A Teaching Outline of the Book of Nehemiah

Introduction to the Book of Nehemiah
I. The Writer. Nehemiah.
Nehemiah 1:1 “The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace…”

II. The Occasion, Date, and place.
Nehemiah, as the governor of Jerusalem, wrote from a different perspective than Ezra, but at essentially the same time. (Nehemiah 8:2,9) Ezra wrote from his perspective as a priest and dealt with the religious issues of the people.
Norman L. Geisler states “Ezra relates the restoration of the Nation’s Temple and Nehemiah records the reconstruction of the nation’s capital city. Together they provide an account of the religious and political activities of the remnant which had recently returned from the Babylonian captivity.”

Outline of the Book of Nehemiah

I. Rebuilding. 1:1-7:73

A. Nehemiah, the man. 1:1 – 2:8

1. His professional life.

a. He was the cup bearer for the king.
b. He had personal access to King Artaxerxes.
We note that he served the king of Persia, but his heart was with the King of Kings and with God’s people.

2. His personal life. 1:2-11

a. He was a Jew of the captivity.
b. He loved the Lord and longed for Israel to be restored.
c. He had a great burden for Jerusalem. We see three things about this man in the introduction-

His Concern, His Contrition, His compassion.

1). His Concern. “…I asked them concerning the Jews…” 1:2
2). His Contrition. 1:4

“…when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven…”

3). His Compassion. 1:11

He had determined to act. His concern in asking and his contrition in hearing led him to compassion on the people. He could had said that he would pray for them and in time, with the blessings of God, they would rebuild the city and restore the nation. But his compassion led him to believe that he, as a subject and a servant of the Most High God, must get involved personally and he prayed, asking God to lead him and open the door of service.

“…and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

What do we pray about? Do we ask God what He would have us to do?

3. His Petition to the king. 2:1-8
He requested the king to allow him to return and rebuild Jerusalem.

a. His regular duty 2:1,2a

1). To present the king and his guest with food and drink.
This event may be a special occasion as the king’s wife is present, being noted
in vs. 6

It seems that this was not the normal practice of the kings. Refer to –

Esther 4:11 All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.

2). To protect the king.

a). From sickness or death as a result of poisoned food.
b). From sadness or sorrow –

Esther 4:1-2 When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; And came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth.

The king’s life was always thought to be in danger. Artaxerxes’ father was murdered by the chief of his guard. Artaxerxes’ older brother was accused of the crime. The murderer of his father also tried to kill him, but was killed himself in a hand to hand struggle. It is no wonder that he demanded a high level of protection!

b. His response to the King. 2:2b,3

1). His apprehension – he was in a dangerous position.
2). His appreciation – he voiced his appreciation for the king.
3). His anxiety – he told of his concern and sadness for the condition of his people in
his homeland.

c. His reliance was on the Lord. 2:4

Proverbs 8:14-16 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.

d. His request. 2:5,6
e. His research. 2:7,8

He had prepared for this opportunity, expecting the Lord to bless.
Nehemiah was aware of the opposition facing the project from the non-Jewish population. They had caused many problems to Ezra in the rebuilding of the Temple that had been authorized by Cyrus. Refer to Ezra 4:4-6, 23-24.
Nehemiah wanted to be as prepared as he could be to deal with supplies, building materials, or opposition from those in the surrounding areas.

4. His position.

Before we continue in the study of Nehemiah the builder, we should learn more about his character. To be the King’s Cupbearer and then be assigned by the king as the governor of Jerusalem, Nehemiah had traits that were appreciated by the king who in all likelihood appointed him personally to his position.

He was a man of –

a. Intellect. He was able to direct the operations of the kings table.
b. Integrity. He was able manage the property of the king. Pantries, cellars, kitchens.
c. Irreproachable loyalty. He protected the king.
d. Insight. He received information and formulated plans to solve problems.
e. Interest. He asked first about the people of Jerusalem, then the city.
f. Immediacy. He knew that he needed God’s direction and sought Him in prayer.
g. Intent. He formulated a plan and waited on the Lord.
h. Inspiration. He could motivate others to share his vision.
i. Implementation. He was co-labourer, leading in the work.
j. Intrepid leadership. He remained calm and courageous in the face of danger.

