Nehemiah discusses the connection between the motherland and the diaspora when Judeans who had been exiled to Babylonia found out about the conditions of Jerusalem and the people living in Judah, Jeremiah helped Judah to re-establish its own identity.
Expositions On The Theme: Nehemiah: The challenge of Diaspora (Neh.1:1-11).
Since God used Nehemiah to soothe and encourage His people in Jerusalem, the name Nehemiah means “Jehovah Comforts or Encourages.” He had the honour of serving as the cupbearer to the Persian monarch Artaxerxes (Neh.1:11) The cup bearer serves as the monarch’s last line of defence while they taste the wine and food.
The exiles who had already returned to Judah were in distress, and the walls of Jerusalem were still in ruins, he learned while holding this high office.
Nehemiah fasted and prayed intensely over the matter for days because he was so burdened and worried. After sincerely expressing his worry to the king, he was graciously given permission to travel to Jerusalem and serve as governor in order to rebuild the city walls.
Nehemiah: The challenge of Diaspora (Neh.1:1-11).
Nehemiah is a mystery, a riddle, and an enigma to the mentally deranged and/or spiritually illiterate, but a product of determination to the same of Jesus Christ. . A miraculously born man who appears in the Bible as a colourful and bold figure. My eyes have been awakened to the tremendous treasures contained in NEHEMIAHL’s person and book as a result of studying him and his work as a whole. He is an example of a complex personality and proof that nothing is impossible for God. Jerusalem’s wall has collapsed, and fire has burned through its gates.
The Hebrew Bible’s book of Nehemiah is mostly a first-person memoir about the reconstruction of Jerusalem’s walls following the Babylonians. It is written by a Jew who holds a prominent position in the Persian Court and describes how the city and its residents are committed to upholding God’s commandments (Torah). It has largely been regarded as a distinct book within the bible since the 16th century. Beginning in the 13th century, the vulgate book of Ezra was split into two manuscripts and referred to as the first and second books of Ezra in Latin Christian bibles.
Within the Achaemenid empire, Judah is one of several provinces that make up a bigger satrapy (a larger administrative unit). Nehemiah had one of the most important official roles in ancient Persia as the cup bearer to King Artaxerxes. In 586 BC, the Babylonians captured and destroyed Jerusalem, and NEHEMIAH discovers it is still in ruins. It was his responsibility to restore the city’s defences and repopulate it. The Arabs, the Samaritans, and the Ammonites, three powerful neighbours, opposed him, yet he was still able to repair the walls. Then, by enforcing the Jewish people’s separation from their neighbours and with the Law of Moses, he purifies the Jewish race.
NEHEMIAH would be viewed as racist and possibly religious intolerance in the world of today. Greek translations of the Hebrew “Book of Ezra” date to the middle of the second century BC. The older version of Ezra—NEH EMIAH—was added to the text of 1Esdiras in the Christian Old Testament in Greek beginning in the third century.
Early in the fifth century, Jerome wrote that Greek and Latin Christians had since embraced this duplication. Early in the fifth century, Jerome noticed that many other Christians had since accepted this duplication. The split was not frequently implemented in Hebrew bibles until 1516–1517. But occasionally, starting in the ninth century, Latin bibles are discovered that divided the Ezra and NEHEMIAH sections of Ezra-NEHEMIAH into two separate books, which are then referred to as the first and second books of Ezra. This practise became common in the Paris bibles of the thirteenth century.
PUTTING The THEME IN PERSPECTIVE Nehemiah 1:3-4
They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. NEHEMIAH was a Jew who had been born in the land of Israel’s captivity, the equivalent of Black Americans in our modern parlance but had risen to the trust of trusted Cupbearer to the king, himself. He was living under the rulership of the great Persian empire which had overthrown the blasphemous, Babylonian rulership kingdom, which had conquered and enslaved the nation of Israel so many years before ad the temple of Jerusalem had been rebuilt as a result of the decree of Cyrus, the great king of Persia, although its beauty and magnificence didn’t in any way reflect that mon’s great construction both in value and beauty. It was Ezra the Priest who Supervised the rebuilding construction work of the Temple in Jerusalem, which was in tandem with the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah given over hundreds of years ago.
