God with us – building beyond ourselves

God with us – building beyond ourselves

Nehemiah 1

God with us in building beyond ourselves

Rebuilding restoring renewing

With Peter Veysie

29th March 2019

Bethel worship evening

Sunday 31st March at 8am and 10am

How much in our own world and the world around us needs to be rebuilt, restored and renewed?

I am sure that if you are honest, there are many things in your personal life that you still need to get right.

Our world is in a situation of great trauma as it faces the challenges of society getting bigger and recourses getting smaller. The challenge: do we look on hopelessly OR do we take on the mantle of the Lord to be His hands and feet, to ensure that His will is done on earth as it is in heaven?

Nehemiah 1 -Read

1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:

In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.

3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said:

“Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’

10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”

I was cupbearer to the king.

NEHEMIAH BACKGROUND

The best way for us to look at the Book of Nehemiah is through the lens of Nehemiah. Firstly Chapters 1 through to Chapter 2 verse 10 is about him being a cupbearer.

Secondly from Chapter 2 eleven to Chapter 6, 19 he is the rebuilder of the walls and then thirdly Chapter 7 verse 1 to Chapter 13, 31 he is the Governor.

Just a couple of dates. 

Jerusalem was destroyed in 586BC; Zerubbabel went back in 538BC, Ezra in 558BC and then Nehemiah in 444BC.  And remember it always works backwards in case you are thinking that this is a bit confusing but we will work from infinity to naught and then naught to two thousand.

It was in 444BC that Nehemiah returned, restored and obviously Zerubbabel rebuilt the temple and Ezra restored worship.

The cupbearer

Nehemiah’s prayer

Nehemiah Chapter 1 verses 11.  A very similar prayer to Solomon in One Kings Chapter 8 verses 23 to 53.

Nehemiah Chapter 2 verse 8, it wasn’t because of King Artaxerxes that he was able to return but because the favourable hand of God was upon him and for no other reason. We always need to remember that.

The builder

The second role that we see Nehemiah playing is the builder of the wall.  Chapter 2, 11 to Chapter 6, 19 and so he goes to Jerusalem, nine hundred miles again and inspects the wall at night and then he gets the people together and he starts to build.  There is nothing slow about old Nehemiah.

OPPOSITION – external.

Tobiah, Sanballet and Geshem, who was the other guy, ridiculed them but Nehemiah knew that the God of heaven would give them success.

This opposition continues into Chapters 3 and 4 but in spite of this they rebuild the gates and the walls and you will see in those chapters how God orchestrates for different families to build at different places.

They stood shoulder to shoulder.

OPPOSITION – INTERNAL

Not only were there external challenges but in Chapter 5 we see that there were internal challenges. This is really mild stuff because this is about tithes and offerings and what these guys had done was in order to build the walls they had to get loans from their families.

And just interestingly enough in Chapter 7 we hear how the walls were rebuilt in 52 days.

GOVERNOR

But let’s get into the Governor of the people of Nehemiah in Chapters 7 to 13.  Having finished the walls and the doors Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem turned to improving the community because that is important.  It is very nice to have walls and everything organized but now this community needs sorting out.

Hanani and Hananiah

REINSTATING THE LAW

So Ezra stands up and reads the LAW and they respond in worship, in weeping and then in celebration and Nehemiah Chapter 8 verse 10 says.  “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

THE CELEBRATION OF THE WALLS AND BOOTH DAY.

The New Residents of Jerusalem are then listed in Chapter 11 and in Chapter 12 and then they dedicate the Walls of Jerusalem.  Their rejoicing could be heard from far away and there is a beautiful picture as they built these walls, the choirs, I can imagine them running around the tops of the walls of Jerusalem singing.

REBUILD RESTORE RENEW

  1. I SAT DOWN AND WEPT WHEN I HEARD THE NEWS – MOURNED FASTED AND PRAYED
  2. REBUILD – CRY OUT TO THE LORD TO REBUILD BUT IT GOES HAND IN HAND WITH CONFESSION, REPENTANCE AND A DEEP DESIRE TO SEE A DIFFERENCE.
  3. RESTORE – LET YOUR EAR BE ATTENTIVE TO MY PRAYER – DAY AND NIGHT. RESTORE THE DECREES AND WORDS THE LORD HAS PLACED INTO YOUR HEARTS, COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SURROUNDINGS. FOR NEHEMIAH IT WAS TO SEE THE HAND OF THE LORD AS THEY REMEMBERED THE INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN TO MOSES – 10 SIMPLE THINGS IN A LOVE LETTER FROM GOD. JESUS SUMMARISES THIS IN ONE SENTENCE – LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND SOUL AND MIND AND STRENGTH AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF.
  4. RENEWAL – BEGINS HERE FRIENDS. IT’S NOT WITHOUT A CHANGE OF HEART – GOD IS NO FOOL. RENEWAL AND REVIVAL DON’T JUST HAPPEN – THEY ARE PART OF THE PROCESS OF PEOPLE TURNING THEIR HEARTS TOWARDS THE LORD – THEN THE LORD WILL BRING US TO THE PLACE HE HAS CHOSEN AS A DWELLING FOR HIS NAME – IN NEHEMIAH’S CASE IT WAS JERUSALEM – WHERE IS IT FOR US ? GEORGE
  5. GIVE YOUR SERVANT SUCCESS TODAY BY GRANTING HIM FAVOUR IN THE PRESENCE OF THIS MAN – THE PERSIAN KING
  6. I LOVE THIS LINE – I WAS A CUPBEARER TO THE KING

CONCLUSION

WE NEED TO HAVE THE ABILITY AS GOD’S HANDS AND FEET ON THIS EARTH TO SEE THAT WHICH IS HEAVEN IS BEGINING TO TOUCH ON THE EARTH – HIS MASTERPLAN AND WE NEED TO HAVE A VISION TO BUILD BEYOND OURSELVES AS NEHEMIAH DID IN RESTORING AND REBUILDING JERUSALEM AND RENEWING THE WORSHIP OF THE LORD TO KNOW THAT WHAT WE ARE DOING NOW WILL HAVE AN IMPACT IN YEARS TO COME.

WE COME BEFORE OUR LORD NOW AND PRAY FOR HIM TO BEGIN TO HELP US REBUILD OUR BROKEN WORLD – WE WILL TURN TO THE NORTH THE SOUTH THE EAST AND THE WEST AND CRY OUT TO THE LORD IN PRAYER FOR HIM TO BEGIN TO DO A GREAT AND POWERFUL WORK IN US – IT’S HIS PLAN AND WE JUST NEED TO GET ALONGSIDE OF HIM.

ANOINT US NOW LORD BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO BEGIN TO PRAY.

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