Nehemiah displayed the qualities necessary in the leader who would plan and carry out the work of rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem in difficult times.

B. Nehemiah, the builder. 2:9 – 7:73

1. His arrival. 2:9-11

a. The presentation of documents. 2:9a
b. The presence of the Kings authority 2:9b The kings soldiers
c. The provocation of the enemies. 2:10

1). The Samaritan’s animosity against the restoration of Israel.

2 Kings 17:26-28 Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land. Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land. Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.

Luke 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

John 8:48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
These delighted in the suffering of Israel. They should have been aware of God’s judgment on those that hate His people.

Psalms 7:15-16 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.

2. His assessment of the task. 2:12-16
3. His admonition to the people to build. 2:17,18
4. His attitude toward the opposition. He was opposed in seven ways.

We should learn from his responses!

a. Opposition – Ridicule. 2:19, 4:1-3
Response – “…The God of heaven, he will prosper us…”
b. Opposition – Anger 4:7
Response – “Nevertheless we made our prayer unto God, and set a watch against them…”
c. Opposition – Discouragement. 4:10-12
Response – “…Be ye not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren…”
d. Opposition – Greed (danger from within) 5:1-9
Response – “…It is not good that ye do. Ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?”
e. Opposition – Deceit 6:1-4
Response – He remained focused on the service unto the Lord. “I am doing a great work. Why should the work cease, whilst I come down to you?”
f. Opposition – Intimidation 6:5-9
Response – “Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands'”
g. Opposition – Betrayal (danger from within) 6:10-14
Response – “…Should such a man as I flee…? 6:11
“My God, think thou upon… the rest that would have put me in fear”. 6:14

Opposition is to be expected in the Lord’s work, but the Lord is near –

Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

4. His administration of the construction. 3:1 – 6:15

a. Phase One – repair the breaches in the wall. 3:1 -4:6

1). The priests led by example. 3:1

a). Eliashib influenced his brethren, the priest, and the people of Israel to begin the work.
A parenthetical look at Eliashib –
b). Eliashib injured his testimony through using his position for corrupt practices.
Refer to Nehemiah 13:4-8

Eliashib chose relationship over right. It is very possible that Tobiah was a servant of the Persian court and had influence with the king. His son was married into the family who signed the covenant pledge. (Nehemiah 3:4,30; 10:21,22). Tobiah took care to cultivate good relations with the people (Nehemiah 6:19) He was related to Eliashib and encouraged him to use his position as High Priest to provide him with a secure lodging place in Jerusalem while Nehemiah was out of the country.
The Lord admonished us that we cannot divide our allegiance and serve the God and the world –

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

The results of this effort are sadly revealed in the life of Demas. He had been a partner with Paul in the ministry –

Colossians 4:14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.

Philemon 1:24 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.

– and then lost his testimony by turning to the desires of the flesh –

2 Timothy 4:10 “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…”.

It is a wonderful thing to begin right in our service unto the Lord, but we must also determine that we will end right – That we may say with Paul –

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

c). Eliashib intimidated the leadership to accomplish his purpose.

Nehemiah 7:2 That 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.

Read Nehemiah 13:4-9 Hanani was the governor in the absence of Nehemiah. Hanani was a good and faithful man, but he was not as Nehemiah. He allowed the people to do things that Nehemiah would not have. We are reminded of the difference between Moses and Aaron. Aaron gave in to the desires of the people instead of leading them in the right way. Leadership is not always a family trait.
Note that Elishib’s strength influenced others (to build the wall) but his weakness also influenced those around him. When the leadership is self-serving the people will suffer!

We have noted the purpose of the Lord in His leadership of Nehemiah was to restore the people and the place of Jerusalem to honour Himself. He chose a vessel fitted unto honour to lead this task in the person of Nehemiah. We listed his character traits earlier as being a man of –

a. Intellect. He was able to direct the operations of the kings table.
b. Integrity. He was able manage the property of the king. Pantries, cellars, kitchens.
c. Irreproachable loyalty. He protected the king.
d. Insight. He received information and formulated plans to solve problems.
e. Interest. He asked first about the people of Jerusalem, then the city.
f. Immediacy. He knew that he needed God’s direction and sought Him in prayer.
g. Intent. He formulated a plan and waited on the Lord.
h. Inspiration. He could motivate others to share his vision.
i. Implementation. He was co-labourer, leading in the work.
j. Intrepid leadership. He remained calm and courageous in the face of danger.