Cyrus is my shepherd, who shall perform all my pleasure; even saying to Jerusalem, “Thou shall be built, and to the temple, “Thy foundation shall be laid” Following the rebuilding of the Temple, as recorded by Ezra, the nation was still in exile and not habitable, the walls of the city remained broken and desolate, the gates of the city lay scorched with fire and only remnants of Jews who had escaped the captivity remained in the land. As it were, these pathetic people were living under great affliction and were enduring hardship coupled with grave insecurity associated with failed walls and broken-down gates. BUT JERUSALEM was not the M25 between Egypt and Assyria and a constant flow of traffic and information, regarding the state of affairs in Jerusalem, reached the ears of NEHEMIAH and his book opens with a glimpse of this servant of God receiving some distressing news from his homeland, which caused NEHEMIAH’s countenance to become sad and his heart to almost break when he heard it. ” The remnants there in the province who survived the captivity are great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire”.
This news caused NEHEMIAH to weep and mourn over the terrible state of his nation and the shocking decline of his people. It also caused him to turn to God with pleading prayer of repentance, Confessions and an urgent petition for God to move in the lives of His people. When NEHEMIAH reflected on the depths to which his nation Israel had
sunk, due to their constant rebellious apostasy against the Lord and the Spiritual bankruptcy that had ensued, he confessed his sin and the transgressions of the nation and pleaded with the Lord to forgive their sins and fulfil the promises He made to their forefather Abraham and his seed, forever. It was as a result of his repentant prayer and
urgent request for God to fulfil His promises to Israel and to do mighty things within the nation of Israel, that God had to recruit NEHEMIAH and used him in a wonderful way Oversee and supervise the rebuilding of the walls of the Holy city of Jerusalem. When NEHEMIAH heard this distressing news, he did not give up hope or throw in the
towel, NEHEMIAH rather grieved deeply and repented of his nation’s rebellion against Lord, with no blame games shifting, no accusation and no abuse rather he saw it as a collective error that needs to be dealt with, with collective and corporate concern, hence verse 4.
Ninety years had passed since the returning exiles had arrived at Jerusalem. They had encountered many difficulties which had marred their progress and cooled their enthusiasm. The temple, indeed, was rebuilt, but Jerusalem lay in ruins and its walls remained as they had been left, by Nebuchadnezzar’s siege, some century and a half before. The revelation of the actual condition of Jerusalem came upon NEHEMIAH with a shock. He had perhaps not thought much upon the subject before now, or may not have any exact means of communication, possibly had thought the city was
flourishing under the superintendence of Ezra, whose piety and patriotism were no doubt known to him. It was a bitter grief to him to find out that his people were still “a reproach to their neighbours ” laughed to scorn by those whose walls had never been destroyed or who had been allowed to rebuild theirs. In those days rather one may say many of those countries of disorder, a city without locked gates and lofty walls was no city at all”.
The burden of the fear and the pain was that a few years ago Egypt had been in revolt, she might revolt again, and carry her arms into Syria since there is no hindrance or obstacles to stop their invasion. The surrounding Arab nations from the desert may find self heaven by extending their raids into Judah and be tempted by the known values of the temple treasures to swoop upon the unwalled town. Such thoughts produced a flood of tears leading to NEHEMIAH’S fasting expeditions.
THE MAN NEHEMIAH: A phenomenal
Before attempting to study or read the book of NEHEMIAH, the name reveals\rname words will bring comfort. God’s word guides us on how to overcome challenges and operations, and at the same time reveals God’s intentions for him. He was far from Jerusalem, as a slave for a foreign king in Persia in 444 BC. His action of fasting and prayer brought changes to the city of God. He lived out his name to the people of Israel. The book of NEHEMIAH guides us on how to overcome challenges, and operations, and at the same time reveals NEHEMIAH’S ability to overcome presumption, prayer life, leadership skills, administrative acumen, and faithfulness.
