Series of decrees spanning the rule of Cyrus to Artaxerxes are given that allow exiles to return to Jerusalem and restore worship (a place where God dwells with his people).
Nehemiah 1:1–4 (HCSB)
During the month of Chislev in the twentieth year, when I was in the fortress city of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, arrived with men from Judah, and I questioned them about Jerusalem and the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile. They said to me, “The remnant in the province, who survived the exile, are in great trouble and disgrace. Jerusalem’s wall has been broken down, and its gates have been burned down.” When I heard these words, I sat down and wept. I mourned for a number of days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah 1:5–6 (HCSB)
I said, Yahweh, the God of heaven, the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps His gracious covenant with those who love Him and keep His commands, 6 let Your eyes be open and Your ears be attentive to hear Your servant’s prayer that I now pray to You day and night for Your servants, the Israelites. I confess the sins we have committed against You. Both I and my father’s house have sinned.
Nehemiah 1:7–9 (HCSB)
We have acted corruptly toward You and have not kept the commands, statutes, and ordinances You gave Your servant Moses. 8 Please remember what You commanded Your servant Moses: “If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples. 9 But if you return to Me and carefully observe My commands, even though your exiles were banished to the ends of the earth, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I chose to have My name dwell.”
Nehemiah 1:10–11 (HCSB)
They are Your servants and Your people. You redeemed them by Your great power and strong hand. 11 Please, Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and to that of Your servants who delight to revere Your name. Give Your servant success today, and have compassion on him in the presence of this man. At the time, I was the king’s cupbearer.
the WAY ahead...
James 4:8–9 (ESV)
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
1. You will never engage unless you own your guilt in the condition of the walls.
Nehemiah 1:6 (HCSB)
let Your eyes be open and Your ears be attentive to hear Your servant’s prayer that I now pray to You day and night for Your servants, the Israelites. I confess the sins we have committed against You. Both I and my father’s house have sinned.
2. You will never engage unless you know what is at stake!
Nehemiah 1:9 (HCSB)
But if you return to Me and carefully observe My commands, even though your exiles were banished to the ends of the earth, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I chose to have My name dwell.”
WALLS: the walls are not “walls”, they are people!
Ephesians 2:19–22 (HCSB)
So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. 21 The whole building, being put together by Him, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord. 22 You also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.
WALLS: Walls are about MISSION to experience and extend the glory of God
Hebrews 11:10, 15, 12:22 (ESV)
But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
The WAY ahead..
1. Connect with God through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit!
Nehemiah 1:8–9 (ESV)
Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9 but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’
2. It begins with prayer repentance
3. Make a commitment to fully engage mission right NOW!
Nehemiah 1:9–11 (ESV)
O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
Now I was cupbearer to the king.