He was also faced with opposition in the form of ridicule, anger, discouragement, greed, deceit, intimidation, and betrayal.
We also want to remember his reliance upon the Lord in all things which provides a pattern of leadership as has been often said – he was a good follower!
Now we have come to the actual construction of the wall and take up the account in Nehemiah 3:2

2). The people joined together in the work. 3:2
The Lord teaches us in His Word the benefits of depending on Him and on one another –
The Lord –

Psalms 127:1 A Song of degrees for Solomon. Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Fellowship of believers –

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Fellowship of like-minded believers –

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

If one family did not do their best and build their portion of the wall securely, the entire community would be in danger. It is the same with the church! If we do not serve the Lord together according to His direction, we leave an opening for danger and destruction in the church.

Colossians 2:18-19 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

3). The pride of some was noted. 3:5

a). The Tekoite Nobles remind us of that group of proud souls who will always be numbered among God’s people who believe that they are better than others, and that they are not subject to the normal duties and responsibilities of men.
Proverbs 18:11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.

Proverbs 28:11 “The rich man is wise in his own conceit…”

Psalms 49:6-11 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.

The Lord rebukes this attitude in Luke 18:11-14

We are admonished in God’s Word to be humble and obedient unto the Lord, no matter what our state in life is –

1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
This attitude includes the reverse also – pride in poverty! There are those that do not have the benefits of the wealthy and they condemn the wealthy simply because of their wealth. This also is arrogance and pride and the Lord condemns it. Some think that businesses must practice illegal or unfair methods if they are successful. Churches are suspect in their doctrine or methodology if they have large membership and facilities.
Believers are to be thankful unto the Lord and serve Him faithfully no matter what our position in life is. James and Paul both spoke to this issue –
James 1:9-10 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
Ephesians 6:5-8 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

b). The Tekoites chose to serve the Lord instead of following the example of their leaders. Refer to 3:27
They could have excused themselves and been like the heads of the family, but they had personal integrity. They rose above the example of these whose pride and arrogance kept them from serving.
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
4). The preliminary work was completed. 4:6

The people were encouraged in the work by step by step completion of the task. They may have been overwhelmed if they were directed to construct the wall in its entirety – length and height. They were able to quickly build the wall around the city to its half height, then complete the wall confident in knowing that they could accomplish the task.

b. Phase two – raise the wall to a protective height. 4:1 – 6:15

1). The conspiracy of the enemies. 4:1-8

a). The plan of the enemy.

(1). Insult (Mocking the people and their work) 4:1-3

(a). What do these feeble Jews? Mocked their ability, calling them helpless.
(b). Will they fortify themselves? Mocked their purpose – even if they build the wall, it cannot protect them.
This reminds us of Rabshaka challenging the Jews to fight with the Assyrians. He claimed that they had no one able to face them –

2 Kings 18:23 Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.
Essentially the same challenge is delivered at this time – even if you have a wall, you cannot defend it!

(c). Will they sacrifice? Mocked their belief that God would bless them.
(d). Will they make an end in a day? Mocked their determination
(e). Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? Mocked their plan. The wood was destroyed and many of the stones would be broken and unusable because of the fire.

(2). Intimidation. (Threatened the people with physical violence) 4:7,8

The Jews had been back in the land for about 90 years and their enemies had become accustomed to keeping them from achieving their purpose. We also note that the Jews had become satisfied in their circumstances.
The people that were building the wall were the same people that had lived in Judea all those years and did nothing! What made the difference? Nehemiah did not bring people with him, he went to the people. The difference then is simple – Leadership!
We need to look again at the Lord’s plan for His church –
Ephesians 4:11-13 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

His gift to the church is leadership. His purpose in leadership is His glory and their good!

b). The prayer of Nehemiah. 4:4-6

(1). He entreated God as those before him had done.

(a). Joshua

Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

(b). Jehoshaphat. 2 Chronicles 20:10-15 (note the identity of the enemy)
(c). David

Psalms 119:50-52 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law. I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.