The repair of the wall of Jerusalem and re-dedication of the people of Israel is the last recorded history in the old testament. God knew it was because of fear of man, not God that debarred the people from repairing the wall, hence receiving the bad state of Jerusalem. God has called many of us to make a difference but we have neglected this call severally with amazing accomplices. The repair of the wall and re-dedication of the people of Israel is the last recorded history in the old testament. “NEHEMIAH was a man of intense intercession: he showed us how to pray to God and how to listen for his answers in everything”. He started the lengthy Prayer by first and foremost appreciating God’s kindness towards the people of Israel. ?.. Prayer is the master key”
At several steps in NEHEMLAH’S life, he prayed for each and every step and actually coupled it with fasting.
When God drops a divine project and plan in his mind, he quickly tells the people that God’s hand had been favourable to him (2:18). Many of us have given up on prayer because we have seen or experienced God’s favour. NEHEMIAH’S comfortable position did not influence his prayer life. He prayed for four months before God answered his prayer request. It happened to Sampson when he thought he could go out like other times, without knowing that the Spirit of God had departed from him.
He never tried to fight but kept reminding the people that God would fight for them and give them hope and courage to continue rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. His plan includes teamwork, persistence, handwork, cooperation, assurance hope and trust in God. NEHEMIAH a Man of the strategic planner: When the king asked how he could help
him in his vision to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and he listed all the letters
that different people need to receive to make his trip legal and smooth, he took
the signed letters the king and picked up the supplies approved by the king
along the journey.
He was a great team worker and an inspirational leader. He shared the favour the king gave him and informed the Jewish people how God’s hand had been with him in the assignment. The Jewish people responded by every one of them going to work immediately. They were committed to finishing the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem on his testimony. He took time
to address different segments of the Jewish people.
Great leaders like NEHEMIAH are servants and understand the people they lead. This understanding cut across physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological and material. Such leaders provide shoulders, where the weak lay
their heads, and encouragement in times of crisis. They try to hide their own fears in order to keep the people actively involved in course of the project. NEHEMIAH faced all obstacles: He had enough excuses to shy away from the task ahead. Those who were to oppose him are rooted in the local game of politics, but NEHEMIAH was trained by king Artaxerxes who himself is a warlord.
The years of serving him by NEHEMIAH were not in vain as those experiences build up NEHEMIAH’S bold, courage and strategy. He was bullied by enemies severally, he had only one response to them ” PRAYER. He stated that God would fight for them. The main enemies lived around the city and didn’t want the wall rebuilt. They were enjoying the daily reproach and humiliation the Jews suffered as a result of the ruined walls. Hence, NEHEMIAH coming to salvage the situation was not welcomed by them. so they tried different and various tactics to dissuade him from continuing their
expedition, they ridiculed and bullied him (4:1-6), but he remained focused on the assignment by praying to God, ignoring them and the work continued. They threatened to attack him, so the people raised a corporate voice of prayer and set
up guards (4:8-15). He reminded the people to trust God and paired the workers, one worked while the other stood by armed to fight. He set up signals of trumpet calls in cases of emergence.
The enemies tried a compromise strategy by trying to draw him outside the city where they could harm him but resisted the temptation they tried to use the Priest to lure him to meet in the temple in order to compromise his faith, again he beats them to their game. He saw their ploys and rejected meeting with them because he was doing great work that does not need to be stopped for any other meeting, it doesn’t really matter the public status of those involved in the meeting (6:2-4). The last of the obstacles was to smear his personality by slandering him with a report they purported would be sent to the king if he does not attend to them. Again, he replied to them by saying they have invented things and then he prayed to God for
strength and refused to meet in the temple with them (6:5-12).
