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A BUILDER FOR GOD STUDIES IN THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH OUTLINE I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII.

NEHEMIAH ONE NEHEMIAH TWO NEHEMIAH THREE and FOUR NEHEMIAH FIVE NEHEMIAH SIX NEHEMIAH SEVEN and EIGHT NEHEMIAH NINE NEHEMIAH TEN - THIRTEEN

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Lesson 1 A BUILDER FOR GOD Studies In The Book of Nehemiah Nehemiah 1 INTRODUCTION: It is Satan’s business to tear down, not to construct. It is our business as God’s people to be builders. Jesus talked about the wise man who built his house upon a rock (Matthew 7:24). According to Jude, we are to build up ourselves in our most holy faith (Jude 20). Nehemiah was a builder. He lived in the dark days of the captivity of Israel. Invaders had subdued Judah and destroyed Jerusalem and its temple. When approximately 70 years had elapsed, Cyrus issued a decree which offered the possibility for Jewish exiles to return to their beloved land (II Chronicles 36:22, 23). The two primary leaders in the tremendous effort to return were Ezra the priest and Nehemiah the layman. In our present study we will focus on Nehemiah, a man whose devotion to the unpopular task of rebuilding the destroyed walls of Jerusalem is an inspiration centuries after the fact. His example as a builder under the most adverse conditions will inspire you in your service for Christ. God wants to build into your life the same qualities Nehemiah had. I. HE WAS IN A POSITION OF TRUST (Verse 1) Nehemiah occupied a high position in the Persian court because of his trustworthy character (Verse 11). The office of “cupbearer” was one of the most dignified in an oriental kingdom and required moral trustworthiness in its occupant, lest he be bribed to present poisoned wine to the king. A Christian should be dependable regardless of his circumstances. No matter where you are, you are in a position of trust because of your high calling (II Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 6:20). II. HE WAS GREATLY INTERESTED IN THE CONDITION OF HIS HOMELAND (Verses 2,3) Nehemiah was not so carried away by his success as to be indifferent to the interests of his brothers and the city of his God. The people were suffering from poverty and reproach, their walls were broken down and their gates were burned. III. HE WAS PERSONALLY CONCERNED WITH THE NEED. (Verse 4a) Nehemiah’s heart was touched and moved as he considered the condition of his beloved city. As Christ was moved to tears over the unbelief of Jerusalem, so Nehemiah was moved to tears over the broken down walls and dispirited people (Luke 19:41). Paul’s spirit was stirred within him when he saw the city of Athens given over to idolatry (Acts 17:16).

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Lesson 1 (cont’d) IV. HE WENT FIRST TO GOD WITH HIS PROBLEM. (Verses 4b-11) This book shows Nehemiah to be a man of prayer (Nehemiah 2:4; 4:4; 4:9; 4:19; 6:9-14; 13:14, 22, 29, 31). We are told that he prayed day and night, so burdened was he for the city (Nehemiah 1:6). In these words of Nehemiah, we see all the characteristics of prevailing prayer. A. There was earnestness (Verses 4b). His soul was stirred to its utmost depths. B. There was knowledge. It was because Nehemiah knew God that he could pray as he did in Verse 5 (see Daniel 11:22). C. There was persistence (Verse 6a). We are told to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17). D. There was confession (Verses 6b, 7). Nehemiah confessed his own sins and the sins of the people (I John 1:9; Proverbs 28:13). E. There was faith (Verses 8, 9). Faith lays hold upon the Word of God (James 1:5, 6). F. There was consecration (Verse 11). In our prayers, we ask amiss if we are not prepared to yield ourselves unto God, and to live for the glory of His name (Romans 6:11-13). CONCLUSION: Your problem, whatever it may be, will not be completely solved until you take it to God in prayer. 1. What is our business as God’s people? 2. Approximately how many years was Israel in captivity? 3. What office did Nehemiah occupy? 4. What priest helped the exiles to return to their homeland? 5. Why did the character of the “cupbearer” have to be trustworthy? 6. Did success keep Nehemiah from being interested in his homeland? 7. Was Nehemiah a man of prayer? 8. Nehemiah was burdened and broken hearted so he prayed; how often? 9. List the six characteristics of Nehemiah’s prevailing prayer.