(2). He encouraged the people. Nehemiah trusted God and exhorted the people to put their trust in God and work accordingly!

2). The concern of the people. 4:9-12

a). The condition of the city. They had to clear the debris from the city. 4:9,10
b). The constant threat of the enemy. Waiting to ambush the labourers. 4:11,12

3). The continuation of the work. 4:13-23

a). He equipped them. 4:13
b). He exhorted them. 4:14,15
c). He encouraged them. 4:16-23

(1). His plan 4:16,17
(2). His provision for their security. 4:18-20
Nehemiah learned from God’s Word and the account of those that were before him –

2 Samuel 10:11 And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then
I will come and help thee.

(3). His participation. 4:21-23

He set the example through his participation in the work and sharing the hardship of the people.

2). The concern of the people. 4:9-12

a). The condition of the city. They had to clear the debris from the city. 4:9,10
b). The constant threat of the enemy. Waiting to ambush the labourers. 4:11,12
3). The charge to the people. 4:13,14
a). The solution to their problem –
(1). Fear God.
(2). Fight for their families
These same situations were known to the early church and they are known among us today –
2 Corinthians 7:3-5 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

b). The solution to our problem today. We must receive the same charge and act accordingly.

(1). Fear God.
(2). Fight for our families.

We are in a spiritual battle, the war is raging and believers must be aware of the dangers in the world!
Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Work, but wear your armour when you go out!

4). The continuation of the work. 4:15-23

a). They determined to complete the wall. 4:15 “…every one unto his work.”
b). They discouraged their enemies. They were prepared to face them. 4:16-23

Nehemiah learned from the account in God’s Word of those that were before him –
Note Joab’s instructions to Abishi as they prepared for battle –

2 Samuel 10:11-12 And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee. Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.

5). The confrontation of sin among the people. 5:1-13

a). The complaint of the people. 5:1-5 The rich had taken advantage of the poor.
b). The confrontation of the guilty. 5:6-13

(1). The authority of the Word of God.

Leviticus 25:39-43 And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile: And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen. Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God.

(2). The appeal to their conscience. 5:6-11
(3). The acceptance of the rebuke and restoration to the people. 5:12,13

6). The charity of Nehemiah. 5:14-19

We note Nehemiah’s care for the people both physically (Protection and Provision), mentally (working together), and spiritually. His desire was truly as was stated in Nehemiah 2:10 “… there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.”

7). The complicity of the Jews to destroy the testimony of Nehemiah. 6:10-14, 17-19
King David despaired over the treachery of his friends –

Psalms 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

8). The completion of the wall. 6:15

a). The second phase of Nehemiah’s plan was completed. This was not the completion of the project though. Remember that Nehemiah was not only rebuilding the walls. We need to be reminded that the city had been surrounded by protective walls in the centuries before.

(1). David took the city from the Jebusites. 2 Samuel 5:6-9
(2). The enemies of Israel. 2 Chronicles 21:16,17
(3). Joash King of Israel broke into the city of Jerusalem and took treasures.
2 Kings 14:13,14
(4). Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city. 2 Kings 25:10

b). The walls were simply physical barriers which could be breached. What the people needed to understand was that the walls were a symbol of their separation unto God. The army of Israel on the walls could not withstand the military forces of the world. This had been proved before. The people needed the walls to remind them that they were the people of God – His chosen people in His chosen place.
Remember Nehemiah’s initial question concerning Jerusalem –
Nehemiah 1:2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
He was concerned for the state of the people. He was still concerned for the state of the people which involved their relationship with God – submission and obedience. He began Phase three which would build their sense of community and their submission and service to God.

8). The completion of the wall. 6:15

a). The second phase of Nehemiah’s plan was completed. This was not the completion of the project though. Remember that Nehemiah was not only rebuilding the walls. We need to be reminded that the city had been surrounded by protective walls in the centuries before.

