Nehemiah Pt 7:
A recap on the story so far …
To view the powerpoint Keith used in this message please click here.
Nehemiah has responded in prayer to news from some members of his family who have returned to Jerusalem from Persia, when they tell him that Jerusalem is unprotected, with its walls broken down, and that the city is in ruins. The king allows Nehemiah to return with permission to get the materials he needs and to rebuild the wall.
On his arrival in Jerusalem, Nehemiah surveys the ruins and in particular the broken down wall. Then he arranges and motivates all of the people (with just a few notable exceptions) to engage in the rebuilding work. Despite opposition and ridicule both from outside and inside, the people, under Nehemiah’s leadership have completed the wall.
Now Ezra the priestly scribe and some respected Levites take centre stage in reading The Law to the people and making sure it is fully understood by all the people who are able to understand (men, women and children). This is initially followed by sadness in response to their past and present disobedience; but then the people are instructed to celebrate the good news with a restoration of a great festival in the Jewish calendar.
In chapter 9 we find a great prayer,
In Chapter 9 we find a great prayer which summarises the heritage and history of the Nation of Israel. Today we will focus on this prayer and consider what it has to teach us today.
The Levites lead the people in a response to God.
The key verse in this particular passage is Nehemiah 9: 32 that says:
“But in Your great mercy You did not put an end to them or abandon them, for You are a gracious and merciful God.” (NET Bible)
We might interpret this into our situations by personalising the verse as follows:
But in Your great mercy You have not destroyed me, or abandoned me, for You are a great and merciful God.
In this prayer we find a great contrast between our sinfulness and faithlessness and God’s character towards us. God’s character is revealed in a number of key words (indeed the following list is probably incomplete) God is:
In Philippians, Paul encourages us to reflect on God’s nature in order to keep things in perspective, and I would echo that from this passage.