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Lesson # 1 Answer Key A BUILDER FOR GOD Nehemiah 1 1. To be builders 2. 70 years 3. “Cupbearer” 4. Ezra 5. He was in position, if he wanted to, to poison the king 6. No 7. Yes 8. Day and night 9. a. b. c. d. e. f. Earnestness Knowledge Persistence Confession Faith Consecration

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Lesson 2 A BUILDER FOR GOD Studies in the Book of Nehemiah Nehemiah 2 INTRODUCTION: A period of three months comes in between the month Chisleu -- when Nehemiah heard of the “great affliction” of his countrymen in Jerusalem -- and the month Nisan, when his prayers began to be answered. Faith and patience go together (Hebrews 6:12). One of our favorite prayer is, “Lord, give me patience -- and I want it NOW!”. All this time Nehemiah had been earnestly pleading with God in secret. Yet in his service as cupbearer to the king, he had been able to conceal the sorrow in his heart by a cheerful countenance. He knew that it was a serious crime to appear before the king with a sad face (Esther 4:1, 2). After a while, though, he could no longer hide his true feeling. Today we see what happens when Nehemiah reveals to the king his great concern for his countrymen in Jerusalem and the broken down walls of his city. I. GOD ANSWERS NEHEMIAH’S PRAYER. (Verses 1-8) The king’s questions (Verse 2). Nehemiah’s agony of soul had become too great to be covered any longer with a smile. The king’s questions smote him with terror. But Nehemiah had become so interested in the welfare of his brethren as to forget himself in the presence of the king. Such self-forgetfulness cannot help but become a channel of blessing to others. B. Nehemiah’s request (Verses 3-8a). He asked definitely for two things: 1. That he may be SENT (Verse 5). Like Isaiah, he could say, “Here am I, send me”. 2. That he may be SUPPLIED (Verses 7, 8). These letters to the governors beyond the river and to the keeper of the king’s forest (royal preserves) were to Nehemiah, words of authority and promise. He had what every Christian ought to have -- a clearly defined commission, and assurance of safety (“covey”) and the promise of supply. Our Lord never sends anyone on a warfare at their own expense (I Corinthians 9:7; Philippians 4:19). C. An abundant answer (Verse 8b). The secret of success in the work of the Lord lies here. When a person’s life is in the grip of the “good hands of God”, prayers are answered and the abundant blessings follow. II. NEHEMIAH ENCOUNTERS OPPOSITION. (Verses 9, 10, 19) On his way to fulfill his dream, Nehemiah comes face to face with opposition. When you walk by faith, you will invariably collide with the “Sanballats”, the “Tobiahs” and the “Greshems”. Not everyone will share your dreams, so don’t be surprised if there are those who seek to oppose your plans. A.

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Lesson 2 (cont’d) III. A. NEHEMIAH PREPARES FOR THE WORK. (Verses 11-20) He surveys the difficulties (Verses 12-16). Other people had seen, but not been moved, by the rubble. They had eyes to see, but they saw not. By night, Nehemiah investigated the situation. He was awake when others were sleeping and concerned while others were at ease (Amos 6:1). B. He makes an appeal for helpers (Verse 17). One of the best ways of beginning a work for God is to become involved in the task yourself. To inspire others, you must first be inspired. To involve others, you must first be involved. Please note, he did not say, “Go and build”, but “Come, let US build”. He challenged the leaders to work with him, not for him. His motive was pure. It was not for himself or personal gain that he sought helpers, but for the glory of God and the good of the nation -- “that we be no more a reproach”. C. He gives an encouraging testimony (Verse 18). Nehemiah’s testimony inspired others to join in and help. D. He declares his confidence in God (Verse 20).

CONCLUSION: Nehemiah’s answer to his critics reminds us where all true prosperity and success in the Lord’s work originate. It is God “who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57, 58). 1. How long did it take for Nehemiah’s prayers to be answered? 2. Did it take faith for him to keep on praying for three months? 3. Do you think Nehemiah would have kept on praying even after six months? 4. Why did Nehemiah conceal his sorrow from the king? 5. What was Nehemiah’s request from the king? 6. What is the real secret of the Lord’s work? 7. What three people didn’t share in Nehemiah’s dream? 8. List the four ways Nehemiah prepared for the work of the Lord. a. b. c. d. 9. Do you really think it is important to have confidence in God? Why?

