerusalem, to do as Nehemiah has requested of the king. The king even provided Nehemiah with assurances for a safe journey, as well as, the materials Nehemiah would need to complete the needed reconstructions.
Nehemiah 2:6--"Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, 'How long will you journey take, and when will you get back?' It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time."
Artaxerxes penned letters of authorization that Nehemiah carried and dispersed so that all the land knew that Nehemiah had permission to be in Judah and Jerusalem, and also granting Nehemiah permission to gather all the necessary materials that Nehemiah would need.
Nehemiah, chapter 3
As a man of action, Nehemiah got right to work on the reconstruction of Jerusalem and of the walls surrounding the city.
Nehemiah 3:1--"Eliahsib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel."
Nehemiah, chapter 4
In everything we do for the Lord, we will have opposition at one point; Nehemiah was no different. He had a line of opposition that he knew only God could stifle and confuse, and as Nehemiah prayed, God gave the Israelites a victory.
Nehemiah 4:15--"When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work."
The present parallel for us today is that no matter how hard the enemy tries to deter our efforts, our eyes are to be ever on the Lord of lords and King of kings.
Nehemiah, chapter 5
There was action needed by Nehemiah, not only for the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem; but, the rebuilding of the lives of the people. Upon their return from exile, after the Israelites were oppressed on every side by their captors, they found themselves being oppressed by their own countrymen. Nehemiah rebuked the Jewish nobles and men of high places for their oppressive cruelty to their brothers (their countrymen). Nehemiah gave orders for the cancellations of debts and mortgages, thus proving he was more righteous and just than all the ruling men before him.
Nehemiah 5:12--" 'We will give it back,' they [the Jewish nobles and officials] said. 'And we will not demand anything more from them [their countrymen]. We will do as you [Nehemiah] say.' Then I [Nehemiah] summoned the priests and made the nobles and officials take an oath to do what they had promised."
Nehemiah, chapter 6
The more we find ourselves in God's presence, the more persistent the enemy becomes. Nehemiah met with this, as well, on a very personal level. The more into the rebuilding of the walls Nehemiah became, the harder Sanballat (of Samaria), Tobiah (an Ammonite) and Geshem (an Arab) sought to prove a bad reputation of Nehemiah's name.
Nehemiah 6:15-16--"So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When al our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God."
One thing the enemy needs to remember though, is that when he pushes harder to defeat men (and women) of God, those same me (and women) will seek even more after God thus becoming themselves victorious.
Nehemiah, chapter 7
Upon completion of the walls around Jerusalem, Nehemiah appointed new leadership within Jerusalem. Nehemiah, with the direction of God, did so after having searched through the genealogical records of those exiles who had returned from their Babylonian captivity.
Nehemiah 7:73--"The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers and the temple servants, along with certain of the people and the rest of the Israelites settled in their own towns."
Nehemiah, chapter 8
Nehemiah had Ezra read the book of the Law of God to the whole of assembly of the Kingdom of Judah. In everything Nehemiah did, he put God first and foremost. In his personal life, Nehemiah relied on every teaching of God, thus Nehemiah was a just and righteous man. For the Kingdom of Judah, and for Jerusalem, which Nehemiah loved dearly, Nehemiah wanted to be sure that God stood at the center of everyday life and that God would be relied on in times of need and obeyed in all times.
Nehemiah 8:18--"Day after day, from the first day tot he last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God. they celebrated the feast for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly."
Nehemiah, chapter 9
With great men to lead them, people will always be, and stay, positive and compliant. The Israelites were no different. They were led in confessing their great sins to God, sins they knew they had committed, sins they knew were the reason for their Babylonian captivity. The hearts of men always want to be good and to stay good; sometimes, in the midst of life things can become corrupt, as is evidenced with the Israelites. They are quick to repent, though, and turn back to the God of their forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Nehemiah 9:1-2--"On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and having dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the wickedness of their fathers."
Nehemiah, chapter 10
After their confessions, the people of Judah enter into a covenant with God, agreeing to maintain a separateness from the nations that border them and to keep the law of God.
Nehemiah 10:29--"All these now join their brothers the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the Lord our God."
Nehemiah, chapter 11
Chapter 11 of Nehemiah shows a repopulating of Jerusalem from the towns and villages encompassing the Kingdom of Judah; men, and their families, from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin were sent into Jerusalem to inhabit the city and make it great once more.
Nehemiah 11:1--"Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten to live in Jerusalem, the Holy City, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns."
Nehemiah, chapter 12
Nehemiah had the walls dedicated in a special celebration of dedication. There were songs of thanksgiving and much music with all kinds of instruments (cymbals, haps and lyres). There were singers that were brought from all around the region, and the priests and Levites underwent thorough ceremonial purifications.
Nehemiah 12:27--"At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres."
Nehemiah, chapter 13
Nehemiah returns to his place in Persia, after 12 years; it is important that he kept his word to Artaxerxes when he told Artaxerxes that he would return. While he had returned, the citizens of Jerusalem, again, became rebellious and disobedient, not keeping with the laws of God. Nehemiah, again, requested leave of his position in the court of the Persian king to return to Jerusalem and put Jerusalem once again in order as a place of worship unto God. Nehemiah, righteous and just as he was, did some "house cleaning" in Jerusalem and in the Temple. He did away with unlawful work on the Sabbath, he rebuked those Israelites who had married men or women from other countries and he again had the priests and Levites purify themselves from every evil act.
Nehemiah 13:30-31--"So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task. I also made provision for contributions of wood at designated times, and for the first fruits. Remember me with favor, O my God"
The definition of being broken is to be shattered or damaged; this can be physically, emotionally or spiritually. All of us are broken; we are born into the nature of sin as newborn babies. We are broken. We are shattered and damaged.
Romans 5:12--"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned."
The definition of being rebuilt is to have exhaustive repairs made; this can also be physically, emotionally or spiritually. We all have the same options of reparation and redemption through Jesus. He can take us and mold us as He wants us to be; but, we have to be willing to let Him do so.
Jeremiah 18:4--"The pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him"
Jesus died a horrific death on the cross for the redemption of our sins. It was a very exhaustive time for Him; the floggings and beatings, having His hair ripped out of His head and face, being spit on, having a crown of thorns pushed into His scalp, having nails driven into His hands and feet. Could you have gone through such pain? I know I could not. But Jesus, the Christ, came and endured an exhaustive death on a horrific cross to ensure that you could have a rebuilt heart and life.
Romans 5:16--"Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: the judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification."
In Esther, He is Mordecai's courage...
It takes wise men and women to be able to distinguish plans used for evil and plans used to promote the Kingdom of God. In the book of Esther, not only does Queen Esther have a hand in saving the Jewish nation; but, Mordecai, Esther's cousin, showed great "courage under fire" and stayed true to the One True God.