(1). David took the city from the Jebusites. 2 Samuel 5:6-9
(2). The enemies of Israel. 2 Chronicles 21:16,17
(3). Joash King of Israel broke into the city of Jerusalem and took treasures.
2 Kings 14:13,14
(4). Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city. 2 Kings 25:10

b). The walls were simply physical barriers which could be breached. What the people needed to understand was that the walls were a symbol of their obedience to and separation unto God. Without the walls, the Jews were a disobedient, dispersed nation. It was not about protection, it was about submission! The army of Israel on the walls could not withstand the military forces of the world. This had been proved before. The people needed the walls to remind them that they were the people of God – His chosen people in His chosen place.

A church identity is manifested by love for God, His Word, and a holy life. The church is not separated by a wall, but by the Word.

Read 1 Peter 1:1-10.

The walk of the believer begins in the heart and is manifested in action. The walk of the Jews began in their hearts and resulted in actions – building the wall!

Now – Remember Nehemiah’s initial question concerning Jerusalem –

Nehemiah 1:2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
He was concerned for the state of the people. He was still concerned for the state of the people which involved their relationship with God. He began Phase three which would build their sense of community and their submission, obedience, and service to God.

Jesus presented His concern about this matter in His conversation with the Father as recorded in John 17:14-17. The church without the Word of God has lost its identity with God. As Israel had become a nation to ridicule, as God predicted they would if they rejected Him –

Deuteronomy 28:37 And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.
The church is being ridiculed in the world today. Where is the power? Where is the respect? Where is the change in lives and communities because of the preaching of God’s Word? Much of the church is no longer identified with the Word of God, it is identified with the world? Where is the respect for God, His Word, and the people of the congregation shown by the ‘pastor’ standing on the platform with a microphone in is hand and his shirt tail out. He looks like he walked in from working in the yard and the microphone could just as easily be a beer can! Where is the respect! Where is the fear of God!

c. Phase three – requirements for security. 7:1-73

1). Installation of faithful leadership. 7:1,2

a). They were dedicated men of God.
b). They were devoid of leadership skill. This revealed itself in time.
The people did not follow them as they had followed Nehemiah.
Refer to Nehemiah 13:1-9 We will examine this further in chapter 13

This situation reveals the difficulty for second or third generation leaders. If the man cannot instill trust and respect from the people, no matter how much faith he has, or experience, or ability, he will not be able to lead the people in growth, and in most instances will not be able to maintain the level his predecessor achieved.
After Solomon, out of nineteen kings of Judah, only eight kings were faithful to God. There were four faithful kings that had faithful sons who were good kings. It is also interesting to note that four unfaithful kings, ungodly men who turned from the ways of the Lord, had good sons that were faithful to God and sought to reform the nation.
The problem is not restricted to governing nations or pastoring churches. It is seen as occurring in every area of life which reveals it is inherent in human nature.

In business, studies in the USA state that about 40% of family owned businesses are turned over to second generation businesses. They go on to say that approximately 13% are successful third generation businesses and only about 3% go beyond that. This reveals the difficulty of having like-minded people takeover that have the character and ability to grow what has been placed in their care.
A popular anecdote dealing with this situation was told in Texas in the 1970’s about an extremely wealthy man that left his fortune to his children. It is a short story so I will repeat it here – “How do you make a small fortune in Texas? You begin with a large one”!
When we research and find the amount of leadership training that is available and the success rate is so low, we come to the conclusion that turning over authority is frightening, and as we see in the situation of Nehemiah, is nothing new. What is the solution?

In every area of life we must know that we are doing God’s will. Too many times believers separate their lives into secular and spiritual. We must realize that our lives are under the authority of God – all spiritual. Remember Paul’s admonition to the leaders of the churches in Acts 20:28. They were in their positions according to the will of God and they must take those positions seriously. We cannot force people to follow, that is their choice and God is holding them personally accountable to follow the leaders He has placed before them. But the leader must lead with courage and conviction that he is doing God’s will.

2). Implementation of security measures. 7:3
3). Initiated a registry of families. 7:4-69

a). Determine citizenship.
b). Determine property rights.
c). Determine priesthood.

4). Investing financially to support the work. 7:70-73

The third phase of Nehemiah’s program –

c. Phase three – requirements for security. 7:1-73

1). Installation of faithful leadership. 7:1,2
2). Implementation of security measures. 7:3
3). Initiated a registry of families. 7:4-69

a). Determine citizenship.
b). Determine property rights.
c). Determine priesthood.