NEHEMIAH Overcame all the opposition, obstacles and blackmail and the people rebuilt the walls that laid ruins for seventy (70) years in 52 days. Honestly, that is the speed of light. From NEHEMIAH’S experience, we should look at obstacles as challenges to press on and trust God. NEHEMIAH was a man of integrity: He remained a man of honour and integrity. In all of his projects, he kept a clean slate and lived above board. He worked for king Artaxerxes as a drink bearer which requires him to taste each drink before it is served to the king to be sure it contains no poison. By this action, he was prepared to die for the king and yet recognized God as Sovereign and infinite. He never walked and worked in assumptions or presumptuous, hence was never caved in fear he always obeyed God first before the King. He humbly remained the secular leader and lay person, but with colossal support and connection for the Priest. He stood with the priest and scribes and the people to listen to the reading of the law and prayer of Confessions of the people.
He allowed each person to perform their delegated duties and assignment. His name was on the sealed document of the covenant (10:1). He directed the leaders and choir to go on top of the wall and joined with the leaders, choir and people to parade on the wall and celebration (12:27-43). He kept his promise of returning to the king Artaxerxes and then returned to Jerusalem. When he discovered that some of the leaders had let an evil enemy into the room in the courtS of the Lord, he threw them out and restored the workers who were displaced in the house of God. He stopped the attitude of desecrating the sabbath by commercializing on that holy day and commanded the Levites to purify themselves and perform their duties (13:8-30). He paid attention to his actions and focused primarily on pleasing God. We are supposed to emulate NEHEMIAH in developing our integrity quotient. For now, many of us are below the expectation ladder.
NEHEMIAH a Man of reconciliation and relationship builder: In chapters 5:1-13, the people began to quarrel among themselves, but NEHEMIAH intervened in the quarrel and brought peace. He had to scold the people who were not walking in the fear of God (5:9) and take advantage of their own people. He set new rules and settled the issues tearing the sustained peace of the people. In verse 13, the people rejoiced and praised God. In chapter 1: 7 NEHEMIAH asked God for restoration of the nation Israel and for God to keep the promise to bring Israelites back to Jerusalem if they would return to God. NEHEMIAH worked with Ezra the Priest and scribe to reconnect the people of Israel with God. He built healthy relationships among the people Worship was restored fully and the people enjoyed fellowship with one another. With the help of Ezra as the priest and scribe, the people were led to make a new commitment to God. When the people heard the reading of the law they wept but NEHEMIAH told them to rejoice and reminded them that God is their strength. NEHEMIAH never concerned himself with only the condition of the city, but he looked into the welfare of the people by gathering them into family groups which reveal the backbone of a nation. He understood the importance of God’s people returning back to Him and that the action of returning back to God, pleases Him.
NEHEMIAH a Man who feared the Lord: NEHEMIAH absolutely TO focus on God wholeheartedly. He gave God all the glory in all achievements. He was not a presumptuous person, he relied on God for daily guidance and direction. Each step he took, he prayed for God’s leading, little wonder he did not make many mistakes in the rebuilding process. He desired to please God and willingly wanted God to observe him and be with him throughout the project. He called on God severally to remember him for good. When he finally completed the work on the wall he stated in 6:15-16 that the surrounding nations recognised that this is not by strength but God had helped them to accomplish and achieve the feat within the shortest
possible time. He understood the importance and consequences of both holiness and turning away from God, hence he rebuked the people for profaning the sabot. He equally reminded them that their troubles came
from not being holy (13:17-18). In this synod, let us resolve to follow NEHEMIAH’S footsteps and see the goodness of God. Our God is rich in mercy waiting for our individual and corporate return from the land of sín
Learning To Start With Prayers.
Ezekiel of the Book of NEHEMIAH was a Jew and cupbearer to the king of Persia. He never allowed emotions to control his thoughts, rather he subjected his thoughts and emotions to the God test. The Bible records he fasted and prayed for some days to ask God what His plans are and how he would want him to go about them. Let us begin with prayers whether it is a business pursuit, facing marriage, dealing with an unbearable neighbour or facing potential health challenges. Ezra prayed God answered, NEHEMIAH prayed, God answered, Elijah prayed, God answered, Elisa prayed, God answered, David saved, God, answered, Jonah prayed, God answered, Sampson the adulterous prayed, God answered and Daniel prayed, God answered and you marvelled, God answered! Beginning every assignment with prayers, it doesn’t really matter how urgent it may be. NEHEMIAH learned from the onset to align with God’s plans and purposes. You can align yourself with God by doing simple things like praying for others, and your neighbours and helping out the poor and the needy.
