The providence of God; Rebuilding the wall
Cup-bearer to Artaxerxes 444 BC. Not much is known about him outside if this book. Historical accounts can be found in Ezra (Believed to be one in the same with Nehemiah), Deuteronomy, 1,2 Kings, and the book of Chronicles. Artexerxes (Son of Xerxes), was Ester’s step son. Ester influence in the king emancipated the Jews from persecution.
“TRUSTING GOD IN OUR CHALLENGES”
(Nehemiah 1:3) They said to me, “The remnant in the province who survived the exile are in great trouble and disgrace. Nehemiah is filled with anxiety of the news, and immediately goes before God with a repentant heart:(1:6) let Your eyes be open and your ears be attentive to Your servant’s prayer that I now pray to You day and night. I confess the sins we have committed against You-Both I and my father’s house have sinned
*From the time Nehemiah receives the news ’til the time the king is made aware of this dilemma, 6 months have passed (Chislev-Nisan) Why? Hesitation, God working out the details-Putting everything in place? (Nehemiah 2:1b-2) During the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was set before him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I never had been sad in his presence, 2 so he said to me, “Why are you sad, when you are not sick? This is nothing but depression. (2:4) Then the king asked me, “What is your request?” So, I prayed to the God of heaven and answered the king, “If it pleases the king, and your servant has found favor with you, send me to Judah to the city where my ancestors are buried so that I may rebuild it. (2:6a) The king and his queen seated beside him asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you be back? God worked out the details! He was given as much timber he needed to rebuild the wall, He had safe passage (2:7-8), And he had personal protection 9 I went to the governors in the region west of the Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king also sent officers of the infantry and Calvary with me (2:9)
GOD’S CONVICTING SPIRIT:
(Nehemiah 2:11-12) 11 After I arrived in Jerusalem and had been there three days, 12 I got up at night and took a few men with me. I didn’t tell anyone what God had laid on my heart to do for Jerusalem. The only animal I took was the one I was riding [2:17-18] 17 So I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been burned down. Come let’s rebuild Jerusalem’s wall, so that we will no longer be in disgrace. 18 I told the how gracious the hand of the king had been on me, and what the king had said to me. They said, “Let’s start rebuilding, and they were encouraged to do this work.
NEHEMIAH’S FAITH TESTED:
(Nehemiah 2:19) When Sanballat the Horonitem Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Gesham the Arab heard about this, they mocked and despised us, and said, “What is this you’re doing? Are you rebelling against the king?
A constant challenge for Nehemiah was having to deal with those envious and pious officials- They seemed to be present at every juncture at every juncture of this project: (Nehemiah 4:1) When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall he became furious. He mocked the Jews before his colleagues and powerful me of Samaria, and said, “What are these pathetic Jews doing? Can they restore it by themselves? Will they ever finish it? Can they bring these burnt stones back to life from the mounds of rubble?
The officials were a constant threat, am enigma-Despite their taunting, and antagonizing, they were prevented from engaging the Jews. I think about Job, how God used Satan to torment him without physically harming him. Could God have used Satan to test Nehemiah’s faith, Perhaps, to spur them along. (2:20) So I gave them this reply, “The God of heaven is the One who will grant us success. We, His servant’s, will start rebuilding, bit you have no share, right or historic claim in Jerusalem. He was emboldened by the spirit and stood up to them.
(Nehemiah 4:4-5) Listen, our God, for we are despised. Make their insults return to their heads and let them be taken as plunder to a land of captivity. 5 Do not cover their guilt or let their sin be erased from your sight, because they have provoked the builders
(Nehemiah 4:15) When the enemies heard that we knew their scheme and God frustrated it, every one of us returned to his own work on the wall.”
THEIR FAITH IS STRETCHED EVEN FURTHER
(Nehemiah 4:7-8, 12) When Sanballat, Tobiah, and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashodites heard that the repair to the walls of Jerusalem was progressing and the gaps were being closed, they became furious. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw it into confusion  When the Jews who lived nearby arrived, they said to us time and again, “Everywhere you turn they attack us”
By this time the wall was so huge the tribes were stretched out to protect as much of the wall as possible: (4:16) From that day on, half of my men did the work while the other half held spears, shields, bows and armor.  Each of the builders had a sword strapped around his waist while he was building, and the trumpeter was beside me.
God also allowed the invasion of because of their obstinance and un-godly practices-
TROUBLE WITHIN “Social Economic injustices” (Nehemiah 5:1,3) There was a widespread outcry from the people and their wives against their Jewish countrymen 3 We are mortgaging our fields, vineyards, and homes to get grain so that we can eat and live. The affluent imposed saddled the citizens with taxes that only served to create more wealth for the wealthy and impoverish others. (5:9) Then I said, “What are you doing isn’t right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of God and invite reproach of our foreign enemies? 10 Even I as well as my brothers, and my servants, nave been lending them money and grain. Please let us stop charging this interest.
SELFLESSNESS STARTS WITH ME
Nehemiah was appointed as governor before leaving Artaxerxes. Part of his entitlements was having whatever he wanted to eat at his disposal: (Nehemiah 5:18) Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some fowl was prepared for me. An abundance of all kinds of wine was provided every 10 days. But I didn’t demand the food because the burden on the people was so heavy. 19 Remember me favorably, my God, for all that I have done for this people.
THE ENEMY WAS PERSISTANT
(Nehemiah 6:1-2) When Sanballat, Tobiah, Gessahm the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I rebuilt the wall and that no gap was left in it-though at the time I had not installed the doors in the gates-2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message: “Come let’s meet in the villages of Ono valley.” But they were planning to harm me. (6:11) But I said, should a man like me run away? How can I enter the temple and live I will not go? Nehemiah immediately picked up on their scheme. The only ones permitted in the temple were the priests. Anyone else would be put to death. He knew that the prophet was hired by Sanballat, and Geshem, and this was another one of their ploys to get at him.
The wall was completed in 52 days, on the twenty fifth day of the month Elul. 16 When all our enemies heard this, all the surrounding nations were intimidated and lost their confidence for they realized that the task had been accomplished by God
A LEAK DETECTED
Through one of their schemes, they discover how the officials knew every move they made: Nehemiah 6:17- 17 During those days, the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah and Tobiah’s letters came to them, 18 for many in Judah were bound by oath to him, since he was the son-in -law of Shecanaiah son of Aran, daughter of Messhullam, son of Berecaiah 19 The nobles kept mentioning Tobiah’s good deeds to me and they reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me
7 THE EXILES RETURN (7:66-67) The whole combined assembly numbered 42,360 67 not including 7337 male and female slaves. Many more came after *Was the 42,360 individuals or tribes?
The accounts that followed served to restore the nation of Judah:
8 Public reading of the law
9 National Confession of sin:
10 Israel’s vow of faithfulness:
-Details of the vow
11 Resettling Jerusalem
12 Announcement of the levites and Priests
13 Nehemiah’s further reform