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Lesson #2 Answer key A BUILDER FOR GOD Nehemiah 2 1. Three months 2. Yes 3. Yes 4. It was a crime to be sad in the presence of the king. 5. a. That he be sent home b. That he be supplied by the king’s help

6. Prevailing prayers 7. a. Sanballat b. Tobiah c. Geshems a. b. c. d. He surveyed the difficulties He makes an appeal for help He gives an encouraging testimony He declares his confidence in God

8.

9.

a. Yes b. Without God, it cannot be done; to bring glory to His name.

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Lesson 3 A BUILDER FOR GOD Studies in the Book of Nehemiah Nehemiah 3 and 4 INTRODUCTION: Chapter three of Nehemiah is crowded with the names of those who took part in the work of repairing the wall and chapter four records the names of those who opposed the work. To accomplish great exploits, there must be willing workers. As chapter three attests, from all walks of life, people willingly gave themselves to see this job through to a successful conclusion. There were religious leaders (3:1), civil authorities (3:12a), women (3:12b), craftsmen (3:8) and even Jews from other cities (3:2, 5, 7). But whenever the people of God join hand and heart to accomplish a work for God, there will always be opposition as chapter four indicates. I. THE WORKERS’ UNITY. You will notice that almost every Verse in chapter three begins with the words, “And next unto him”, or “After him” (3:2, 16). Every worker joined his work with his neighbor’s. Because they were united in heart they willingly united in effort (II Corinthians 6:1). II. THE WORKERS' METHOD. One: There were 42 groups of workers. Not all had the same work or even the same amount of work to do, but each had to contribute what he could for the work to be successful. Two: Each person had a specified area of responsibility. Three: No one person can do everything, but everyone can do something. Seldom will you have 100% cooperation; some of the nobles from Tekoa refused to get involved (3:5). But people like Baruch who “earnestly” do their work are a tremendous source of encouragement to their fellow workers (3:20). III. THE WORKERS' OPPOSITION. A. Opposition came from without (4:1-3,7,8,11). Sanballat was a government official in Samaria, Tobiah was an Ammonite; and Geshem was an Arab. They were all from outside the nation of Israel. The tactics they used were ridicule and the threat of force. There will always be opposition when we seek to accomplish the work of God. People of weak faith and purpose will quit. But a person of resolution and confidence will overcome the opposition and finish the task. Nehemiah was such a man. B. Opposition also came from within (4:10,12). Opposition is bad enough when it comes from without, but it is worse when it comes from our friends (Zechariah 13:6).

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Lesson 3 (cont’d) IV. A. THE WORKERS' DEDICATION. They had a mind to work (4 6, 21-23). There is no substitute for hard work. Nothing great was ever accomplished without untiring effort (Ephesians 2:10). B. They had a heart to pray (Verses 4, 5, 9). Nehemiah faced the challenge by praying and setting a watch. “Watch and pray” is the constant admonition in the New Testament (Mark 14:38). God expects us to do the possible and then trust Him for the impossible. V. THE WORKERS' WEAPONS. In spirit of the scare tactics of the enemy, Nehemiah put the workers back on the job, a weapon in one hand and a tool in the other (4:13-18). They must be ready, if need be, to defend themselves as well as build the wall. But swords were not enough. They had another weapon more powerful than the mightiest army (4:19, 20). You will be victorious in all pursuits in proportion to your belief in God’s ability do for you what you cannot to do for yourself (Romans 8:31). 1. Can you see by chapters 3 and 4 that God is interested in the names of those who work and don’t work for Him, by recording their names? 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. If God’s people are not willing to work, will the job get done? Is it all that important to have a united heart and effort to do God’s work? And why? To build & finish a work for God, there must be a method. What was Nehemiah’s (list 3)? Opposition will come in two ways, what are they and which one is the worse? What two things are very needful to accomplish the work of God? Man’s weapons are useful but what is the mightiest weapon of all when doing a work for God and fighting the enemy? What four things must you have in order to accomplish the work that God has given you? What can you expect whenever the people of God join hand and heart to accomplish a work for God? If a church has unity, method, dedicated people and spiritual weapons, can they overcome the opposition and finish the work to the glory of God?

