1 Now when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the doorkeepers and the singers and the Levites were appointed, 2 I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah, the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many. 3 And I said to them, Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they are standing guard, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches from the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be opposite his house.
- After 70 years in exile, God’s people now resumed their privilege and function as God’s nation on earth.
- 1Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
God put His will in Nehemiah’s heart
4 Now the city was large and great but with few people in it, and the houses were not built. 5 And my God put in my heart to gather the nobles, the rulers, and the people, to enroll them by genealogy.
- Philippians 2:13 it is God that works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
5 And I found a register of the genealogy of those that came up first, and found written in it, 6 these are the sons of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one to his city; 7 Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel was this: 8 The sons of Parosh, 2,172. 9 The sons of Shephatiah, 372. 10 The sons of Arah, 652. 11 The sons of Pahath-moab, of the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,818. 12 The sons of Elam, 1,254. 13 The sons of Zattu, 854. 14 The sons of Zaccai, 760. 15 The sons of Binnui, 648. 16 The sons of Bebai, 628. 17 The sons of Azgad, 2,322. 18 The sons of Adonikam, 667. 19 The sons of Bigvai, 267. 20 The sons of Adin, 655. 21 The sons of Ater of Hezekiah, 98. 22 The sons of Hashum, 328. 23 The sons of Bezai, 324. 24 The sons of Hariph, 112. 25 The sons of Gibeon, 95. 26 The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, 188.
- Hosea 1:10 the number of the children of Israel will be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered; and it will come to pass, that in the place where it was said to them, You are not my people, there it will be said to them, You are the sons of the living God.
27 The men of Anathoth, 128. 28 The men of Beth-azmaveth, 42. 29 The men of Kirjath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, 743. 30 The men of Ramah and Geba, 629. 31 The men of Michmas, 122. 32 The men of Bethel and Ai, 123. 33 The men of the other Nebo, 52. 34 The sons of the other Elam, 1,254. 35 The sons of Harim, 320. 36 The sons of Jericho, 345. 37 The sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, 721. 38 The sons of Senaah, 3,930. 39 The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, 973. 40 The sons of Immer, 1,052. 41 The sons of Pashur, 1,247. 42 The sons of Harim, 1,017. 43 The Levites: the sons of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, and of the sons of Hodevah, 74. 44 The singers: the sons of Asaph, 148. 45 The doorkeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, the sons of Shobai, 138. 46 The Nethinims: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hashupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, 47 the sons of Keros, the sons of Sia, the sons of Padon, 48 The sons of Lebana, the sons of Hagaba, the sons of Shalmai, 49 The sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, 50 The sons of Reaiah, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, 51 The sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Phaseah, 52 The sons of Besai, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephishesim, 53 The sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, 55 The sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Tamah, 56 The sons of Neziah, the sons of Hatipha. 57 The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Perida, 58 The sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel, 59 The sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth of Zebaim, the sons of Amon. 60 All the Nethinims, and the sons of Solomon’s servants, were 392.
- The Nethinims were servants of the Levites. They did menial tasks such as carrying wood and water at the house of the Lord.
61 And these were those who went up also from Telmelah, Telharesha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer: but they could not show their father’s house, or their lineage, that they were of Israel. 62 The sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, the sons of Nekoda, 642. 63 And of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Koz, the sons of Barzillai, who took one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite as his wife, and was called after their name. 64 These searched for their ancestral registration, but it was not found: so they were considered unclean and put from the priesthood. 65 And the Tirshatha/governor said to them that they could not eat of the most holy things until a priest stood up with Urim and Thummim.
- These men were all unique creations of the Almighty God, ones that He made in His own image.
- They could be saved, but not serve near God’s holiness until they had God’s answer about their ancestry.
- Obeying systems that God has put in place respects His sovereignty.
- The Urim and Thummim was also called lights and perfections.
- It was part of the garment of the high priest.
- The priest would ask God a question and God would light up one of the stones on the shoulder pieces of the breastplate for yes or for no. Or He would light up letters on the breastplate that spelled words.
