In chapter 7 the wall is finished. The city is safe, but not yet alive. In chapter 8 the people long to know God so they ask Ezra the priest to teach them the Law.
- Chapter 1: Nehemiah is caught in the tension of two worlds: cup bearer to the king and brother to the exiles.
- Chapter 2: Nehemiah faces three moments where he must rely on the word of God and speak out boldly.
- Chapter 3: paints a picture of community, including the main point that we should begin serving the body by working on “the broken wall in front of our own house.”
- Chapter 4: details the opposition the builders faced, including primarily their own internal ridicule, defeat and shattered faith. Nehemiah provides an example of a godly leader by speaking God about the people and to the people about God. He taught both to trust and to fight.
- Chapter 5: records the problems the community was having internally. Nehemiah rebukes them for their actions and calls them back to fearing God.
- Chapter 6: Nehemiah faces 3 tests of his character, as his enemies seek to kill him by appealing to his desire to be appreciated, his ambitions and his fears. In each case he resists because he knows that God is fighting for him and he does not have to put himself first or place too much importance on himself.
Nehemiah 7 is essentially a genealogy. It’s a list of the families of the repatriates and their origins. Like the names in chapter 3, we want to ask why.
- Chapter 7 is a monument to God’s care of Israel even during the exile.
- “Nehemiah picked Hananiah not because he was a relative, but “because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do” (Nehemiah 7:2).
- They have a renewed chance at a national identity as the people of the God of Abraham and they are guarding that, not their homes (Nehemiah 7:3).
- The city is rebuilt, but is it not alive (Nehemiah 7:4).
Chapter 8 records a revival and in it we meet Ezra for the first time.
- Revivals are a gift from God.
- The people longed for God because they had been touched by God.
- At this point Israel becomes a people of the book, not the temple.
- The revival was not a worship of the Bible but a desire to know it’s author (Nehemiah 8:7-8)
- Myth #1: The Bible is too hard to understand.
- Myth 2: There’s one best physical expression of worship.
- Myth 3: The right kind of music must be present to have worship.
- Myth 4: Christians are a miserable lot.
- Now that the city is rebuilt, God reminds them their home is not on earth.
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