Lesson #3 Answer Key A BUILDER FOR GOD 48

Nehemiah 3 and 4 1. Yes - God does keep records 2. No 3. 4. a. Yes b. It won’t get done - nor, done for His glory a. Everyone had contribute what he could for the work b. Everyone had a specified area of responsibility c. Everyone could to do something a. Without and within b. Within a. A mind work b. A heart pray

5. 6. 7. God 8.

a. b. c. d.

Unity Method Dedication Weapons

9. Opposition 10. Yes

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Lesson 4 A BUILDER FOR GOD Studies in the Book of Nehemiah Nehemiah 5 INTRODUCTION: This is not a very encouraging chapter, for in it we see the Jews selfishly preying upon one another. Great distress had come into the city (Verses 1, 2). A severe famine occurred possibly because the ground had not been tilled and cultivated to meet the demands of the hundreds of people who surged into the city to help build the wall (Verse 3b). The wealthier portion of the people began to take advantage of their poorer brethren by charging high interest rates (Verses 5, 7). It was legal to take interest from non-Jews but not from fellow Jews (Deuteronomy 23:20). The crime was that Jewish leaders had been taking advantage of their kinsmen in economic troubles. Lands, vineyards, houses and even sons and daughters were mortgaged or exchanged for bread. There was also the heavy burden of high taxes exacted by Artaxeres, King of Persia (Verse 4). Things got so unbearable that a “great cry” was raised by the people. The behavior of Nehemiah during this crisis gives us an insight into his greatness and the stability of his character, features which ought to distinguish every child of God. These features are: I. UPRIGHTNESS. (Verse 6) It is only a truly righteous person that can be angry at unrighteousness. It is wrong to be “angry without a cause (Matthew 5:22). It is just as wrong not to be angry when there is a cause for it. These men were “brethren”, but they showed no brotherly love. II. COURAGE. (Verse 7) Courage is necessary for any Christian, but especially for those who are called to take the lead in His work (Joshua 1:6, 7). III. UNSELFISHNESS. (Verse 8) Nehemiah had sought, as far as his means would allow, to redeem to liberty those who had been sold as slaves to the heathen; but these selfish nobles and rulers had sought to get gain by selling their brethren. God expects us to give both of our time and means “after our ability” (Acts 11:29). IV. HOLY JEALOUSY. (Verse 9) When God's people do not walk in His fear, they bring reproach upon His name (Romans 2:24). It is a fact that many of Christ’s servants are more jealous about the honor of their own name than His. V. THOROUGHNESS. (Verses 10 - 13) Nehemiah approached no task in a half-hearted manner. Whatever he did, he did it “heartily as unto the Lord”. The thoroughness of his character comes out here in his demand for restoration. Such whole-hearted effort is crowned with success (Verse 13). Lesson 4 (cont’d) VI. THE FEAR OF GOD. (Verses 14 - 19) Nehemiah makes it clear that he was doing what he did "because of the fear of God" and

not for the sake of money (Verse 15). Today, people often attempt to excuse questionable acts by the claim that “everybody does it”. Nehemiah did not live by such a principle. The fact that other governors took certain things as their due, did not at all influence him. The main motive that controlled his life was not custom, but “the fear of God” (see Psalms 111:10; II Corinthians 5:11). CONCLUSION: Nothing exposes us more as Christians to the reproaches of our enemies than the worldliness and selfishness of those who profess to be followers of Christ. We should be extremely careful, lest by these means we should be condemned by the very people we are seeking to win. 1. Why is chapter four not a very encouraging chapter? 2. Was it legal for the Jews to charge interest to other Jews? 3. Is it wrong not to be angry when there is a cause to be angry? 4. When we do something for the Lord, how should we do it? 5. Did Nehemiah do what he did for money, self-gain? 6. Why did he do what he did? 7. What six features shows us Nehemiah’s greatness and stability of character in time of crisis? 8. Should these features be in every Christian? Are they in you?

