Nehemiah, Man of God
At my page, Praying More Effectively, I did a small study on how we can pray based on the prayer style of Nehemiah. As I recently re-read the book of Nehemiah the Lord showed me more things about Nehemiah. This will be a more in-depth study on Nehemiah, Man of God. We can learn a lot from his relationship with God.

The book of Nehemiah begins with Nehemiah asking about the state of affairs in Jerusalem. He was told that the walls around the city were still broken down and many of the people, who had been taken into captivity by the nation's enemies many years prior, were in affliction. From his reaction and from further happenings in the book of Nehemiah I believe that the Lord had placed a burden for the people and for the city of Jerusalem on Nehemiah's heart. Nehemiah was greatly upset when he heard the news. He sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted before he began to pray.

People who are given a burden by the Lord for someone or something then become responsible for finding out what God wants them to do about it. He may want us only to pray about the situation or He may want us to take action. We, as people, often have a tendency to want to jump in and fix things using our own understanding of the situation. For example, Nehemiah's first thought may have been, "I'm just one person. I can't rebuild the walls around the entire city of Jerusalem AS WELL AS restore the laws of God back to the people all by myself!"

When we are given a burden by the Lord it is very important that we seek His will as to what our portion is. Since we can't see the big picture like He can, it is imperative that we not jump in and start doing something until we know how to proceed. We could mess things up if we just do what seems to be the right thing.

Nehemiah's way of praying deserves notice. In verses 5-7 of chapter 1 he praised God, confessed sins, and asked forgiveness for his sins and for the sins of all of the people of Israel. Forgiveness of sins is extremely important if we are to be used of God.
It is significant to note that he asked forgiveness on the behalf of the people. He knew that the things that were wrong were a result of the people's turning away from God and disobeying Him. This tells me that God will listen to our pleas for forgiving people other than ourselves. It seems to me that when we ask that forgiveness for others that it softens God's heart and causes Him to move on their behalf.

It seems that Nehemiah had found out from God exactly what God wanted him to be doing. Nehemiah went to the king that held the Jews in captivity and didn't even have to ask for help. In chapter 2, verse 2, the king asked him what was troubling him. The king then asked what he could do for Nehemiah. Nehemiah prayed first (vs 4) and then told the king what he needed. The king gave Nehemiah permission to go rebuild the walls in Jerusalem. Not only did he give him permission, he gave him all the wood he needed from the king's forest! Nehemiah got what he asked and, in verse 8, commented that the king granted him, "according to the good hand of my God upon me." He knew that God was opening the doors and paving the way. When he told the Jewish leaders that God was helping him they jumped in to help (verse 18).

Nehemiah proceeded with confidence that the work would get done. He faced his opposition with confidence, knowing God would cause them to prevail.

In chapter 4 the Jews working on the walls began to get a little nervous about the enemy's threats to stop them. In verse 14 Nehemiah reminded the people that God was on their side. In verse 15 we see that the enemy realized that God was foiling their plans and they backed off.

Nehemiah was the one who encouraged the people and kept them organized in doing God's work. In verse 20 he told the people that, should they hear the trumpet signaling that the enemy was attacking, they should remember that God would fight for them. He strengthened and edified the people by speaking to them about the things of God. He kept reminding them that God was perfectly capable of protecting and helping them.

Even though God was with them and helping them, half the people ended up holding weapons and watching out for the enemy. This is an encouragement to us when we feel like we are not in God's will because we are being attacked on all sides. God doesn't necessarily cover the path with rose petals. He will see that the portion he gives us will get done if we continue to make sure we are in His will, but the enemy will probably still try to distract us and prevent us from continuing God's work. It is important that we use the weapons that God has given us.

"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:14-17 Nehemiah must have stayed in constant communion with God because he had knowledge of things that were intended to stop the work. In Chapter 6, verse 2, Nehemiah knew that the enemy was going to hurt him or kill him when they asked to talk. Therefore, he declined. The reason he knew was that God had given him insight into the matter.

Nehemiah had a great deal of faith in God and had the utmost respect for the things of God. In chapter 6, verse 11 he responded negatively to someone who wanted to meet with him in the temple. The person had indicated that the temple of God would be a safe place for them to meet. Nehemiah refused because the temple was a holy place and he would not desecrate it. He KNEW that God would not want him going into the temple. Then, verse 12 tells us that he perceived that God had not sent the person asking for a meeting. In other words, his perception was actually God showed him the truth about the matter.

When the wall was finished the enemies knew that the work had been done under the power of God (verse 16). When we focus on God and walk in His will then other people will see Him in our lives.

Nehemiah continued on with the work of God after the walls were built. He appointed people to serve God. About 10-11 years prior the temple within those walls had been rebuilt and Levites had been brought in to serve God. In that span of time they had discontinued following the laws regarding sacrifices and holy days and such. In chapter 7, verse 5, it shows where Nehemiah was listening for God to tell him what else to do.

Nehemiah's attitude rubbed off on all the other people. His respect for God and the things of God spread to the other people. In chapter 8, verse 5, all the people showed their respect for the Word of God by standing up when the book of the law of God was opened. They then lifted their hands, bowed their heads, and worshipped God. They heard things in the Word that they needed to be doing, things that they hadn't been doing. They fasted, they worshipped, and they confessed sins. The people were very eager to make things right with God and to get things back into God's will.

This excites me to see what the obedience and passion of one person can do. Nehemiah's passion to follow God rubbed off on all the people! I find two things significant. He asked forgiveness for the sins of all (including their ancestors!) Then, he sought God's will and shared those things God was showing him with the other people. This led to repentance (9:2) on the part of all. They also experienced great joy and happiness because of their renewed relationship with God. This is an example of how repentance and seeking God's face bring a revival. It is possible for one person to light the flames of revival!!! This means that person could be you or me or anyone else!

All throughout the book of Nehemiah we see that Nehemiah took the job that God gave him very seriously. He paid close attention to details. He did not hesitate to rebuke those that defied God's laws. He was confident that he was doing what God wanted and proceeded boldly.

Sometimes Nehemiah was VERY bold. In chapter 13, verse 25, Nehemiah was confronting people who had intermarried with other nationalities, which was against God's laws. (Note: they people had made a vow to remove the non-Jews from them 10-11 years prior and apparently hadn't.) Nehemiah, "contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves." Wow! Nehemiah must have been directed by God to do that. The people felt the anger and rebuke of God through Nehemiah or they probably wouldn't have put up with the punishment and wouldn't have agreed to stop doing it! God does rebuke us through other people sometimes. We need to be able to set our pride aside and allow ourselves to be corrected once we determine that the correction comes from God.

It is important that we find out what is important to God. We need to find out what He wants us to be doing. We can make a difference! One person makes an impact in the Kingdom of God! Nehemiah did!


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