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By Tyson Thorne

September 25, 2018
 

Intro Nehemiah Large

The book of Nehemiah records the work of Nehemiah, a Jewish cup bearer to the King of Persia. It was his job to to taste the food and drink brought to the king to assure it wasn't poisoned. But Nehemiah was also a devout follower of Elohim, and as such had an overwhelming love for God and his captive nations Promised Land. As cup bearer, he received a new mission from God, one that was approved of by the Persian king. For this reason he joined the second group of Jews returning to Jerusalem and took up his new mission.

Nehemiah's mission wasn't as grand as building an ark but was a construction project all the same. He was tasked to build a border wall around Jerusalem in order to protect the temple and returning Jews from their hostile neighbors. And protection was a dire necessity. Many of the Persian people's that had moved into what was once Israel opposed the reestablishing of the Jewish religion, often violently. Things got the point where the book records the construction crew built the wall with one hand while keeping a weapon in the other. The fact Nehemiah came with papers from the king supporting the work held very little water with the people in the land.

One might consider it a demotion, to leave work in the kings court to go to a dusty ghost town, but by following God's call he not only helped restore the security wall he also established local government and justice eventually becoming the governor of the city itself. Why did God choose Nehemiah? There is no stated reason in the book, but one can't help think that it might be his prayer life. We see Nehemiah praying on no less than ten occasions (1.4, 2.4, 4.4, 5.19, 6.9, 6.14, 13.14, 13.22, 13.29 and 13.31). Even though his prayers were short, they were frequent and effective. There is a lesson in that for all of us.

Author and Date of Writing

As we mentioned last time, some believe Ezra wrote the book of Nehemiah. This seems to be the modern take, and there is some evidence to that effect but not enough to convince me that Nehemiah didn't write it himself. Either way, the book was written over a period of 12 years around 425 BC during the reign of Artaxerxes.

Big Idea

God works on behalf of his people to return them to their land and continue to rebuild not just a wall or a temple, but a nation connected to two covenants.

 
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