Chronology of the post exile: Ezra-Nehemiah
Years later, Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem to find the people have broken all their vows. His reaction is ruthless — to make a point.
The history told in Nehemiah is a historic witness to the restoring work of God in people’s lives. Now in chapter 12, at the what should be the end of the story, Nehemiah is once again going to make a circuit of the city. But this time instead of a single rider on a single horse as we saw in chapter 2, he is part of a parade circling the city on top of the rebuilt walls, singing the praises of God.
The people vow to keep God at the center of their lives as they move back into Jerusalem both by choice and by draft.
If all the generations prior to you have been people who listened to God and eventually rejected him, what is the likelihood that your generation is going to be different?
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.
In chapter 5, the problems Nehemiah and the Isrealites encounter are inflicted from within the community itself. In Chapter 6 Nehemiah is tested. Is he the kind of leader who fears God? Or is he the kind of leader who thinks too highly of himself and had been seduced by the power of leadership?
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 records the opposition they face and the leadership they need.
Nehemiah faces three moments where he must rely on the word of God and speak out boldly.
Nehemiah is caught in the tension of living between two worlds. He needs an answer from God as to how to resolve the dilemma.