Lesson #4 Answer Key A Builder For God Nehemiah 5 1. The Jews were selfishly preying on one another for gain 2. No 3. Yes 4. “Heartily as unto the Lord” - Wholehearted 5. No 6. “Because of the fear of God” 7. a. b. c. d. e. f. Uprightness Courage Unselfishness Holy Jealousy Thoroughness The fear of God

8. Yes

Lesson 5 A BUILDER FOR GOD Studies in the Book of Nehemiah Nehemiah 6 INTRODUCTION: Once more the enemies of God’s people attempted to hinder the work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Four times they sent for Nehemiah to meet with them to work out their differences and, on each occasion, he rejected their invitation. Today we see how Nehemiah overcomes these temptations and how we too may overcome the temptations we face. I. THE COMPROMISE TEMPTATION This temptation came when the enemy heard that the wall was built, and that “there was no breach left” (Verse 1). What is significant about this temptation, is that it came at a time when Nehemiah and his fellow-helpers were just about ready to celebrate a great accomplishment. How true to life this is. When you commit yourself to a life of faith and declare before God and man that you are going to walk with Him regardless, suddenly the enemy turns upon you with a vengeance. No wonder God warns us to be cautious at such times (II Corinthians 10:12). Notice how Nehemiah met this temptation: A. He showed discernment (Verse 2). He was wise enough to recognize the true intentions of the enemy. As Christians, we too must discern between good and evil in a day when “everyone is doing it” (I Corinthians 2:15). B. He revealed his devotion (Verse 3). The work of God takes precedence over every work in which man engages (John 4:34; 17:4). C. He displayed determination (Verse 4). The enemy does not give up easily, nor should we (Ephesians 4:14). II. THE FALSE RUMOR TEMPTATION. They charged him with pride and self-seeking (Verses 5-7). A. He met this temptation with a wise rebuke (Verse 8). He not only denies the charge, but points out also the source of all the trouble “thine own heart” (Jeremiah 17:9). B. He also met it with an urgent prayer (Verse 9). Our appeals to men should be instantly followed with an appeal to God.

Lesson 5 (cont’d) III. THE FALSE PROPHET TEMPTATION. Before the wall was finished, one final attempt was made by the enemies to stop the work (Verses 10-14). One of the Jews, Shemaiah, claiming to be a prophet, advised Nehemiah that he had received a prophecy which indicated an attempt would be made that night on Nehemiah’s life. Jesus warned of false prophets (Matthew 7:15). Paul also warned of false brethren (II Corinthians 11:26). Shemaiah lied to Nehemiah and tried to frighten him into going out to the enemy for safety. But Nehemiah saw through the scheme and openly refuted the lies of this false prophet. He met this attack with courage (Verse 11) and another prayer for God’s help (Verse 14). The wall was completed in 52 days, slightly less than two months (Verse 15). How was such an amazing feat accomplished? The people had “a mind to work”, but most important of all, it had been done with the help of God (Verse 16). CONCLUSION: An interesting postscript to the events of this chapter is reported in Verses 17 19. Tobias, the arch enemy, was related by marriage and by blood to some of the Jews inside the city. Letters were constantly being circulated about the “good deeds” of Todiah and the selfish ambition of Nehemiah. The intent was to cause confusion among the people and undermine Nehemiah’s authority. We see here the danger of alliances with the people of the world and the necessity of living separated lives (II Corinthians 6:17, 18). 1. How many times did the enemy of Nehemiah send for him? 2. What will happen if you declare and commit your life by faith to God? 3. How did Nehemiah meet this temptation compromise? (List three) 4. How did Nehemiah meet the false rumor temptation? (List two) 5. How did Nehemiah meet the false prophet temptation? (List two) 6. How many days did it take to complete the rebuilding of the wall? 7. What was the intent of the letters to and from Tobiah? 8. Do you see the danger in the alliance of people of the world with the people of God, the Church? How?

Lesson #5 Answer Key A Builder For God Nehemiah 6 1. Four 2. The enemy will come at you with vengeance to stop you 3. a. With discernment b. With devotion to God’s work c. With determination a. With wise rebuke b. With urgent prayer a. With courage b. Prayer

4. 5. 6. 52 7. 8.

a. To cause confusion among the people b. To undermine Nehemiah’s authority a. Yes b. They will cause confusion, trouble, and undermine the Pastor’s authority; thus harm the church.