4). Investing financially to support the work. 7:70-73

– is completed and the results are seen in the –

II. Revival. 8:1-10:31

A. The Reading of the Law. Ezra the Scribe taught. 8:1-12

1. They were assembled.. 8:1,2

a. They were united as God’s people.
b. They were united in their desire – to hear the Word of God.

These were like those that the Lord Jesus Christ was calling to as He spoke to them of judgment and of righteousness.

Matthew 13:41-43 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

These had come together with the express purpose of hearing the Word of God –

2. They were attentive. 8:3-6
“…the ears of all the people were attentive unto the Book of the Law.”

a. They prepared their hearts to hear His Word.

1). Their attitudes. The watched and listened.
2). Their actions. They stood at the opening of His Word.

b. They prayed to Him.

“And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands:…”

c. The praised Him who is worthy.

“…and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”

3. They were admonished. 8:7,8
4. They were affected. 8:9,10

2 Kings 22:8-11 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD. And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.
There is sorrow in the realizing of disobedience but their is joy in repentance and obedience to the will of God. The Lord’s Word will bring forth sorrow unto repentance which should result in the joy of the Lord –

2 Corinthians 7:9-11 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

5. They were appreciative. 8:11,12

Repentance and faith bring forth joy and good works –

They understood that which Jesus said 400 years later –

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Let’s be a thankful people – Praise the name of the Lord!

B. The Restoration of the Feast of Tabernacles. 8:13-18
As we have seen in the lives of the Jews, repentance leads to obedience which then leads to careful study of God’s Word in order to know and to do
His will. We see this continue in the verses that we will study tonight. Read Nehemiah 8:13-18

1. The events of the seventh month.

a. The new moon of the Seventh month. This was the beginning of the civil new year.
Read Leviticus 23:24
b. The Atonement.

Leviticus 16:33-34 And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.

c. The Feast of Tabernacles. Read Leviticus 23:23-25; Numbers 29:1-6

2. The examination of the Word of God. Nehemiah 8:13-15
3. The enthusiastic response of the people. Nehemiah 8:16-18
4. The earnest invitation from the Lord at this festival about 480 years afterward.

John 7:37-38 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Throughout His ministry, the Lord identified Himself as the true and perfect fulfillment of the symbols and grace of God –

a. The True Temple. John 2:18-21
b. The True symbol of life, the Brazen Serpent. John 3:14,15
c. The True Bread from Heaven. John 6:32-35
d. The True Rock of Living Water. John 7:37,38
e. The True Luminous Cloud. John 8:12
f. The True Lamb of Sacrifice. John 1:29; 19:30

Read Hebrews 10:1-13

The Feast of Tabernacles was the last of the feast for the year. Jesus gave an invitation at the end of the feast, declaring that He is the end and fulfillment of them all.
Have you turned to Him today in repentance and faith?

C. The Repentance of the people. 9:1-10:31

Two days after the end of the feast of Tabernacles, a time of rejoicing, the Israelites took stock of their situation.
They were ruled by a foreign government.
They were surrounded by hostile nations.
They were subject to trade and taxes at the pleasure of foreign kings.
They were currently rebuilding their city, their houses, and their lives, but they were not ruling over them.
They were not in any way like unto the Nation under King David or Solomon. They were not even a semblance of the nation as it had been under Hezekiah or Josiah.

Their joy turned to sorrow as they realized that their sin and the sin of their fathers had brought them into this condition.
The reading of the Word of God had convicted them of their sin.
The doing of the Word of God had convinced them of God’s blessings.

Now, as we are told in God’s Word –

Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
We are shown the –

1. The Condition of the people. 9:1-3

The individuals of the nation came together again before the Lord and testified of –

a. Their contrition. – Their actions revealed their hearts. 9:1
b. Their confession – took responsibility 9:2
c. Their concern – they desired to hear more of the Word of God. 9:3a
d. Their consolation – they confessed their sin and worshipped God. 9:3b

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This condition led to –

2. The Confession of their sins. 9:4-35
The priests reaffirmed –

a. The goodness of God.
b. The guilt of he people.

3. The Conclusion of the people. 9:36-38 They made a decision based on the Word of God, the works of God, and their present condition.

