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Friday, March 23, 2012

What is the book of Nehemiah about?

One of my all time favorite Old Testament books to study is the book of
Nehemiah. During the Old Testament Period commonly called "Return from
Captivity," we learn that while under the direction of Nehemiah, the final
group of Jews returned home to Jerusalem after their exile to Babylonian
captivity. Their purpose for coming home was to rebuild the city walls
around Jerusalem--which they did in just 52 days.

The late Johnny Ramsey said:

Some critics of the Bible scoff at Nehemiah as being a bricklayer's book.
But there is a much deeper plot than that in this dramatic section of God's
word. The purpose of rebuilding Jerusalem's wall was to keep Abraham's seed
safe within and the world outside the confines of the city David had taken
from the Jebusites (2 Sam. 6). It was imperative that Israel remain intact
until the coming of the promised Seed (Gal. 3:16) (Practical Bible Studies,
p.p. 111-112).

Nehemiah was such an one to keep them intact. How? Because of his leadership
and prayers.

#1 From Nehemiah we learn qualities that make for great leaders.
Nehemiah was a great leader because he knew how to relate to his people
(Neh. 1:4).
Nehemiah was a great leader because he was able to inspire others to work
(Neh. 2:17).
Nehemiah was a great leader because he didn't back down to opposition (Neh.
2:19-20).
#2 From Nehemiah we learn the value of prayer.
Nehemiah prayed expecting God to answer (Neh. 4:9).
Nehemiah prayed continually (cf. 1 Thes. 5:17).
[Side note: An interesting personal study would be the prayers of Nehemiah.]
Just over 2,400 years ago lived a man with an impressive history. However,
more than that were his impressive messages--messages like how to lead and
how to pray.

There is a sense in which each of us lead. Lead with the qualities of
Nehemiah. Then of course, we all pray. Let's pray like
Nehemiah--continually, and expecting God to do something about our prayers.

--Neil Richey

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