Nehemiah part 2
by John Thomas Lowe
Nehemiah says that he did not take advantage of food and land allotments that were allowed him due to his office because there was already such a tremendous burden on the people of his province (Nehemiah 5:14–19). He also made the other nobles and officials forgive all outstanding debts and ordered them to return all land and money taken as taxes so the people would be able to feed themselves and their families.
The hurried work of repairing and rebuilding Jerusalem's walls and gates was completed in just 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15). Another of Nehemiah's accomplishments was to make a record and genealogy of all the nobles, officials, and people who were then living in Judah.
The Book of Nehemiah is usually read together with the Book of Ezra as one long book. Nehemiah 8–10 is considered part of the so-called "Ezra Source" (which includes Ezra 7–10), while Nehemiah 1–7 and 11–13 are from a separate source that scholars call the "Nehemiah Memoir." The Nehemiah Memoir is written in the first person and recounts details of Nehemiah's life, deeds, and administration of the province, probably meant to serve as an official record of his accomplishments to be deposited in the Temple archives (by genre). Prayers punctuate the accounts to God, such as "Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people" (Nehemiah 5:19).
The following text is the first portion of the Nehemiah Memoir (1:1–7:4) from the New Revised Standard Version. In it, Nehemiah describes his efforts to rebuild the city, even in the face of hostile neighbors.
How do I apply this?
The book of Nehemiah shows us the kind of significant impact one individual can have on a nation. Nehemiah served in secular offices, using his position to bring back to the Jews order, stability, and proper focus on God.
God uses all manner of people in all manner of places doing all manner of work. Do you feel you must be "in ministry" to serve God? Be encouraged; Your vocation does not limit him. God has placed you where you are for a purpose. Have this attitude about your work: "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father" (Colossians 3:17).
Date of Writing:
The Book of Nehemiah was likely written between 445 and 420 B.C.
Nehemiah 1:3, "They said to me, 'Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.'"
Nehemiah 1:11, "O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man."
Nehemiah 6:15-16, "So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
Nehemiah was a man of prayer, and he prayed passionately for his people (Nehemiah 1). His zealous intercession for God's people foreshadows our great Intercessor, Jesus Christ, who prayed fervently for His people in His high-priestly prayer in John 17. Both Nehemiah and Jesus had a burning love for God's people, which they poured out in prayer to God, interceding for them before the throne
Nehemiah led the Israelites into respect and love for the text of Scripture. Because of his love for God and his desire to see God honored and glorified, Nehemiah led the Israelites towards the faith and obedience God had desired for them for so long. In the same way, Christians are to love and revere the truths of Scripture, commit them to memory, meditate on them day and night, and turn to them to fulfill every spiritual need. Second, Timothy 3:16–17 tells us, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." If we expect to experience the spiritual revival of the Israelites (Nehemiah 8:1-8), we must begin with God's Word.
Each of us should have genuine compassion for others who have spiritual or physical hurts. To feel compassion, yet do nothing to help, is unfounded biblically. At times we may have to give up our comfort to minister properly to others. We must believe in a cause before giving our time or money to it with the right heart. When we allow God to minister through us, even unbelievers will know it is God's work.