Lesson 6 A BUILDER FOR GOD Studies in the Book of Nehemiah Nehemiah 7 and 8 INTRODUCTION: Now that the wall was finished, it was necessary for Nehemiah to choose someone who could lead the city properly. Chapter seven describes the men whom Nehemiah chose to put in charge of the city (7:1, 2). Hanani is described as a “a faithful man”, and one who “feared God above many”. He was a man whom Nehemiah felt he could trust anywhere. That is the kind of person needed in Christian work. The eighth chapter brings us into a significant point in our study of this book. Now that the people are back in their beloved city, the wall is finished and a leader has been chosen, it is necessary that the authority of the Word of God be established. Only the Word of God and obedience to it could keep the people in their new experience. The Word of God is always associated with a true renewal of spiritual life. Let us notice three important features as we study these verses: I. THE PREACHER. Ezra was know as “a ready scribe in the law of Moses” (Verses 1, 4a: Ezra 7:6). Being also a priest, he was well qualified in expounding the Scriptures (Verse 2). Throughout the ages, God has chosen preachers to aid His people in the understanding of Scriptures, as well as to reach the lost (Romans 10:14, 15; I Corinthians 1:21). II. THE HEARERS. A. They were attentive (Verses 3, 13b). When the Word of God is preached, we do ourselves a great injustice not to hear (Rev. 2:7). B. They were reverent (Verse 5). For the people to “stand up” was to demonstrate their willingness not only to hear, but to obey (James 1:22). C. They were responsive (Verse 6a). They audibly expressed their approval of the preacher’s message. God’s Word cannot be faithfully preached without generating some kind of response. When people are dull of hearing, they will not be affected (Hebrews 5:11, 12). III. THE REVIVAL. There has never been a genuine revival without the Word of God having a large part in it. This was true in the time of Josiah and Hezekiah. It was the recovery of the Scriptures that produced the Reformation of the 16th century.

Lesson 6 (cont’d) Five things characterized the revival of Nehemiah's day: A. Worship of God (Verse 6b). The “amen” of the people was followed by bowed heads, showing their devotion and adoration of the Lord, as well as their humble submission to His authority (Psalm 95:6, 7a). B. Understanding of the Scriptures (Verses 7, 8). For the people to understand the Scriptures, we who teach must practice three principles of Ezra: 1. Read the Bible distinctly 2. Give it proper meaning 3. Cause the learners to understand C. Sorrow for sin (Verse 9). The faithful reading and expounding of God’s Word brought conviction to the heart and tears to the eyes. When the Word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit, is heard & believed, it proves itself to be “quick and powerful and sharper than any twoedged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). D. Rejoicing in the Lord (Verses 10 - 12). With sins judged and forsaken, the people rejoiced in fellowship with one another and with God. The reason for their joyful spirit is said to be “because they had understood the words that were declared unto them” (Verse 12). True joy is based on knowledge of and submission to God’s Word. E. Obedience to the Word of God (Verses 13 - 18). It was decided that they would keep the Feast of Tabernacles exactly as the law prescribed. Such a thing had not been done for 1,000 years, since the time of Joshua (Verse 17). Though it required considerable inconvenience, the people accepted the challenge of complete obedience to God. Are you willing to obey God’s commands regardless of the cost? 1. Who was the faithful man that Nehemiah chose to lead the city? 2. What is the only thing that could keep them in their new life? 3. Who was the preacher that’s known as “a ready scribe in the law”? 4. What three features of the hearers are still important, even today? 5. You can have a genuine revival without the Word of God. (True or False) 6. What are five things that will characterize a true revival? a. b. c. d. e. 7. What must a preacher do before the people will understand his message or the Scriptures he will be expounding on? Lesson #6 Answer Key A Builder For God Nehemiah 7 and 8

1. Hanani 2. The Word of God 3. Ezra 4. They were: a. Attentive b. Reverent c. Responsive 5. False 6. a. b. c. d. e. Worship of God Understanding the Scriptures Sorrow of sin Rejoicing in the Lord Obedience to the Word of God

7.

