Why was Nehemiah Blessed?
26 November 2017 PM – Nehemiah 1:1-2:8 – EzNe17 – Scott Childs
Introduction: We are going to see that Nehemiah was blessed of God. Psalm 1:1-2 say, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Nehemiah not only delighted in the Bible but he also delighted in serving the Lord.
This evening we are going to meet Nehemiah, a man who was blessed by God. He was born in Babylon during the captivity. Somehow he became the cupbearer to Artaxerxes the king of Persia. As cupbearer he was very influential. His position was of high rank like a personal servant.
Transition: As we meet Nehemiah, I want us to note three reasons that God was able to bless him.
The 1st reason Nehemiah was blessed is because …
1. His Passion Pleased God (1:1-4)
a. He had a great passion for his people.
1) He asked his brother Hanani about Jerusalem and the Jews who had returned there (1:2).
2) Hanani told of many problems in Israel (1:3).
a) Jews are in great affliction and reproach.
b) The wall of Jerusalem is broken down.
c) The city gates are burned.
b. His great passion could not be pushed aside.
1) He sat down and wept and mourned for days.
2) He fasted and prayed that God would intervene.
a) This fasting and prayer was not just one evening, he prayed continually day and night (1:6).
b) Later we learn that he had been praying for 4 months before the king discovered his burden (2:1).
c. We ought to have a greater passion for God’s work today.
1) God has saved us to serve not to sit. (Ephesians 2:10) “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
2) The New Testament is full of action commands:
a) Go ye into all the world and preach
b) Pray ye the Lord of harvest
c) Be ye doers of the Word not hearers only
d) Walk in the Spirit
e) Give; not grudgingly, or of necessity
3) How much of a passion do you have for serving God?
a) Do we intelligently pray for our missionaries?
b) Do you try to witness to the lost in our community?
4) God was able to bless Nehemiah because his passion pleased God. Does yours?
The 2nd reason Nehemiah was blessed is because …
2. His Prayer Pleased God (1:5-11)
As we study Nehemiah’s prayer, we will discover that it contained three elements – praise, penitence, and plea
a. His prayer began with praise.
1) He praised God’s person.
a) He called him LORD God of heaven
b) He acknowledged that he was the great and terrible God. “Terrible” means fearful, dreadful or awesome.
2) He praised God’s character.
a) He that keepeth covenant and mercy (1:5)
b) He hears and sees the needs of His people (1:6)
3) The Psalmist wrote, (Psalms 113:3) “From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised.”
4) Jesus taught us to praise God in prayer too. (Matthew 6:9) “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”
b. His prayer contained penitence.
Penitence is sorrow over sin and repentance.
1) He called himself God’s servant (1:6).
2) He prayed day and night (1:6).
3) He confessed both his and Israel’s sin (1:6).
4) He confessed specific sins (1:7).
5) Jesus illustrated the significance of a repentant heart in his parable of the Pharisee and Publican.
6) When you pray, do you confess your sins with sorrow and repentance? Do you name your sins to God? Are you specific? Do you confess ALL that you know displeases God? (Proverbs 28:13) “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
c. His prayer presented a plea to God.
1) He reminded God of His promises.
2) He pleaded with God to hear, prosper and grant mercy.
a) Evidently he prayed this prayer just before going before the king (1:11).
b) The request was specific that God would intervene as he petitioned the king.
3) God wants you to present your plea to Him as well.
a) Christians are both privileged and encouraged to come boldly before God with our requests. This is not permission to demand, but permission to ask without fear. (Hebrews 4:14-16) “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
b) Christians are challenged to “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Th 5:17). This does not mean we must pray every moment of the day and night, but we must be in a prayerful state, praying frequently and always able to pray. (Luke 18:1) “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;” Jesus then told a parable of a woman who continually pleaded with a judge for help till she got it. Through this Jesus was teaching the importance of persistence in prayer. God is not uncaring, but he wants to see our true desire.
The 3rd reason Nehemiah was blessed is because …
3. His Purpose Pleased God (2:1-8)
Nehemiah desired to ask the king’s permission for a leave of absence to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall. Making a request of this nature before the king was no small matter. It could have been considered treason. Kings were all-powerful and if the king was displeased, Nehemiah would have been killed. Thus, it was vital that Nehemiah’s purpose pleased God before he spoke.
a. He had courage because his purpose pleased God (2:1-3)
1) Nehemiah was very afraid when the king saw him sad.
2) He fearfully revealed the burden he had carried 4 months.
b. God gave him courage to make his request (2:4-8).
1) The king asked him why he was sad (2:2)
2) He respectfully explained his passion for Jerusalem (2:3).
3) The king asked what his request was (2:4).
4) After a silent prayer, he asked for permission to go rebuild the Jerusalem wall (2:5). He also asked for protection (2:7) and for provisions (2:8). The king granted his requests.
5) Nehemiah gratefully recognized that this was the good hand of God upon him (2:7).
6) Nehemiah’s purpose or goal in life was to advance the work and cause of the Lord. Is that truly your purpose or goal?
Conclusion: God blessed Nehemiah because he had a passion, prayer and purpose that pleased God. God is looking for Christians today that will have a passion, prayer and purpose that pleases Him.
What is your passion for God like? Do your actions show that you truly care about the lost? Do you pray like Nehemiah offering praise, penitence and a plea to God for yourself and for others? Is your purpose or goal in life to further the work of the Lord? Can you honestly say you are living for eternity?
Song: Have I Done My Best – 368