What does it mean to rebuild?
1. Do you recognize this building?
2. Why do you think it was important for a new structure to be built at Ground Zero? What does this building symbolize?
3. Why do the American people focus so much of their attenion and effort into rebuilding?
4. Do you think the Jews felt the same about rebuilding the temple and the walls surrounding Jerusalem?
While I'm Waiting by John Waller
Read Isaiah 4:31 and 1 Thessalonians 5:16
It seems prayer made a big impact on Nehemiah's life.
1. How is your prayer life these days?
2. Share times when you have noticed God answering your prayers.
- When you were grieving
- When you needed guidance
- When you felt weak
- When the enemy was attacking
- When you were being tempted
- When you needed affirmation
Take time now to pause and pray. Give Him thanks and tell him what is on your mind.
There is an old saying that goes, "He who fails to plan, plans to fail."
1.What are some of your goals and dreams for the future?
2. What plans do you need to make in order to accomplish your dreams?
3. Are there things standing in your way? What will you do to overcome those obstacles?
1. Do you ever feel like giving up?
2. When you feel overwhelmed or defeated, how do you find the strength to continue on?
3. How can Nehemiah's example help you find ways to overcome problems?
4. Failure can lead to success. Look at all the people who failed and later became successful.
50 People Who Failed
The Jerusalem Walls Were Destroyed
In Nehemiah chapter one and two we read of the horrible ruin of the walls surrounding Jerusalem. Instead of a land inhabited by a great nation, only a remnant of people lived there; and they were in great affliction and struggling to survive. Instead of a magnificent city, Jerusalem was in shambles; and where there had once been great glory, there was now nothing but great reproach.
- The Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem's walls, gates, and temple in 586 B.C. (2 Kings 25:1-21).
- Some form of government and order had been established, but they still had a much more to do.
- Fifty years after the exile, a group of 50,000 Jews had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and the city.
- Since the Gentiles had hindered their work, however, the temple was not completed for twenty years. (Ezra 1-6)
- The gates and walls never were repaired. They were left in ruins.
- This made the condition of the inhabitants very shameful. They never really recovered from their previous slavery and poverty, and the walls stood as a reminder of these things.
- Without walls the city was very vulnerable. Enemies could attack and do whatever they please with the inhabitants.
- Read Psalms 48, 79, 84, and 87 to see how much loyal Jews loved their city. You can imagine how they must have felt.
Amazingly, it took only 52 days for Nehemiah to lead the people to rebuild the walls. These new walls would stand as a symbol of hope and new life. As we consider Nehemiah's example as a model for our own lives we notice three themes: 1) Prayer 2) Planning 3) Perserverance
Wiersbe, Warren W.: Be Determined. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1992, S. Ne 1:1
Nehemiah practiced a lifestyle of prayer.
- When Nehemiah heard that the walls in Jerusalem were in ruins, the first thing he did was pray. (Nehemiah 1:1-11)
- When King Artaxerxes offered to help Nehemiah, the first thing Nehemiah did was pray. (Nehemiah 1:4)
- When others ridiculed Nehemiah, he prayed. (Nehemiah 4:4)
- When Sanballat and Tobiah threatened to attack, Nehemiah prayed. (Nehemiah 4:9)
- As he considered his own personal sacrifices and the demands that were being placed upon him, Nehemiah prayed. (Nehemiah 5:19)
- When Nehemiah grew weary, he prayed. (Nehemiah 6:9)
- When Nehemiah was tempted to retreat in fear, he prayed. (Nehemiah 6:14)
- As Nehemiah was reflecting on all that had been accomplished, he prayed. (Nehemiah 13:31)
In the children's musical entitled "Oh Me, Oh My, Oh Nehemiah!" there is a song called "Plan Your Work--Work Your Plan." This is exactly what Nehemiah did.
- He informed King Artaxerxes of his needs and timeline. (Nehemiah 2:4-8)
- He assessed the situation. (Nehemiah 2:11-16)
- He inspired others to join him. By sharing the vision of a strong and fortified city, Nehemiah was able to motivate others. (Nehemiah 2:17)
- Nehemiah organized the workers. (Nehemiah 3:1-32)
- He supported those who were working. (Nehemiah 4:16-17) "And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall."
- In the next section we will see how Nehemiah adapted his plans to overcome adverse situations.
Nehemiah faced many challenges. However, in every case, he chose to overcome. He was not about to allow himself to become a victim. He did not question God's calling. On the other hand, he used creative ways to deal with the issues at hand. If it had not been for Nehemiah's determination, creativity, and great leadership the walls would have remained in ruins.
- Ridicule-- Sanballat and Tobiah, enemies of the Jews, mocked at the Jews' efforts to rebuild their wall. (4:1-3)
- Conspiracy--Sanballat and Tobiah tried to stop the work by making plans to lead an army against Jerusalem. (4:7-9)
- Discouragement-- Some of the Jews became discouraged about the amount of rubble that needed to be cleared away. (4:10)
- Intimidation--The enemies of the Jews made plans to swoop down upon the Jews and kill them. (4:11-12):
- Internal Strife--During difficult times some of the wealthier Jews loaned money to the poorer Jews and charged interest. When they could not repay the loan, their property was repossessed, and they became slaves to the wealthy Jews. (5:1-5)
- Ruse-- Four times Sanballat and Geshem attempted to meet with Nehemiah so they could harm him. Realizing their evil plot, Nehemiah refused each time, saying his work was too important to stop. (6:1-4)
- Slander--Sanballat and Geshem showed Nehemiah a letter to King Artaxerxes that claimed Nehemiah and the Jews planned to rebel. (6:5-9)
- Fear--The enemy used a prophet named Shemaiah to try to persuade Nehemiah to seek refuge inside the Temple. Nehemiah saw through the scheme to intimidate and discredit him, and he refused to go. (6:10-14)
Following God is not always easy. Sometimes we face impossible situations that seem completely overwhelming. Yet God is faithful. He has promised He will never leave us to fend for ourselves. Nehemiah prevailed because he prayed, planned, and perservered. In which of these three areas are you the strongest? In which areas do you need to improve? Is there someone you know who is going through a difficult time? What can you do to encourage him or her?