Nehemiah 1:1-11 – NEHEMIAH, PATRIOT
We as Christians need to be strong patriots, if this country is going to survive. It does not mean we agree with everything our country stands for, or for everything our leaders do, but we need to be committed to our country as patriots in a God honoring way.
There are patriots mentioned in the Bible. Samson and David were loyal to Israel. After Israel split in two, Jeremiah was loyal to his country, Judah. However, each one of these men was more loyal to God, than they were to their countries. It should be the same for us today. Loyalty to country should be secondary to loyalty to God through our loyalty to our Lord Jesus Christ.
One of my favorite Bible patriots is the man we read about in the Scripture reading this morning. Nehemiah was zealous for his nation, even while living in a foreign country. We can learn to be good patriots if we learn from Nehemiah.
Because of sin, Israel (The Northern Kingdom) and Judah (The Southern Kingdom) were carried into captivity. After 70 years of captivity for Judah, permission was given by Cyrus, King of Persia for some to go back to the land and rebuild the temple. As we enter into the story of Nehemiah, the people had gone back and after a number of years rebuilt the temple. But, as we will learn, the walls of Jerusalem were down, making them susceptible to the enemies of Israel.
The man God chose to lead in the rebuilding of Jerusalem was Nehemiah. His job was the cupbearer for the current king of Medio-Persia.
According to Cyril Barber, “As a cupbearer, he is in a unique position. He holds the offices of prime minister and master of ceremonies rolled into one. Fear of intrigue and the constant threat of assassination caused a king to lead a relatively lonely life. It was, therefore, quite natural for him to gravitate toward a man of wisdom, discretion, and ability. A cupbearer who had his monarch’s best interest as heart, and who stayed abreast of the times could frequently exert great influence upon his sovereign. Besides testing the king’s wine, he was also responsible for guarding the king’s sleeping quarters.” Cyril J. Barber, Nehemiah and the Dynamics of Effective Leadership, (Neptune, New Jersey, Loizeux Brothers, Date not known), p. 14
HE WAS CONCERNED ABOUT HIS NATION – Vss. 1-4
Read Vss. 1-3
Nehemiah’s brother returned from a trip to Jerusalem.
Patriot that he was, Nehemiah asked about the conditions of the hometown. This was not a casual question, like some of us would ask concerning the well being of another and not really care. For Nehemiah this was an important, significant question, because he did care!
The answer he got to his question was not a pretty one, nor was the one he wanted to hear.
The city was in great reproach.
The walls were down. To us that doesn’t mean much, but please remember that cities in those days had to have walls for protection.
Also note that the gates were down because they had been burned with fire. Without gates the walls would not be of much use.
Vs. 4 – We see Nehemiah’s true concern
He sat down.
Say, have your noticed the moral state of America today?
Have you noticed the way thousands of babies are murdered through abortion?
Have you noticed that the traditional family is becoming obsolete? I generally of more people living together and having babies than I do of people getting married and then having the babies!
Have you noticed the way people “party” with alcohol and drugs, and think nothing of it?
Have you noticed the way God has been taken out of the public schools and the government?
Have you noticed how few of your friends go to church, and how so many of the people who do go to church are so irregular in their attendance?
We see that America is going down hill morally, but do we care?
Do we care enough to pray?
Do we care enough to weep?
Do we care enough to fast?
Do we care enough to mourn?
We should be broken-hearted that America is in such a sorry state. We should be broken-hearted that so many Americans have not been saved. We should care that fellow Americans turn to Christ.
We should follow the example of the apostle Paul who said in Romans 10:1, Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
NEHEMIAH CRIED TO GOD
Where did Nehemiah go with his burden for his nation?
He went right to God of course!
Abraham Lincoln – “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of those about me seemed insufficient for the day.”
Vs. 5 – Notice Nehemiah’s approach to God
He was distressed. He was concerned. He was burdened.
But he did not forget to whom he was talking.
He worshiped God, pointing out God’s covenant keeping and mercy.
Worship should be an important part of our prayer lives!
So often we rush into God’s presence without adoring Him, and without considering to whom we are talking. Psalm 113:3-5, Hebrews 13:14
Vs. 6 – Nehemiah asked God to hear his prayer.
Vss. 8-9 – Please notice that Nehemiah’s prayer was based on the promises of God. There are many, many, promises in God’s Word that we can claim in prayer. And there are many things that are God’s will mentioned in Scripture. We can ask God to keep His promises. We can ask God for His will to be done. 1 John 5:14-15
Vs. 10 – Here is an important point.
Nehemiah was praying for the people of God.
We are to pray for the unsaved.
We are to pray for our nation.
But we must pray for God’s people, our brothers and sisters in Christ.
When God’s people are living as they should, the nation will become more righteous.
Ephesians 6:18 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
NEHEMIAH CONFESSED SIN
I imagine that Nehemiah was familiar with Psalm 66:18 – If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
Vss. 6-7 – Nehemiah confessed sin.
Nehemiah confessed his own sin.
Nehemiah confessed the sin of his fathers, of his nation.
It is important that we as individuals confess our sins, naming them, seeking God’s forgiveness.
1 John 1:9
When we confess the sins of our nation and family we are owning up the fact that we have no right or merit that justifies us having our prayers answered. We are acknowledging our total failure. We are also acknowledging our need for God’s mercy and grace.
Imagine what would happen if Christians around the country started confessing to God family sin and the nation’s sin, as well their own sin. 2 Chronicles 7:14
NEHEMIAH CHOSE TO GET INVOLVED
Vs. 11 – He was ready to go before the king to see what he could do. He realized he needed God’s help, but he also realized that there was personal responsibility.
As a result of his going before the king Nehemiah ended up going back to Jerusalem and leading in the rebuilding of the walls. He actually served as governor of the area.
Nehemiah had a comfortable and responsible position, but set it aside to be used of God to solve the very problem about which he was concerned.
The end result is summed up in Nehemiah 6:15 – So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.
For Nehemiah being concerned, crying to God and confessing sin led to direct involvement.
For us being concerned, crying to God and confessing sin should lead us to involvement as well.
We should be registered voters.
We should write or call our congressman from time to time.
Sometimes we need to work to bring about change in our nation.
We can’t involve ourselves in every cause, but we can involve ourselves in one or two.
Please remember that God wants to use your mouth, you feet, your hands, your brain and your talents for His glory. Be willing to get involved as you pray!
NEHEMIAH – PATRIOT
HE WAS CONCERNED ABOUT HIS NATION
HE CRIED TO GOD
HE CONFESSED SIN
HE CHOSE TO GET INVOLVED