This is one of the big lessons of NEHEMIAH’S success story. Learn to know that God’s plans are bigger and better than you can imagine: This is the first step of realization before any major progress is achieved. Realize that God’s plans are bigger and far better than you can imagine. God’s plans for the world are unimaginable with the human skull. From the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth with major plans than we can comprehend. Psalm 24: 1-2, States thus, ” The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who leave in it, for he founded it, on the seas and established it on the waters “. A God who took such time to fashion the world has a better and bigger portrait than anything we think we can offer collectively. Hence, realising this will compel us to depend on him. It’s his world, which he invited us to deputise for him. You can never love this world more than its creator and owner.
NEHEMIAH understood this principle so he had to ask God to give him favour with the king. He then approached the king and asked to be allowed to go to Jerusalem and attend to the work of rebuilding the wall. The king honoured the request and provided him with a wide range of other logistics and resources, including letters documenting and supporting the King’s support and items for rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
I am very sure that NEHEMIAH never expected such easygoing approval from the king. The king provided security, materials and many other things that will enable him to have hitch-free rebuilding. Let us learn to trust God with our requests, but know that he will answer in his own time and way which will turn out to be the best for us. Just know that he is capable of everything you could imagine and more. God thinks ahead of us all and plans out his purposes before our realisation. Learn to know that God has each person in mind. God created us differently and hence handles us in our peculiar personage. He knows the thought he has for each and every one of us. His plans for each of us are different and come in different ways possible to Him alone. Hence imitating people or being envious of them becomes useless and honestly obsolete.
God designed us differently, complexion, while others are dark, some others are outgoing, while others are not. In all of these brackets, God has plans for each and how to achieve his global vision of the world using each of us. Therefore, don’t expect that God will do for you what he has done for others, likewise, others should not in any way expect God to do to them what he has done for you. You are not your neighbour and God doesn’t treat his children as if they were all the same people. God chooses how he treats each of us and be sure that will be the best for you. His plans for you are different, outside of his sufficient grace given freely, what he provides to each of us is unique and peculiar.
NEHEMIAH and Ezra are two perfect examples of how God treats us differently. NEHEMIAH started out the assignment with the support of the king, but the Bible doesn’t tell us about anyone who came to Jerusalem with him to help out with the rebuilding of the walls. Ezra started with the King’s support, also he came with many people who are ready to take up leadership roles under his guidance. Each of us faces different challenges and is given unique resources. We have resources that differ from your nearest neighbour. With this in mind competition and rivalry should not have a place among us. This also doesn’t in any way encourage laziness and procrastination.
on to realize that it doesn’t require “full- Time ministry “: In the building process of Jerusalem, three great personalities played major roles The first is Zerubbabel, the Prince, who represented the political class, the second is Ezra, a Priest and Scribe, who represented the religious class and the third is NEHEMIAH, the layman who represented the laity class.
The Defence and Priest played their roles well in actualizing the rebuilding of Jerusalem, but could not get the job done, in that they failed to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and cleanse the temple. For this aspect God raised NEHEMIAH. He was engaged in a lucrative job in Persia, as a cupbearer to the king, he needed to be a moral honest man or else he would be susceptible to bribery. He earns and held the King’s highest trust in the land. In those days the kings trust their cupbearers more than their wives and the reason is not far-fetched, as they marry many wives. So, the major work of NEHEMIAH was to taste the wine served to the king, and with that, he became the first victim of the wine being poisoned. This action is seen as putting his life on the line for the king.