- This method was used to show who sinned at Ai and to show God’s choice of Saul as king—Joshua 7 and 1 Samuel 10.
- Christ’s death for our sin made all who believe acceptable before our Holy God.
- Isaiah 41:4 Who has worked and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.
- Galatians 3:26 For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
66 The whole congregation together was 42,360. 67 Beside their menservants and their maidservants, of whom there were 7.337: and they had 245 singing men and singing women. 68 Their horses, 736: their mules, 245: 69 Their camels, 435: 6,720 asses. 70 And some of the heads of the fathers households gave to the work. The Tirshatha/governor gave to the treasure a thousand gold coins, fifty gold basins, five 530 priests’ garments. 71 And some of the heads of the fathers households gave to the treasury of the work 20,000 gold coins, and 2,750 pounds of silver.
- God keeps detailed records. He records our gifts.
- Matthew 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
72 And that which the rest of the people gave was 20,000 gold coins, and 2,500 pounds of silver, and 67 priests’ garments. 73 So the priests, the Levites, the doorkeepers, the singers, some of the people, the Nethinims, and all Israel, dwelt in their cities; and when the seventh month came, the sons of Israel were in their cities.
- These people had been brutally taken into slavery and stayed there for seventy years.
- Then by the hand of God, the king who held them captive decreed that they be released to go back to their homeland.
- Not only that, but the king commissioned them to rebuild the temple there and offer sacrifices and prayers in his behalf.
- Much opposition stopped the building of the temple for many years.
- Then the temple was completed but the walls were broken down with no dependable gates.
- Now, through the power of God, that has all been accomplished.
- The unfair taxation was ended. And they dwell in their cities.
- It is fitting that a memorial of these people be recorded in scripture.
- It was like when Israel became a nation again in 1948, in one day, by the Balfour Declaration— another impossible thing that God did for His people.
- Psalm 90:1 LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
- 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.
1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man in the street that was before the water gate; and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. 2 And on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation, both men and women, all that could hear with understanding. 3 And he read in it before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law.
- Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
4 And Ezra the scribe stood on a tower/pulpit of wood, which they had made for this purpose; beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchiah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. 8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
- Nowhere in scripture do we see God authorizing men to write their own sermons.
- Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
9 And Nehemiah, who was the Tirshatha/governor, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said to all the people, This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep. For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law.
The joy of the Lord is our strength
10 Then he said to them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy to our Lord: do not be sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. 11 So the Levites stilled all the people saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; do not be grieved. 12 And all the people went their way to eat, to drink, to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
- 1Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow…
- Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
13 And on the second day the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites gathered together to Ezra the scribe, to understand the words of the law. 14 And they found written in the law that the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: 15 that they publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem saying, Go to the mountain and bring olive branches, pine branches, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. 16 So the people went and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one on the roof of his house, in their courts, in the courts of the house of God, in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.
- Leviticus 23:40-43 tells us that the people dwelt in booths when God brought them out of Egypt.
- This was a celebration of freedom from slavery and the birth of their nation—like our fourth of July.
- By analogy God wants us to celebrate our deliverance from sin and birth as His eternal sons.
Obedience to God brings great gladness
17 And all the congregation of those that returned out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Joshua, the son of Nun, until that day, the children of Israel had not done this. And there was very great gladness. 18 Also day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according to the ordinance.
- James 1:25 But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does.
- Psalm 90:1 LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
God made and preserves heaven and the heaven above the heavens and all that is in them
1 Now in the 24th day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, with sackclothes, and earth on them. 2 And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.
- In the Bible God has shown us everything that we are to do.
- First they listened to Him by reading His word.
- Then they confessed what they’d been doing wrong.
- He cleansed them as they confessed their sins (1 John 1:9)
- Then they worshipped Him.
