1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. In the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, who were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the its gates are burned with fire.
- God allows affliction so that we will open our ears and listen to Him (Job 36:15).
- (In 538 BC Ezra went to Jerusalem and began building the temple. They were delayed for 18 years by opposition from the enemy. They finished building the temple in 516 BC and Ezra returned to Babylon and brought more captives back to Jerusalem in 458 BC.)
- The events of this chapter happened to Nehemiah around 414 BC.
- Jerusalem is like our mind.
- God wants it full of peace. The word Jerusalem means peace or flow peacefully.
- God’s word builds walls around our thoughts.
- When parts of His word are missing from our thinking, the enemy can trample the streets disrupting our peace.
- When we know God’s truth about all areas of life, then the wall is built.
- Our freewill chooses to keep the gate closed and not let certain false thinking enter.
- We choose what we think about.
- Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
God is awesome
4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned certain days. I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven, 5 and said, I beg you, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, that keeps covenant and love for them that love him and observe his commandments: 6 Let your ear now be attentive, and your eyes open, that you may hear the prayer of your servant which I pray before you now, day and night, for the children of Israel your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against you: both I and my father's house have sinned.
- Our God who knows all things and has all the power in the universe is awesome.
- And yet how precious and tender is His love for us tiny creatures that He would send His infinitely precious Son to die for us.
- He forgives sin that we confess to Him.
- I John 1:9-10 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
7 We have acted very wickedly against you, and have not kept the commandments, or the statutes, or the judgments, which you commanded your servant Moses. 8 Remember, I beg you, the word that you commanded your servant Moses saying, If you transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: 9 But if you turn to me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were those of you cast out to the uttermost part of the heaven, yet I will gather them from there, and will bring them to the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
- Keeping God’s commandments does not mean sinless living, but handling sin in the manner prescribed by God.
- He set up a system of animal sacrifices which the people were to observe when they sinned which demonstrated His promise of a deliverer who would take away their sin.
- John 1:29 Behold the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
He redeemed us by His great power and strong hand
10 Now these are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power, and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, I beg you, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants, who desire to fear your name:, I beg you, prosper your servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer.
- Psalm 111:10 fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all those that do his commandments: his praise endures forever.
- 1Peter 1:18 For you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your empty way of life received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.
1 In the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, when wine was before him, I took the wine,
and gave it to the king. Now before this time I had not been sad in his presence. 2 So the king said to me, Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing else but sorrow of heart.
Then I was very afraid. 3 And said to the king, Let the king live forever: why shouldn’t my face be sad when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, lies waste, and its gates are consumed with
fire? 4 Then the king said to me, What is your request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I request that you
send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs that I may rebuild it.
God moves the hearts of kings to do His will
6 And the king said to me, (his wife also sitting by him,) How long will your journey be? And when will you return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. 7 Moreover I said to the king, If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over until I come to Judah; 8 And a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king's forest, to give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace belonging to the house, for the wall of the city, and for the house that I will enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.
- Matthew 21:22 all things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
9 Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me. 10 When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that a man to came seek the welfare of the children of Israel.
- God arranged a military escort for Nehemiah.
He puts His will on our hearts
11 So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 I got up in the night, I and a few men with me. I had not told any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any animal with me, except the animal that I rode on. 13 I went out by night by the gate of the valley, before the dragon well, to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down, and the gates that were consumed with fire.14 Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king's pool: but there was no place for the animal that I rode on to pass. 15 Then went I up in the night by the brook, and examined the wall, and turned back and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned. 16 The rulers did not know where I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, or to the priests, or to the nobles, or to the rulers, or to the rest that did the work. 17 Then said I to them, You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, so that we are no longer a reproach. 18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good on me; and also the king's words that he had spoken to me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What are you doing? Will you rebel against the king?__
The God of heaven will prosper us
20 Then answered I them and said to them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we, his servants will rise up and build: but you have no portion, nor right, nor memorial in Jerusalem.
- Psalm 1 and Joshua 1:8 explain God’s key to prosperity in every area of life.
- Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law he meditates day and night. 3 he will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in its season; his leaf will not wither; and whatever he does will prosper.
