Cue the Confetti!
It’s time to begin the book of Nehemiah!!! I am so excited to begin!
Overview of Nehemiah ~
The Book of Nehemiah details the events surrounding rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and restoring worship in the temple that was rebuilt under Ezra. Originally, the Book of Nehemiah was included in the Book of Ezra as one book, but when the Bible was translated into Latin, the two books were separated.
Nehemiah’s name means, “Yahweh Comforts”, and we see how God uses Nehemiah to bring the children of Israel comfort as they read the Law for the first time in the newly restored Temple, and they comprehend how far they had strayed from God’s commands.
In the Book of Nehemiah, we follow along as the children of Israel begin the enormous job of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem in only 52 days. With Nehemiah’s expert leadership, they were able to complete this God-given task despite heavy opposition from their enemies, physical weariness, discouragement, and even attempts of direct sabotage through deception and manipulation.
Nehemiah details the determined spirit of God’s people as they undertake the daunting task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem so that the returning captives can once again live in their land of promise.
The Author: Although the author is anonymous, it is believed that Nehemiah wrote portions of the book and that Ezra helped to compiled and even write it.
Time Period: This book was written around 423 BC.
Key Verse: Nehemiah 8:10
Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
1. Nehemiah’s prayer for the people (1)
2. King Artaxerxes sends Nehemiah to Judah (2:1-10)
3. Nehemiah assesses the ruined walls (2:11-20)
4. The children of Israel begin rebuilding the walls (3)
5. Opposition is met (4-6:14)
6. The walls are completed (6:15-7:3)
7. Genealogy of the captives who returned (7:6-73)
8. Ezra reads the Law and the people confess their sins (8-9:3)
9. The Levites seal a new covenant (9:5-10:39)
A list of those who sealed the covenant (10:1-27)
10. A list of those dwelling in Jerusalem (11)
A list of those dwelling outside of Jerusalem (11:25-36)
11. A list of the priests and Levites (12:1-26)
12. Dedication of the wall and a cleansing of the temple and people (12:27-13:31)
For an even more in-depth Introduction to this week’s reading, watch this video. It is a great explanation of Ezra and Nehemiah!
NOW LET’S GET STARTED!
This Week’s Bible Reading Plan:
(Facebook Leaders: You can use this as your Facebook Header this week. Just right click and “save as” or screen shot it.)
This week’s Reflection & Discussion Questions
(Leaders: Copy and paste these into your groups. If you do not have a group, use these for a personal time of reflection.)
15 years have passed since the end of the book of Ezra and over 70 years since an attempt was made to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in Ezra 4. Their enemies had successfully prevented them from rebuilding the walls and the remnant has been living in unwalled, unprotected territory, with no defense or protection. God, in his divine wisdom, raised up Nehemiah who lives and serves in the king’s palace as his cupbearer, which also allows him to be an unofficial counsel to the king.
While Nehemiah has position and influence in the king’s palace, he is deeply concerned about the people in Jerusalem and asks Hanai, one of the brethren, about the situation there. The report is not good. The people are distressed and scorned by their enemies, and the walls and gates are still in ruins. Nehemiah is devastated. His first response is to fast and pray in his sorrow.
His mourning doesn’t lead him to defeat, to hopelessness, or to sit and make a plan of action; his mourning leads him to God’s throne in prayer and intercession for his people. Have you had bad news recently? Maybe life has taken a difficult turn and you’re not sure what to do. Instead of allowing life’s troubles lead to you to hopelessness and defeat, let them lead you to God’s throne in prayer and petition. Write you prayer below to God.
Nehemiah served as one of the King’s high officials – his cupbearer. One day, as the King noticed that Nehemiah was grieved, Nehemiah had the opportunity to share with the King about his city and ask for permission to go and begin rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. The King granted his request and sent Nehemiah on his journey with written permission for his journey. But Nehemiah is met with opposition.
It is significant to note that Nehemiah met opposition only when he acted on God’s call. Opposition didn’t come as he prayed and wept, or even as he planned and requested permission from the King. It was while he was in the act of going to Jerusalem that he faced opposition from the enemy.
When we take the step of faith from praying and planning to acting on God’s call, we should expect opposition. But this didn’t stop Nehemiah from going forward. Rather, he let his enemies know that they had no right in Jerusalem and to step aside because Nehemiah and the people were moving forward. God was going to make them prosper. Is there an area in your life where you are facing opposition right now? Name that area. Are you allowing it to discourage you and cause you to question what you once knew God called you to do for him? Do as Nehemiah did and take a bold stand on what you know is true. Tell the enemy to step aside, because you are going to move forward in God’s call and plan for your life. God is with you and he will help you.