Nehemiah 9:36-38 Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it: And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress. And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.
This was a wonderful moment for the people – the right conclusion to draw from the Word and their situation. It is sad for us though, as we have the history and are able to see what they would do in their future. They may have been dedicated to carry out this decision, but we know that most of them did not. This reminds us of their ancestors and the promises they intended to keep –

Exodus 19:7-8 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.

Exodus 24:3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.

Exodus 24:7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

Deuteronomy 5:27-29 Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it. And the LORD heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the LORD said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!

Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
Will we hear the Word of God and do His will accordingly?

4. The convenant of the people. 10:1-31

a. Their dedication to God. 10:1-18

1). The civil leader 10:1
2). The ceremonial leaders. 10:8,9
3). The community leaders. 10:14
4). The common people. 10:28

(Most likely declared their allegiance in the signing of the community leaders)
We should note that the most effective leaders are those whose decisions directly effect them as well as all of the people. Remember the example of King David in preparing the material and finances for the construction of the Temple – Refer to First Chronicles 28,29

The Call – Chosen of God to lead the nation. 1 Chronicles 28:1-6
The Consecration – declaration that the work is God’s work. 1 Chronicles 28:7-10
The Collection –

The King: 1 Chronicles 29:2-3
The leaders: 1 Chronicles 29:6
The People: 1 Chronicles 29:9

b. Their declaration of intent. 10:29-33

1). To keep the Word of God in every area of their lives. 10:29
2). To keep themselves separate from the entrapments of the world. 10:30

Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

3). To keep the Sabbaths of weeks and years. 10:31 (Trusting God for His provision)
4). To keep the ministry of God supplied through their giving on a regular basis.

c. Their distribution of the ministry. 10:34-39

1). The minister’s labour.
2). The minister’s provision (providing for their necessities)

We must note here again the positive influence of leadership. The leaders set the example to encourage the participation of every Israelite in separation and service unto the Lord. No group of society was excluded. All who had the will to serve the Lord according to His Word were privileged to have a part.

III. Repopulating Jerusalem. Nehemiah 11:1-36

A. The priority of developing the city is noted.
Nehemiah solved the problem noted in chapter 7:1-5. The city needed a sufficient population for developing and organizing the community.

1. The perception of the city had changed – note it is now designated “…the holy city…”
It is no longer thought of as a city in ruins.
2. The population of Jerusalem was increased by –

a. Lottery. 11:1
b. Volunteers. 11:2

3. The personnel of the Temple was designated. 11:10-19
4. The progress of the project was being followed by the king. 11:23,24
Artaxerxes had maintained an interest in the project.

B. The principle towns and villages in the environs of Jerusalem are noted, being inhabited by the families of Judah and Benjamin. 11:25-36

We note here again, that while God does designate some places as having certain significance, His primary concern is for people. The places must stand for a particular relationship between God and His people.
Jerusalem came to the forefront, but there were others places, such as Eden, Beth-El, Mt. Sinai, and Shiloh. Each of these places finds significance in the people they are associated with – meeting places between God and man.
God’s concern is people and their relationship with Him. Jerusalem is a visible testimony of that relationship.
Today, the church is that visible testimony of our relationship with God. Just as in Jerusalem, all were welcome who were willing to submit to the will of God, the church is populated by all who are willing to obey and submit to His will.
We will see in the next section that separation from those who refused to obey God was demanded.

IV. Restoration of national identity. 12:1-13:31

A. The purity of the priesthood determined. 12:1-26
B. The Priest and the Levites were set in their task. 12:27-47
C. The people were separated unto the Lord. 13:1-31

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

1. Reproved by the Word of God 13:1-3
2. Rebuked by the man of God. 13:4-9
3. Exhorted to righteousness. 13:10-31

a. The service of the Temple restored. 13:10-14
b. The sanctification of the Sabbath. 13:15-22
c. The separation of the people. 13:23-31

Nehemiah completed his ministry of restoring the people and the city of Jerusalem to bring honour and glory to God.

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About sjbjburke

I am an evangelist that enjoys Bible study and I look forward to posting outlines and receiving helpful comments. My wife and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in 2010 and we enjoy serving the Lord together.
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