a. Read the Bible distinctly b. Give it proper meaning c. Cause the learners to understand

Lesson 7 A BUILDER FOR GOD Studies in the Book of Nehemiah Nehemiah 9 INTRODUCTION: The Word of God is incalculably beneficial in our lives when we read it and heed its timeless instruction. We see this illustrated in the lives of the people during the time of Nehemiah. Once they began opening their ears and hearts to the Word of God, marvelous things began to happen (Verse 3). In this chapter we will see how the hearing of the Word will bring us to a new understanding of God and what we must do to please Him. I. HEARING THE WORD PRODUCES HUMILITY. (Verse 1 ) Fasting, wearing sackcloth and sprinkling dust on the head were common measures in those days to indicate humility. As we begin to acquaint ourselves with the Word, we tend to see our human limitations in a new light (I Corinthians 4:7). This knowledge does not stifle initiative; rather, it directs us to our true source of strength, Jesus Christ (John 15:5). II. HEARING THE WORD CAUSES US TO SEPARATE OURSELVES FROM THE WORLD (Verse 2a) We have already seen how intermarriage with the enemy on the part of some Jews in Jerusalem caused Nehemiah untold grief (6:17 - 19). Jesus said we are in the world, yet not part of it (John 17:16). The Word helps us to distinguish between the friends of God and the enemies of God, between Christ and Anti-Christ. III. HEARING THE WORD PROMPTS US TO CONFESS OUR SINS. (Verse 26) “Confession is good for the soul”, we often say. Even after our new birth experience, it is possible for us to sin. The “old nature” that we inherited from the first Adam is still with us. What shall we do? The wise man Solomon has the answer (Proverbs 28:13). IV. HEARING THE WORD GIVES US A NEW UNDERSTANDING OF GOD. Knowing God is the ultimate knowledge. Paul’s highest ambition was to know Christ better (Philippians 3:10). Hearing the Word brought new knowledge of God to Nehemiah’s brethren. That knowledge is expressed in a prayer voiced by the Levites. This prayer, which is the longest recorded prayer in the Bible, is a summary of Jewish history from creation to the time of Nehemiah. Notice some of the truths about God expressed here: A. B. He is the Creator (Verse 6). Nothing is in existence by accident or a chance of fate. As the Creator of all things, the Lord God is deserving of our worship and praise. He is righteous (Verses 8b, 33). Because He is righteous, He “performs His words” that is, His promises never fail, as human promises often do (II Corinthians 1:20).

Lesson 7 (cont’d) C. He answers prayer (Verses 9, 26 - 28). He sees the affliction of His people in

D. E. F.

the Egypt of this world, and hears their cry when they come to the Red Sea of trial. He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). He is a God of wonders (Verses 10 - 15). God often does the unexpected and, sometimes, even the miraculous to deliver His people. The greatest miracle of all is the new life He imparts to us when we are saved (John 5:24). He is gracious and merciful (Verses 16 - 21, 29 - 31). Here we have a sad picture of how people often rebel against the will of God. We see ourselves in this description. But God is “rich in mercy” and persistently woos us back to Himself. He is all-Powerful (Verse 32). The terms “great”, “mighty” and “terrible” describe a God whose power is limitless. When we link up with Him, we can say with Paul, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

CONCLUSION: When you expose yourself to the Word, expect startling results in your life and look for new insights of God. 1. Is the Word of God beneficial in our lives if we read & obey it? 2. What is our true source of strength and what directs us to Him? 3. When a person gets saved, will he sin again and if so, why? 4. What is the ultimate knowledge? 5. Where is the longest recorded prayer in the Bible? 6. List some truths about God that are recorded in this prayer.