Learn to care about the things of God. Many of us don’t get involved in the things of God and we still expect God’s blessings in our lives. It doesn’t work that way. You may enjoy God’s sufficient freely given grace but not the ultimate of it. NEHEMIAH was deeply and sincerely concerned about God’s cause. Just think for a moment, one day while he was attending to his busy schedule in the palace, he encountered a brother who had just possibly returned from a business trip to Jerusalem. He made inquiries about the home people and their living conditions, ” How are things going in the land “. Possibly, “Not too good ” as a response. The bad report stifled peace out his mind and trouble took over the seat of his life which affected his official disposition because God’s commandments were being ignored. The walls in shambles meant the people lived in danger. He imagined himself living in a palatial enjoying every comfort while his people are languishing in abject poverty. He felt that he needed to do something to alleviate their suffering. Alter much prayer reflections, NEHEMIAH boldly and courageously requested the King’s help to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Every God’s Cause receives over supplicated requests. Let us learn to put God’s common Concerns first and He will grant us open doors.
Learn to know that God sees your faithfulness and rewards the same in his own way: The rebuilding process of the walls and gates of Jerusalem was one of the fastest building projects we have ever heard of. NEHEMIAH did a tremendous thing both for the people of Jerusalem and for God when he took up that challenge of rebuilding the walls and gates, which many of us may not consider an option to venture in. It was a wonderful testimony of God’s enormous work through individuals. It was hard work to contemplate and it took a lot of people to engage in the work including managing the resources both human material. Many of these people not only contributed their labour, and time but also material donations. God took notes of these sacrifices. One writer I read his work says “Many unknown Christians will be called before the Judgment seat of Christ and rewarded to the amazement of us all. You think of Bishops, Preachers Missionaries and other church workers are receiving great rewards, but I think that some of the greatest rewards will go to some of the unknown saints who live for God in this day and days ahead”.
NEHEMIAH might have made great many and very useful excuses for treating lightly the bad reports that his brother had brought to him. He might have said the following: Jerusalem is a distance from here hence God understands I have got my work to do for which I am paid, God knows I am being fair to my employer. There is no need to help out after all I am safe where I am and gainful employed, let the dead bury themselves. I don’t have to leave and the king will not let me go since I am the only person to bear his cup of wine. I am too busy to go because I don’t have a deputy to stand in for me. It’s not part of my business schedule to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem after all I am not a Prince or a Priest and many more reasons you can imagine, but never, did NEHEMIAH believe he was called to the assignment of rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem in order to remove the ridicule and reproach from the people of Israel. He allowed the bad report to fill his heart, and burn there to create a burden for the work. NEHEMIAH had the knowledge and decided to attend to what he knows. Many of us do not know what is happening in our immediate environment because we are comfortable where we are. Our synod theme fits into the state of our nation Nigeria. The state of Jerusalem is comparable to the state of our nation.
The Jerusalem situation was a sorry sight and helpless condition that the people were broken from all available fronts. The walls were knocked down and allowed to lay that way for many years. Indeed the fallen walls over time became part of the culture of the Jerusalem residents, they seem not to see anything wrong with it, hence everyone neglected it and behave as if all is well. The gates of Jerusalem were burnt down and allowed to remain that way which later became a norm and value state of the place. People were going in and coming out of Jerusalem without the slightest qualms. The Princes were there with the lawmakers, Terusalen e the state of Jerusalem as needing attention. The Priests were there but no one sees the state Orals to the people without any effort to remove the reproach of gates. The people were there listening to their leaders and preaching collapsed walls and daily instructions. Things were normally provided they had their bread and perform their daily functions. The challenge of fixing this broken nation and its associated friends is enormous and needs the concerted effort of the likes of NEHEMIAH to receive the burden of rebuilding this seemly irreparable task of rebuilding our nation. It is not for political chants and job seekers but real men of burden with independent capacity.
I must finish the work, my food said Jesus, ” Is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work (John 4:34).
This biblical verse reveals Jesus’ work philosophy which includes his attitude, values and beliefs on how to get things done. The principles he lived by were a call to being clear about your assignment. Jesus understood that focus maximises skill and opportunity. When NEHEMIAH was rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls his enemies said come let us meet together ( NEH. 6:2), and he would not listen to them, rather he said, “I am doing a great work, so I cannot come down”.
As we proceed with these three bible studies, we shall be looking at the theme: “NEHEMIAH: THE CHALLENGE OF DIASPORA” in light of the following topics.
•Remembering our roots.
