Nehemiah: A motivator of the people
Scripture: Nehemiah 2:5, 11-30; 4:1-23
Aim: To show the pupil how Godly motivation can move a people to accomplish a difficult task.
Golden Text: “Then answered I them, and said unto them, ‘The God of heaven, He will prosper us; therefore, we His servants will arise and build'” (Nehemiah 2:20).
Nehemiah was the cupbearer for Artaxerxes, the king of Persia (Nehemiah 2:1). Visitors came from the remnant of Jews who had returned to Jerusalem and reported the state of the city to Nehemiah (a Jewish captive). He was heavily burdened because of the plight of the people and the ruined city of Jerusalem. The temple had been rebuilt, being finished in 516 B.C. Ezra had come to the land in 458 B.C. and led the people in a revival of devotion to Jehovah. In 445 B.C. Nehemiah was allowed by the king to return to rebuild the walls of the city (Nehemiah 2:1-6).
I. Nehemiah revealed his purpose for coming to Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:17-18). He reviewed the broken-down state of the walls to the Jewish leaders (vs. 17). He informed them that Jehovah had blessed him to send him to help complete the rebuilding. He also revealed that the king had given his blessing and generous financial and material help to get the work finished (vs. 18). The response of the people was immediate: “Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hand for this good work” (2:18).
II. Enemies rose up in opposition to the work (Nehemiah 2:19). The Samaritans led by Sanballat and Tobiah were joined by Geshem the Arabian. They laughed at the Israelites. They despised them. They accused them of rebelling against the King of Persia (vs. 19).
This did not deter the Israelites under Nehemiah’s leadership (see Golden Text above).
III. The work was begun (Nehemiah 3). Nehemiah assigned the different families to work together on one section of the wall. Each family had a segment of the wall to finish. Under the leadership of Nehemiah, the people gladly set forth laboring to repair the wall of Jerusalem.
It is important to have a good leader, and it is also important to have good followers. Both are required in the church to accomplish the work the Lord has assigned to the church.
IV. The opposition intensified against the people and the work (Nehemiah 4:1-20). First the enemy came near and ridiculed the people and the work (vs. 1-3). The response of the Jews was that they prayed (vs. 4-5) and continued their work on the wall (vs. 6).
Second, the enemy became angry and made severe threats against the people (vs. 7-8). Again, the people prayed to Jehovah (vs. 9) and set a watch to watch for the enemy to come (vs. 9). The Jews further prepared for war by dividing the people into groups of watchers and workers (vs. 10-19). Everyone was assigned a duty. The work of the church requires many faithful workers.
Third, the enemy waged war against the Jews (Nehemiah 4:20). Everyone was to be alerted by trumpets when the enemy came to a section of the wall. They were to rally at that place to fight.
V. The people united under Nehemiah’s leadership (Nehemiah 4:20-23). They had a unity in purpose (to repair the wall). They were engaged in unity in watching for the enemy (vs. 20). They were united in their working (vs. 22). They were united in living (vs. 22). They were unified in sacrifice (vs. 23). Thus, the wall was finished in 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15).
For the work of the church, it is necessary to have consecrated leaders who are led by the Lord, and it is necessary to have faithful folks who are willing to follow their leadership.