Lesson #7 Answer Key A Builder For God Nehemiah 9 1. Yes 2. 3. a. Jesus Christ b. Knowledge of God’s Word a. Yes b. The “old nature” is still with him and it never changes

4. Knowing God 5. Nehemiah chapter 9 6. He is: a. b. c. d. e. f. Creator Righteous Answer prayers A God of wonders Gracious and merciful All-powerful

Lesson 8 A BUILDER FOR GOD Studies in the Book of Nehemiah Nehemiah 10-13 INTRODUCTION: Chapter 10 gives the names of the brave and godly people who entered into covenant with God. Chapters 11 and 12 record the events surrounding the dedication of the walls. Nehemiah had left Jerusalem and gone back to the royal court in Babylon (Verse 6). How long he had been away is difficult to say, but on returning, he found things in a very grievous condition. Backsliding had set in, and a tendency to compromise with evil. Nehemiah raised his voice against this deplorable state, and sought to bring the people back to a life of conformity to the Word and Will of God. What their hindrances were to a life of consecration and power are very much the hindrances with which we contend today. OUR RELATIONSHIP TO THE UNSAVED. (Verse 1 - 3) The law forbade the mixing of the people of God with the nations that knew not God so as to lose their identity. Worldly people are in a “mixed multitude”, and one of the dangers of the followers of Jesus Christ is to get so close to them that we lose our identity and thus our testimony. We cannot avoid associating with the unsaved. We have neighbors, classmates, fellow workers and sometimes even family members who are non-Christian. We must love them in spite of their sin and seek to do what we can to lead them to Christ. At the same time, we must be on our guard not to allow their worldly lifestyle to tempt us to imitate them (Psalms 1:1 - 3). II. OUR RELATIONSHIP TO FALSE TEACHERS (VERSES 4 - 9) It was a startling discovery Nehemiah made in coming back to Jerusalem to find that his old enemy, Tobiah, who had mocked them while building the wall, was now quartered in one of the large chambers which once was used as a storeroom for the house of God. So Nehemiah “cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah”, and filled the room once again with the things of God. We must not allow false teachers-enemies to the true Word of God - to have a place in our hearts, homes or church (Matthew 7:15 - 20; II John 9 - 11). III. OUR RELATIONSHIP TO THE HOUSE OF GOD. (Verses 10-14) "Why is the house of God forsaken?" Nehemiah asks. It is a reproach to God that His house should be forsaken. When David was forced to leave Jerusalem and derived of worship at the Lord’s House, he envied even the birds who built their nests near the altar (Psalms 84:2, 3). We should consider it a high privilege to be able to worship with the Lord’s people at church. We are not merely invited to assemble together, we are explicitly commanded to do so (Hebrews 10:25). If we are lax in one area, it usually shows up in another. When the people of Nehemiah’s day quit the house of God, they also quit giving their tithes and offerings. I.

Lesson 8 (cont’d) OUR RELATIONSHIP TO THE DAY OF REST. (Verses 15 - 22) Because they had forsaken the house of God, they had became involved in all kinds of business pursuits on the Sabbath Day. Again, one sin leads to another. That person who regards the Lord’s Day as a day especially consecrated for holy purposes, will be blessed in so doing. V. OUR MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP. (Verses 23 - 31) Being unequally yoked with unbelievers has marred the lives of many of God’s children. Look at Solomon (Verse 26). How distressing it was to Nehemiah to learn that a grandson of the high priest had married a daughter of the notorious Sanballat (Verse 28). Such a careless attitude towards marriage would ultimately lead to the downfall of the nation. Those who would marry “in the Lord” must do their courting “in the Lord” (II Corinthians 6:14 - 18). 1. In chapter 13, there is a call to what? 2. Are we faced with the same temptations from having a consecrated life and power as the Jews did? 3. We can lose what if we get too close to the unsaved? And why? 4. Why is it wrong to give place in our hearts, homes and churches to false teachers? 5. Is the house of God forsaken today and does it hurt the Will of God? Can you make a list of how it hurts the Word of God? 6. What happened because the Jews had forsaken the house of God? 7. Is it wrong for a saved person to marry and unsaved person? Why? 8. What have you learned from the studies in the book of Nehemiah? IV.

Lesson #8 Answer Key A Builder For God Nehemiah 10-13 1. Purity of life 2. Yes 3. a. Our identity and testimony b. By allowing their worldly lifestyle to tempt us to imitate them

4. They will lead us from God’s Word and Will 5. Yes 6. They got involved in all kinds of business pursuits on the Sabbath 7. a. Yes b. The Word of God says not to - common sense would say not to - if you are serious in serving God, you wouldn’t want to - if you want no division in your home, you won’t marry an unsaved person because they will lead you from God.

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