The work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem has begun. Immediately we see Nehemiah’s tremendous leadership ability in motivating 40 groups of people to work, each taking a section of the wall. Some were builders, others had different skills, but they all worked together in unity for one purpose and God used anyone willing to work.
As Nehemiah met with the people, he laid out a careful plan for how they would accomplish this enormous task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. There are those who are prone to thinking that making plans isn’t very spiritual. Surprisingly, the Bible has a lot to say about God’s plans. Planning does not show a lack of faith as long as we lay down our own in surrender to his divine and perfect plans.
Are you a planner? Do you tend to make your plans on your own without thinking of God and what he thinks of your plans? If there is anything you are planning right now in your life, pray over your plans and ask the Lord for direction.
The Jews have made great progress in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. They have the whole wall constructed up to half its height. To keep God’s people from succeeding in what God had called them to do, Sanballat seeks to discourage them by mocking them and their efforts. He gathers others around him, and they begin to threaten to attack the Jews and create confusion.
The enemy’s tactics haven’t changed with time. Whenever we set our heart and mind to fulfill the plans he’s purposed for us, the enemy will try to discourage us. When that doesn’t succeed, he plans an attack to confuse and distract us. The question is, how will we respond? Nehemiah responded by encouraging his people to remember God’s greatness and be ready to fight. They continued to labor with their weapons ready, always alert for the enemy’s attack.
This is a realistic picture of what the Christian walk should look like. We labor for God’s kingdom while armed and alert for the enemy’s attack. We have no need to fear, He has given us everything we need to live this life with joy and victory. Are you feeling discouraged right now? Has the enemy been trying to distract and confuse you? Take some time today to remind yourself of God’s attributes, then take up the armor of God and fight in his strength.
Where the enemy could not stop God’s people from rebuilding the walls by bringing discouragement and confusion from the outside, he succeeded by causing problems from within. Economic downturn, famine and high taxes had left families destitute to the point where they were selling their own children as slaves in order to survive. In this chapter, we read nothing about the wall being built, which suggests that work on the wall had halted due to the discouragement and despair of the people.
When Nehemiah heard the outcry of the people, he was angry. The wealthier among them, including the priests, were taking advantage of their own people by buying up the land of those less fortunate, loaning money at high interest and enslaving their own people. He rebuked the rulers and called on them to restore to these people what had been taken.
Nehemiah showed extraordinary love and honor for God by loving and honoring the people God had called him to lead. Are you allowing distractions of the enemy to prevent you from walking faithfully in the call God has given you? Nehemiah refused to allow the enemy to distract him. He kept his focus on God and the purpose that was laid out for him. If you’ve been distracted lately, take some time to remember the purpose God has laid out for your life, and rededicate yourself to fulfilling that purpose.
To print the 23 Reflection and Discussion Questions for Ezra and Nehemiah –> Click Here
This Week’s Verses of the Day:
(Leaders: You can use these images in your groups by using right click and “save as” or screen shoting them.)
Here’s another explanation of the SOAK Bible Study Method and Bible Coloring Chart if you need more guidance:
Here is the SOAK method I refer to in the video:
And the Bible Coloring Bookmark:
Click HERE to Print the full page Coloring Chart
or Click HERE for the Bookmark Coloring Chart
Don’t Miss the Daily Check-Ins
on Facebook and Instagram!
Join us EVERY weekday morning ANYTIME after 7:00amEST on Facebook
to discuss the day’s reading assignment.
I commend you for committing to study this book with us! If you want to go deeper in your study, I encourage you to use on-line commentaries and Bible Study tools.
As we read and study the Book of Nehemiah, we are inspired by the determination and faithful leadership of Nehemiah to lead God’s people to take on and successfully complete a seemingly impossible task, even in the face of strong opposition.
This serves as a reminder to us today. As we seek to live dedicated lives that testify of God’s love and faithfulness, we can expect to face temptation, discouragement, and temptation. However, it is encouraging to know that we don’t live this life alone. We live each day by the power of the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us, and gives us the power we need to daily walk in the purpose for which God created us.
Now, let’s get started! Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite drink and open your Bible and SOAK it in! Be sure to leave at least 15-20 minutes for your reading each day.
Have a wonderful week in God’s Word – I’ll see you back here on the blog this Friday as we go deeper into God’s Word together! Don’t forget to join me every weekday morning out on Facebook and Instagram!
Keep walking with the King,
If you missed last week’s video here it is:
The Ezra and Nehemiah Journal
is available on Amazon!
If you’d like to purchase a printable-digital copy
(so you have it right away) at half the price