What did you learn from last week’s sermon?
Q1: What job did the Jewish prophet, Nehemiah, hold in the court of the Persian King, Artaxerxes?
Q2: The book of Nehemiah could be used as a modern instruction manual for what?
Q3: What book of the Bible was also part of the book of Nehemiah in its earliest Greek translation?
Q4: Why was Nehemiah so upset at the beginning of this book?
Q5: What did Nehemiah do when he learned of the Jew’s “distress and reproach”?
Q6: What is the foundational dynamic for every Christian doer?
Q7: A leader must start his prayer with what?
Q8: What are the four steps in an effective prayer pattern?
Q9: What was Nehemiah’s request of God?
Sermon Summary & Answers
Nehemiah was a man of God, born in exile and still living in Babylon. He was the trusted cupbearer to the Persian King, whose predecessors had set the Jews free to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city. Because he was close to God in intimate prayer and personal devotion, he drew from God the wisdom, direction, motivation, skills, patience, and perseverance that make a dynamic leader.
As we begin Nehemiah, we learn that this book and the book of Ezra were one book in the Septuagint (the earliest Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible). Here we find the Persian King, Artaxerxes, in Iran, angry and stopping the Jews in Jerusalem (by force) from building a wall around the city that they were sent home to rebuild. Fortunately, the Persians did not touch the temple that was underway. The Jews had also fallen into idolatry once again, intermarrying with non-Jews and not worshipping God. This behavior distressed Nehemiah so much that he wept, prayed, and fasted for about 4-5 months. The foundational dynamic for every Christian-doer must start with prayer.
A leader’s prayer has to start with an attitude of humility, as shown by Nehemiah’s lengthy time of fasting, weeping, and praying. Nehemiah also shows us his prayer pattern, much like that in Jesus’ prayer in John 17. He starts with the adoration of God’s holiness 1:5-6 and then a true confession of his sins and those of the Jewish people 1:6-7. Next, he thanks God for all He has done and resounds hope for all of the promises that He will keep 1:8-9. Finally, he requests God to do something, not for himself or his people, but that he has succeeded in making God’s name great.
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- The dynamics of leadership
- The Jews sent home to Jerusalem were intermarrying, worshiping idols, and not worshiping God. The city was in ruins, and God’s work was not being done.
- Nehemiah wept, prayed, and fasted for 4-5 months
- The attitude of humility
- Adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and hope request
- That he, Nehemiah, would have success in making God’s name great