Over the past two Sundays we have been privileged to begin digging into one of the truly remarkable stories of Scripture – the Book of Nehemiah. It’s been great for me to listen to the podcasts from afar and hear the rich preaching of God’s servant and, our dear brother, Scott Parsons. What a gift to Hebron!
When Scott and I began first talking about doing a series on the Book of Nehemiah he got a big smile on his face and said, “I love Nehemiah. Of all the characters of Scripture I feel as though I’m closest in identifying with him. He was a man who served God with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other.” If you know Scott very well you can see a lot of Nehemiah in him.
This week, in a message entitled, “Let’s Roll”, we are going to take one more look at the way Nehemiah introduces himself to us. From there we will take another glance at the prayer he prays in chapter one and then move into chapter two and see how God supernaturally answers that prayer.
I think it was the church father, Basil of Caesarea, who said, in effect, that we ought to pray in such a way that we make God ashamed if He does not answer; throwing God’s promises to Him saying, “Lord, You promised. Now fulfill Your promise. Otherwise, it’s going to look bad for You and it’s going to look bad to all those around You, because they’re going to say that this God of the Jews, the God of Jerusalem, does not keep His word.” It’s that kind of prayer we see Nehemiah praying in chapter one. And it’s that kind of prayer we see God answering in chapter two.
Now lest you think that Basil was awfully bold in voicing such a declaration, the Book of Nehemiah is careful to show us that such boldness can only be effective if it springs from a humble heart. Nehemiah has such a heart in spades!
We will examine the man, the method, and the message of Nehemiah 1:4-2:10 on Sunday. In preparation you may wish to consider the following!
- Why does Nehemiah give us the month of Chislev in chapter one and Nisan in chapter two?
- What significant lesson are we to draw from those dates?
- Why does Nehemiah ask Hanani for a report on the conditions in Jerusalem?
- When he tells us in verse 4 that he sat down and wept and mourned for days, how long is he talking about?
- The prayer he cites in verses 5 to 11 follows the famous “ACTS” pattern. Can you identify each element in his prayer?
- Scott mentioned the significance of the line, “I was cupbearer to the king.” What else do you know about what a cupbearer is? Why does he wait 11 verses to tell us that?
- Why was Nehemiah fearful in verse 2?
- Why does the king point out his sadness and its source in verse 2?
- Why does Nehemiah say all he says in verse 3?
- What provisions does the king give to Nehemiah? Is this more than he asks for?