Nehemiah 1 

  Part 1 An Introduction to our series

nehemiah1

Click Here to download the powerpoint that goes with this introduction

 

Introduction-

Building things can be difficult.
You see we have to make things right when we are building
Why?-  Cos they might fall down if we don’t
You need plans and instructions.  Do you use instructions to build Lego with?
You need the right tools
You need to be prepared as well because all sorts of things can happen when you start to build things.
Safety Helmet, Gloves and safety Goggles
God has made us a creative people able to build things
Because He Himself is creative.
We looked last week at how creative He has made us in our attempt to understand what Jesus is like.
We looked at pictures that made Him look like a revolutionary or someone with a sense of humour or someone with real compassion in His eyes.
This week we will begin to look at one of the most creative books in the Bible.
The book of Nehemiah- A book that shows that God is in the business of building and in the business of restoring.
My job today is to bring you a trailer about this series we are sharing in the word of God.
 

The Trailer

Here is a first thought for you
Do you face challenges in life- of course you do?
No the right question is surely How do I overcome the challenges that I will face?
This is just one of the themes that we will cover as we look at this book, it is my expectation that all of us will find this series useful.  In response to How this book in the Bible helps us  Bill Hybels says this
"Nehemiah lived as a prisoner of war, received terrible news about his family and friends, was called to a task much bigger than he could accomplish, had people threaten his life and tell malicious lies about him, struggled to lead people who were discouraged, and had to contend with the reality of sin in his own life and in the lives of his people. But Nehemiah held the hand of God in each and every detail — and in the process he became a man of prayer, courage, ingenuity, and perseverance."
“ Nehemiah Overcoming Challenges” 2008 p.11 
Wouldn’t you like to know more about this?

 

Timescale

Well over the next 14 weeks with a few breaks for other plans we will be looking at this amazing book.
We have invested time in prayer and preparation and have a team of about ten of us who have the privilege of sharing this word with you.
 
Date Speaker Title Chapter(s)
11 Jan Tim B Introduction to series  
Part 1 Nehemiah: Building Walls
18 Jan Sue B A Man of God 1,(5,8)
25 Jan Dave D A Man in the right place 2
1 Feb   Family Service  
8 Feb Nadim
Nassar
 Nadim is a Syrian
Anglican priest from the Awareness Foundation
Speaking on
issues in the Middle East
15 Feb Chrissie F Building Together 3-6
22 Feb Brian F Opposition from within and without 4 & 6
See last session
1 March   Family Service  
Part 2 Nehemiah: Restoring Lives
8 March Barbara B God’s word at the Heart of Community 8
15 March Keith B The people’s confession & the faithfulness of God 9
22 March Pete G Rededication to God 10
29 March Tim B Palm Sunday  
5 April   Easter Family Service  
12 April   The Dedication of the Wall 12
19 April J Rentala Finishing Strong 13

This investment comes at a time in the life of our Church community when we believe He has told us He will be doing new things amongst us.  Building into our lives new things.
 

A Bit more about this book.

Well we better find it first.
The Bible is in two bits Old & New Testament.
The Old Testament has four main types of books in there Law, History, Poetry or Wisdom and prophecy.
Nehemiah is one of the historical books in fact it is the last of the history books in the Old Testament.
Now you think that this would all be in some kind of order wouldn’t you. 
Well it isn’t its all mixed up.  Nehemiah is actually the last historical book in the Old Testament, but its stuck all they back nearer the beginning
Before Psalms there is Job and just before that there are three little historical books.
Even these three are not really in the right order because the events recorded in Esther come before Ezra and Nehemiah.  Important to understand that Ezra & Nehemiah were once considered one book and still are by Jewish readers of the Bible. 
Ok so have you found it good.
It is made up of thirteen chapters and we have put together a little reading plan that would mean you would come on a Sunday and would know about the material being covered in the teaching time.
 
 
Reading Plan for Nehemiah
Week
commencing
Chapters Week
commencing
Chapters
11 Jan Ch 1 15 March Ch 10
18 Jan Ch 2 22 March Ch 11
25 Jan Ch3 29 March Easter Devotional
1 Feb Ch 4 5 April Ch 12
8 Feb Ch 5-6 12 April Ch 13
15 Feb Ch 7 19 April  
1 March Ch 8 26 April  
8 March Ch 9    
 

When did all this happen?

  1. Nearly 1000 years before Jesus was born King Solomon built the temple
  2. But the rule of the great Kings of Juda was not to last for ever and about four hundred years later 10,00 Isdraelites were carried off in exile to Babylonia and the temple destroyed
  3. About 50 years later the Persians conquer Babylonia and their kings are sympathetice to the idea of the Jewisbh people returning and rebuilding Haggai and Zechariah the prophets join others moving back.
  4. In 458 Ezra comes back and encourages the Jewish people to begin to worship God properly, but it takes this man Nehemiah who travels from Babylon to Jerusalem in 445 BC for the walls of Jerusalem to be built and for the nation to restore its sense of identity.
 

Let’s hear some words from Nehemiah.

  • 2:5 and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
  • 2:20  I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”
  • 4:3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”
  • 6:15-16 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 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.
8:10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Our themes

I have begun I hope to set the scene for you and in the coming weeks we will see a number of themes emerge that can be a real help to us with our own walk with God and as encouragement. 
 
  • The cycles of the experience of sin & repentance
  • Building together in adversity
  • Nehemiah elevated in an alien setting
  • Rhythms for the Christian community today

That is not to say that some difficult questions might be raised in your minds and we will explore these together as best we can.
I pray that almost more than anything else you will see How God today is as committed to us to you as His child, as he was to those rebellious Israelites who turned back to God.
They rebuilt the city and found again their identity as a people.
What we will see too in Nehemiah is a man prepared to listen to God and follow His ways.
That is what we are looking for in 2015 that we might Follow God in all He calls us to
.

The Guide and the reminder


There is an introductory guide for you to take home and remind you about what is coming up.

Please click here to open and download a pdf version of the introductory guide

As we go there may be changes and we will try to keep you posted.  In the diary and online.  The materials will be available online before the end of this week.
As you came in you were given a little lego brick.


lego brick

If you click on the brick you will see a little video to remind you of our connectedness


I would ask that you place that somewhere you can see it over the next few weeks to remind you of all that we are doing. The brick with its connecting bits, actually reminds us that this series is not just about building a wall it is about our connected identity as the people of God. He is restoring His Kingdom. On earth as it is in Heaven.
Tim Blake January 2015
 

Tim Blake, 11/01/2015