1 Then Eliashib, the high priest, rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up its doors; even to the tower of Meah they sanctified it, to the tower of Hananeel. 2 And next to him the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur, the son of Imri, built. 3. But the sons of Hassenaah, the sons of Hassenaah, built the fish gate, who also laid its beams, and set up its doors, its locks, and its bars.
- When the walls were built to surround Jerusalem and the Lord dwelt within, the people were safe (Nehemiah 1:3, 3:3).
- God’s truths are the building blocks that fortify our heart’s from being trampled and plundered by evil.
- In Matthew 4:4 Jesus met every temptation of Satan with the word of God. “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
4 And next to them Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, repaired. And next to them Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel repaired. And next to them Zadok, the son of Baana, repaired. 5 And next to them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles did not put their necks to the work of their Lord. 6 Moreover the old gate was repaired by Jehoiada ,the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah; they laid its beams, and set up its doors, its locks, and its bars.
- This work was for God.
- The old gate can symbolize our battle with the old nature and the things in our past that would hinder us from loving God with all our hearts.
- Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would.
7 And next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite, Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah, to the throne of the governor on this side the river. 8 Next to him Uzziel, the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths repaired. Next to him also Hananiah, the son of one of the apothecaries repaired, and they fortified Jerusalem to the broad wall. 9 And next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem repaired.10 And next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph repaired opposite his house. And next to him Hattush, the son of Hashabniah, repaired. 11 Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hashub the son of Pahath-moab, repaired the second measure, and the tower of the furnaces.12 And next to him Shallum, the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem repaired, he and his daughters. 13 The valley gate was repaired by Hanun, and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it, set up its doors, its locks, its bars, and a thousand cubits on the wall to the dung gate. 14 But the dung gate was repaired by Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem; he built it, and set up its doors, its locks, and its bars. 15 But the gate of the fountain was repaired by Shallun, the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, covered it, set up its doors, its locks, and its bars, and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king's garden, and to the stairs that go down from the city of David. 16 After him, Nehemiah, the son of Azbuk, repaired, the ruler of the half part of Bethzur, to the place over against the tombs of David, to the pool that was made, and to the house of the mighty. 17 After him the Levites repaired, Rehum, the son of Bani. Next to him Hashabiah, the ruler of the half part of Keilah, repaired in his part. 18 After him their brothers repaired, Bavai the son of Henadad, the ruler of the half part of Keilah. 19 And next to him Ezer, the son of Jeshua, the ruler of Mizpah, repaired another piece opposite the ascent to the armory at the turning of the wall. 20 After him Baruch, the son of Zabbai, earnestly repaired the other piece, from the turning of the wall to the door of the house of Eliashib, the high priest. 21 After him Meremoth, the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, repaired another piece, from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib.
- The name ‘Eliashib’ means God will restore.
22 And after him the priests, the men of the plain repaired. 23 After him Benjamin and Hashub repaired opposite their house. After him Azariahl, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, repaired by his house. 24 After him Binnui, the son of Henadad, repaired another piece, from the house of Azariah to the turning of the wall, to the corner. 25 Palal, the son of Uzai, opposite the turning of the wall, and the tower which lies out from the king's high house that was by the court of the prison. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh. 26 Moreover the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel, to the place opposite the water gate toward the east, and the projecting tower. 27 After them the Tekoites repaired another piece, opposite the great projecting tower to the wall of Ophel. 28 From above the horse gate the priests repaired, every one opposite his house. 29 After them Zadok the son of Immer repaired opposite his house. After him also Shemaiah, the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the east gate repaired. 30 After him Hananiah, the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another piece. After him Meshullam, the son of Berechiah, repaired opposite his chamber. 31 After him Malchiah, the goldsmith's son, to the place of the Nethinims, and of the merchants, repaired opposite the gate Miphkad, and to the ascent of the corner. And the goldsmiths and the merchants repaired between the ascent of the corner to the sheep gate.
- ‘Miphkad’ means to ascend or upper utterance.
- The deeper we grow into God, the more our words reflect eternal, heavenly things.
- Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
SUMMARY: Nehemiah 1-3
- The LORD is awesome
- He redeemed us by His great power and outstretched arm
- He moves the hearts of kings to do His will
- He puts His will on our hearts
- The God of heaven will prosper us