•Forgetting the Lord and despising our faíth in God
•The challenge of greed and selfishness.
May the good Lord grant us insight and understanding in Jesus’ name.
BIBLE STUDY 1
Theme: Nehemiah: The challenge of Diaspora
Topic: Remembering our root
•To help us understand the importance of having concern and burden to our homeland.
•To see some of the reasons why some people in the diaspora do not show concern or remember their roots.
•To suggest practical ways this challenge can be handled.
Charity begins at home is a very popular adage which communicates in clear terms the real significance of investing sincerely on one’s home front, It appears this adage is no longer applicable to our Generation. This is evident when we try to compare the economic state of America, the United Kingdom and other European countries with ours. Our leadership gap can be taken care of by the better-exposed brethren in the diaspora if given the opportunity. Our brethren who reside in developed cities are fortunate to be optimally engaged. Most times we see the unsavoury and repelling attitudes of people at home towards these ones abroad as a great challenge affecting their responses homewards. This was unlike Nehemiah who despite his position, status and financial capacity not only showed concern but went all out to see that the situation and condition changed or good.
1. What is your thinking do you feel gave Nehemiah such concern and burden over the situation of Jerusalem? Neh.1:3-4, 2:3, Psalm 137:5-6, Psalm 132:13-10.
2. Compare Nehemiah’s concern and burden for Jerusalem with that of some
people in the diaspora today? What do you think could be the reason for such a nonchalant attitude of our brethren abroad towards home?
3. ln line with the following subheadings and scriptures, discuss the following as Some of the problems that make those in the diaspora not show enough concern for home.
i)Pleasure and comfort Amos.6:1, Esth.4:12-14
ii) Selfishness Rom.12:10, Philip 2:3
ii) Lack of right information Neh.1:1-2, Prov.14:5
iv) Insincerity of those at home.
4. Could there be attendant blessings or negative consequences for or for not
paying attention to one’s home, especially when one has been given the privilege
by God? Esther 4:13-14. Neh. 13:28-31.
5. Suggest practical ways to help our people in diaspora think about their home?
East, West, North or South, home is the best. It is better to remember home and make
reasonable contributions to improving the general state of our homes when one is alive
and active than when one is incapacitated. Many of our churches, communities and
towns are still looking for people like Nehemiah today.
MEMORY VERSE: Psalm 137:5
BIBLE STUDY 2
In Deuteronomy 8, Moses cautioned the children of Israel about the perils of prosperity and self-satisfaction that they would face in their new home. (Deut. 8:11-15)
Some who were sponsored or trained by the church, do not remember God or the church that made them who they are today. The word forgets comes from the original Hebrew word which can be interpreted to mean to stop remembering 1gnore, dismiss from the mind. abandon, neglect or cease to care about. Nehemiah was a man that found himself in a foreign land and in a position of affluence, yet he still had God in mind and acknowledged His sovereignty (Heb.11:6)
1. In your own understanding, what does it mean to forget God?
1. b) In the light of these passages, discuss Nehemiah as a man in the diaspora who
never allowed his position or environment to affect his relationship with his
God. Neh.1:4-11, 2:18-20, 4:1-5, 14,5:15, 13:7-12
2. What do you think makes (s) people, especially those in the diaspora forget God?
Hosea 13:6, Deut.32:15, Prov.1:10, Heb.10:25, Heb.3:13
3 What are the dangers of forgetting God? Job.8:11-14, Psalm 9:17, Rom.1:21-24,
4. Critically suggest how we can bring God back to the consciousness of our people,
at home and in the diaspora?
Forgetting God is not a trivial issue before the Lord as we can see
from His word ( 1Samuel 2:30). It is high time our people at home and in diaspora stopped allowing other gods to receive a share of our attention and worship God. These
gods could be in form of materialism, humanism, work, pleasure and self. Let us be
obedient unto the voice of the Lord our God (Deut.8:20) that we may be proved faithful
MEMORY VERSE: Prov.3:6
BIBLE STUDY 3
Greed and selfishness are among the negative attitudes that plague our society today. Those holding public offices, leaders and the led are guilty of this at one point or
the other. It is saddening enough to say that these attitudes are seriously affecting and destroying the younger generation.