4 Then these Levites stood on the stairs: Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and cried with a loud voice to the LORD their God. 5 Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah said, Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. 6 You, even you, are LORD alone; you made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all things in it, the seas and all that is in them, and you preserve them all; and the host of heaven worships you. 7 You are the LORD the God, who chose Abram, brought him out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gave him the name of Abraham; 8 And found his heart faithful before you, and made a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it to his seed, and have performed your words; for you are righteous: 9 And saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heard their cry by the Red sea;
- Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his compassion he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
10 And showed signs and wonders on Pharaoh, and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land: for you knew that they dealt proudly against them. So you got your reputation, as it is this day. 11 And you divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and you threw their persecutors into the depths, as a stone into the mighty waters. 12 Moreover you led them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way that they should go.
- God leads by His presence. He was in the cloud and the pillar of fire. He was with them. He never leaves us.
- Hebrews 13:5… I will never leave you, or forsake you.
13 You came down on mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right judgments, true laws, good statutes and commandments: 14 And made known to them your holy sabbath, and commanded them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of your servant Moses: 15 And gave them bread from heaven for their hunger, and brought water out of the rock for them for their thirst, and promised them that they would go in to possess the land which you had sworn to give them. 16 But they and our fathers dealt proudly, hardened their necks, and did not listen to your commandments, 17 but refused to obey, neither were mindful of your wonders that you did among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but you are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great love and did not forsake them 18 Yes, when they had made them a molten calf and said, This is your God that brought you up out of Egypt, and had worked great provocations; 19 Yet you in your abundant mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud did not depart from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way they should go. 20 You also gave your good spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.
- John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.
He sustains us marvelously
21 Yes, forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell. 22 Moreover you gave them kingdoms and nations, and divided them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan. 23 You also multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and brought them into the land, concerning which you had promised to their fathers, that they would go in to possess it. 24 So the children went in and possessed the land, and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hands, with their kings, and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they would. 25 They took strong cities, a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells dug, vineyards, olive yards, and fruit trees in abundance: so they ate, and were filled, and became fat, and reveled in your great goodness. 26 But they were disobedient, rebelled against you, cast your law behind their backs, killed your prophets who testified against them to return them to you, and they worked great provocations.
- The ‘promised land’ is entered by believing God’s promises.
27 So you delivered them into the hand of their enemies, who troubled/terrorized them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried to you, you heard them from heaven; and according to your abundant mercies you gave them deliverers who saved them out of the hand of their enemies. 28 But after they had rest, they did evil again before you: therefore you left them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them: but when they returned, and cried to you, you heard them from heaven; many times you delivered them according to your mercies; 29 And testified against them, to bring them back to your law: still they dealt proudly, and did not listen to your commandments, but sinned against your judgments, (which if a man does he will live in them;) they withdrew the shoulder, hardened their neck, and would not hear. 30 Yet you bore with them for many years, and testified against them by your spiritin your prophets: still they would not listen: therefore you gave them into the hand of the people of the lands.
He is a gracious, merciful, and awesome God
31 Nevertheless for your great mercies’ sake you did not utterly consume them, or forsake them; for you are a gracious and merciful God. 32 Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and mercy, do not let all the trouble that has come on us, on our kings, on our princes, on our priests, on our prophets, on our fathers, and on all your people since the time of the kings of Assyria to this day, seem little before you,.
- Astronomers estimate one hundred billion stars per galaxy and one hundred billion galaxies and upward counting.
- That’s how awesome our God is. He made and sustains it all.
- Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 9 he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
33 You are just in all that is brought upon us; for you have done right, but we have done wickedly: 34 Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, or our fathers, kept your law, or listened to your commandments and your testimonies, which you testified against them. 35 They have not served you in their kingdom, and in your great goodness that you gave them, and in the large and fat land that you gave them; they didn’t turn from their wicked works. 36 Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that you gave to our fathers, to eat its fruit and its good, behold, we are servants in it: 37 And it yields much increase to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins: they have dominion over our bodies, and over our livestock, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress. 38 Because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.
- When He prospered them they turned from Him.
- He sent troubles to bring them back to Him—the place of blessing.
- Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are justice: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
SUMMARY: Nehemiah 7-9
- The LORD put His will in Nehemiah's heart
- The joy of the LORD is our strength
- Obeying God brings great gladness
- He made and sustains heaven and the heaven above the heavens and all that is in them
- He sustains us marvelously
- He is gracious, merciful and awesome