Nehemiah 1:1-3:14, 1 Corinthians 7:1-24, Psalm 31:19-24, Proverbs 21:4
Today is the 11th day of August, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian, it’s great to be here with you today, today and every day. What an honor for us to gather around the Global Campfire and take the next step forward in the Scriptures together. And yesterday, we concluded the Book of Ezra, which brings us to some new territory in the Old Testament.
Introduction to the Book of Nehemiah:
Today, we will begin the Book of Nehemiah. And so, let’s just get a little bit of orientation to what we will read. Nehemiah’s not that long of a book but it’s packed full, packed full of things for our own lives. And Nehemiah himself is quite an example of a leader whose goal isn’t to be a popular leader whose goal is to actually lead the needle in the right direction. And so, there’s a lot to unpack there. Nehemiah is part of a group of books in the Old Testament known as the Books of History. And we’re pretty much picking up where Ezra left off, in fact, Ezra and Nehemiah, at one time, were one text. Which leads many scholars to come to the conclusion that Ezra was at least, one of the authors of Nehemiah. Although, that isn’t known for certain, that’s definitely a tradition. Nehemiah, was a Hebrew, was one of the Jewish exiles that had been carried away into exile. And it is the Persian Empire that has defeated the Babylonian Empire so, Persian kings are now in control of the Jewish people. So, Nehemiah is part of those Jewish people. And the Persian kings are obviously more favorable to the Jewish people, even allowing them to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple and worship God there. Cause the Persian king has a lot of different territories, with a lot of different gods, that are being worshiped and so, he essentially, wants all of the gods appeased, all of the gods in his favor. And so, he sent the Hebrews back to rebuild and begin the worship of the Lord, their God and their ancestral homeland. And Nehemiah has been following that story and he’s able to follow that story because he’s a servant to the king of Persia. And so, he hears things, he kind of knows what’s going on. And he begins to imagine what’s going on, he begins to imagine Jerusalem and that there are people there, his brothers and sisters, his fellow Hebrews who are there, reestablishing the worship of God, rebuilding the Temple. So, he’s thinking about what that looks like, and he begins to think about the fact that, the Temple is being erected but there’s nothing to protect it. And the Temple is truly a symbol for the Hebrew people, this is the place where God lives, this is where God dwells, this is where God meets with human beings. Like, this place that’s being built or rebuilt is the place where God is going to come and commune with the people. And in Nehemiah’s mind, it’s sitting there and there’s nothing to protect it. Any band of raiders, strong enough, could come in and destroy this place where God touches humans on the earth. And so, a fire begins to brew in his belly. He wants to see that Temple protected; he wants to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem to protect it. And this fire in his belly becomes fire in his bones until he can’t take it anymore. Which we’ll see. And Nehemiah eventually gets to go to Jerusalem, and he faces all kinds of opposition. So, he’s got this fire in his bones, this thing from God, this calling in his life, this determination to obey, and he faces nothing but obstacle after obstacle after obstacle. So, if he’s actually going to fulfill what he has dreamed of, he will have to be willing to persevere, which we will see that, he is. Because he’s pretty clear what’s happening, his heart is right, he wants to protect the Temple of the Lord, this is God’s Temple. And so, Nehemiah can’t protect it, he can help build the wall, but God will have to show his favor upon them. And so, he believes in his utter dependence on the Lord. And we will see that a wall begins and it’s moving along at record time. And Nehemiah returns to the king of Persia to give a report and to go back to work. Then, later on he’s allowed to go back to Jerusalem, and he finds similar things to what Ezra found. Basically, there’s a strong wall now and a weak people. And so, Nehemiah steps into that and reads God’s law to the people, which causes a tremendous amount of repentance, as the exiles return to God. So, there’s a lot here for us, including simply watching Nehemiah and the… his demeanor, his character, the way that he makes the choices that he makes as a leader. It helps us when we are thinking what might be burning in our belly, what might be becoming a fire in our bones, as we watch Nehemiah face the obstacles that he does. And so, with that we begin, Nehemiah chapter 1 verse 1 through 3 verse 14.
Okay, so a few minutes ago we were talking about Nehemiah and kind of, doing a little bit of an overview of the material that we were heading into. And I mentioned like, if we just watch Nehemiah, there’s a lot for us. And so, we saw Nehemiah get news of the exiles in Jerusalem, we say this spark an idea and then we saw him sit with this idea before the Lord and begin to intercede and pray before the Lord. He hasn’t told anybody, anything. He’s heard news and he’s begun to take that to the Lord because something is bubbling within him. And so, he intercedes, praying before the Lord as the passion inside of him begins to build. Like, he didn’t just get this idea and then immediately run to the king. He got this idea and then immediately ran to the Lord and interceded before the Lord and asked the Lord to make a way for him, if this is what he’s supposed to do. And so, he didn’t come before the king until he was ready to come before the king with this news. And so, when he presented it to the king, he was given affirmation. He was sent to do this. We see that he had a plan, before he ever started. And then, he makes the trip, and we know this is a many months long trip, from the book of Ezra. So, he eventually arrives in Jerusalem, and he doesn’t come with flags waving and an entourage, saying I have come from Persia and here are my papers from the king, here’s what we’re gonna do. He actually gets to Jerusalem and rests up. He’s there for three days. He hasn’t said anything, to anyone about what is in his heart to do and what he has been authorized to do. And then he goes out at night, looking at the walls. Nobody knows what he’s doing. He didn’t tell anybody. He goes and inspects the building site. Basically, he goes and inspects what’s going to need to be done and he doesn’t say anything to anyone, until he’s got his own bearings, before he then presents the fact that the Persian King has authorized the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. By the time he does present this, everybody’s hands are strengthened. Like, they’re encouraged to do this thing and they begin the work. So, Nehemiah didn’t start with a marketing campaign. He started with an idea that he ran to the Lord with. And then he systematically, quietly, step-by-step, day-by-day, moved forward from there. That’s a good lesson for any of us, making any kinds of plans about much of anything. And so, let’s consider that today, as we consider our plans.
And Father, we love You and we are so grateful that You even allow us to participate in life. But as we participate in life, we get all kinds of ideas about things that we would like to do and most of those things we don’t do but sometimes there’s a fire inside of us. May we learn from Nehemiah’s example, about how to walk that out. We pray this and ask this, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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And that is it for today, I’m Brian, I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here, tomorrow.
Prayer and Encouragements will be posted later this evening.