A Bible commentator defined greed as an “insatiable desire to have more money or possessions for self-gratification while ignoring God and eternity”. Selfishness on the
On the other hand, means concern for self at the expense of others.
Nehemiah as a man who held a public office was exposed to the temptation of greed and
selfishness yet overcame this challenge and left a good example for us.
1. In your own words, explain the meaning of greed and selfishness?
2. Compare Nehemiah’s attitude and reactions as regards greed and selfishness
with that of public office holders of our time? Neh.2:7-8, Neh.5:1-12, Neh.5:14
3. What are the dangers or negative effects of greed and selfishness? Prov.15:27,
Prov.1:18-19, 2Kgs.5:24-27, 1Tim.6:9-10, ICor.6:9-10
4. Discuss and suggest possible ways of fighting this issue of greed and selfishness
in our church and society 1Tim.6:6, Heb.13:5, 11Tim.6:16-17
Greed and selfishness have been the major problem of humanity. It is the rationale behind most crimes like drug trafficking, stealing, fraud, money rituals, killings and other sinful dealings. The consequences of greed and selfishness do not only affect the person involved but also those around him. Prov.15:27,2Kgs.5:27
MEMORY VERSE: Prov.28:22
Summary Of The Book Of Nehemiah,
The book of NEHEMIAH is replete with divine principles that guide anyone into any kind of business world or Christian ministry, and without an understanding of the spiritual principles that hold life together is utter foolishness. Many of these principles are illustrated most powerfully in the story of NEHEMIAH. When we first meet NEHEMIAH he is serving as cupbearer ( wine taster) in Susa, the principal palace and winter residence of the Persian King. NEHEMIAH was a Jew, of course, probably of the tribe of Judah, but as cupbearer, to the king, he held a position of great eminence. As NEHEMIAH begins his story he tells of receiving a visit from his brother, Hanani, who between Persian and Jerusalem, who reports that the gates and walls of Jerusalem are broken down. The temple, rebuilt under Haggai and Zechariah, was still intact, but because of the decline in spirituality, and general apathy, the city walls had been allowed to lie in ruins. In addition to this, marauders had burned down the gates and reduced them to a pile of ashes. Jerusalem the city of God was in a sorry state. NEHEMIAH’S strong reaction to this ugly news shows us where his real concern lay, not in maintaining a good position in the Persian empire but in achieving God’s purposes for His holy city. One wonders, what our reaction is when we observe some of the modern walls ‘which God has inspired and instructed his people to build, that are now in a state of despair; take for instance the issue of marriage and family life, moral upbringing, Scriptural standards etc. The walls that buttressed these most precious institutions are in great danger of being demolished. One journal says, ‘ Marriages are a thing of the past; wedding rings are doomed How do we react when we see God’s principles disregarded, His walls being broken down?. Do our personal interests and concerns take priority over God’s concerns and interests? NEHEMIAH put first thing first. So must we. NEHEMIAH’s intensely emotional reaction to the news concerning the plight of Jerusalem highlights the first of the many spiritual principles we have discovered in his story: before anyone can receive a blessing, someone else has to be willing to bear a burden. We can never lighten the load for others until we have first felt the weight of their troubles in our own souls. NEHEMIAH was not ready to put into action any kind of recovery plan for Jerusalem until he had faced his feelings and wept because of its ruined state. Therefore we are fit to do God’s only. The book of NEHEMIAH falls naturally into two parts. The first six chapters dealt with the reconstruction of Jerusalem’s walls, the last seven chapters dealt with the re- instructions of the people. NEHEMIAH is a type of Christ because he relinquished a privileged position to identify with his people, he fulfils his mission to restore people to God and he overcomes intense opposition by a lite to prayer. NEHEMIAH could hardly be a better role model for us today as we seek to rebuild spiritual truth and restore our own neighbours and nation to God.
I SHALL STOP HERE FOR NOW, TILL THE NEXT UPDATE.
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