“Let’s rise up and build” (Nehemiah 2:18).
Nehemiah was one of the most prominent Jewish leaders in the post-exilic community. Nehemiah was a devout Jew who served as the cupbearer to Artaxerxes I, king of Persia. As the cupbearer of the king, Nehemiah served in a very important position in the court of the Persian king.
During his service in the Persian court, Nehemiah met with messengers who came from Jerusalem bearing bad news about the situation in the city. The messengers told Nehemiah that the walls and the gates of Jerusalem were in ruins. They said to Nehemiah: “The survivors there in the province who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been destroyed by fire” (Nehemiah 1:3).
When Nehemiah heard the news about the depressing conditions the people were facing in Jerusalem, Nehemiah decided to fast and pray for success as he approached the Persian king. Nehemiah confessed the sins of the people and asked God to fulfill his promise to bring the people back to their native land. Nehemiah prayed for four months, waiting for a favorable opportunity to present his request to the king. Nehemiah desired to return home and help with the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
Beginning next week, Jeff Griffin, Senior Pastor of The Compass Church in Naperville, Illinois will begin a series of studies on Nehemiah, detailing Nehemiah’s commitment to unite the people and work together in the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Jeff describes the goals of his studies on Nehemiah as follows:
Most complain about problems. Some fix them! In Nehemiah’s day, the people of God rose up and turned their crumbled city into one of strength, health and dignity. God wants to use each of us to make a difference in the problems around us. Join us in our new series, “Rise Up” to learn how you can become an integral part of bringing God’s restoration to our broken world.
Jeff and I worked together before in presenting a series of studies on Gideon. You can read my posts and watch Jeff’s sermons on Gideon by clicking here.
The studies on Nehemiah will begin with an introduction of Nehemiah and his book. Then, I will write seven studies based on seven sermons Jeff will preach on Nehemiah. Each post on this series of studies will be based on the sermons Jeff will preach. Each post will also include a video of the sermon Jeff preached in church. In a sense, the posts will serve as a historical background to the sermons Jeff will preach and his sermons will serve as an application of the posts to contemporary Christian life.
Jeff and I hope that the videos and the posts will help you to gain a better perspective of Nehemiah’s life and ministry. In addition, we hope that, when you are confronted with problems and difficult challenges in your life, you will learn from Nehemiah, a man who was used by God to solve problems in his community.
In order to be successful and make a difference in the problems around him, Nehemiah had to overcome deep frustration with the status quo, had to have the courage to ask for the impossible, and had to have the vision of what could be accomplished.
With the cooperation of his fellow citizens and persistence in the face of opposition, Nehemiah led the people in building the walls of Jerusalem. Once the walls were finished, Nehemiah led the people in a parade of praise around the wall and together they celebrated God’s faithfulness.
I am sure you will be greatly blessed by Jeff’s studies on Nehemiah, a man who was a gifted leader, a strategic administrator, and a God-fearing man.
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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Studies on Nehemiah