ESVNow when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews.
What is the attitude of the surrounding people?
ESVAnd he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?”
Notice all the rhetorical questions. What is he trying to say?Have you ever tried to achieve a distant dream and been mocked?Is there a chance that we will be mocked by those around us if we try to rebuild the walls in our spiritual life?
ESVTobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!”
What does it feel like to have your best efforts mocked?
ESVHear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders.
What is Nehemiah's response to the verbal attacks?Does not talk with them. Only Prays to God.
ESVSo we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.
How do the people react to the taunting? How much progress had been made?What does it mean to "have a mind to work"?When are you like this? How does it relate to us rebuilding the spiritual walls in our lives?
ESVBut when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.
What did the mean neighbors do after the verbal attacks did not work?Can you think of any other Bible Stories like this?Should we expect peace and safety as we're trying to rebuild our spiritual walls?Peter and John in prison...
ESVAnd we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.
What was Nehemiah's response again?Did he only pray or did he also do something on his part?What did that tell us about rebuilding our spiritual walls?
ESVIn Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.”
Who is it that is losing faith now?What is it like to loose faith in self? What is is it like to loose faith in God's working in us?What should we do to support family members that are beginning to lose focus on rebuilding the wall?Is it okay to have doubts at times?
ESVAnd our enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work.” At that time the Jews who lived near them came from all directions and said to us ten times, “You must return to us.”
What did the enemies say to increase the Jews’ fears?How did the people respond to the eminent threat of attack?Who came to convince them to stop?Whose side were these people on?How should we respond whenever people that we think should be on our side are not really supporting us?
ESVSo in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
How does Nehemiah prepare for the eminent threat of attack?What did he say to urge the people to have courage? How do these principles apply to us today? Spiritually Rebuilding Wall?When should we be ready to fight for the sake of Revival in our lives?
ESVWhen our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” So we labored at the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out. I also said to the people at that time, “Let every man and his servant pass the night within Jerusalem, that they may be a guard for us by night and may labor by day.” So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand.
How do they continue working on the wall? What lesson can we find in this for our personal work?What is our sword that we need to be armed with in all that we do?If the Lord has lead you to do something, do it with all your might.
ESVNow there arose a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers. For there were those who said, “With our sons and our daughters, we are many. So let us get grain, that we may eat and keep alive.” There were also those who said, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses to get grain because of the famine.” And there were those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our fields and our vineyards. Now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. Yet we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards.”
they were taking interest and making their brothers slaves. Compare with:Exodus 22:25Leviticus 25:39
ESVI was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, “You are exacting interest, each from his brother.” And I held a great assembly against them and said to them, “We, as far as we are able, have bought back our Jewish brothers who have been sold to the nations, but you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us!” They were silent and could not find a word to say. So I said, “The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest.
What happens next?What charges were brought against the nobles?Now that we live in a world were interest is an expectation, how can we still apply this to our lives?Compare with .But how can you keep from being taken advantage of by the poor?
ESVReturn to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.” Then they said, “We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say.” And I called the priests and made them swear to do as they had promised.
What else was going on with their property?Compare :23What about the year of Jubilee?What did Nehemiah challenge them to do?It is amazing that they agree to such a thing. This probably would not happen today. Why did the people willingly give back the property?
ESVI also shook out the fold of my garment and said, “So may God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who does not keep this promise. So may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said “Amen” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.
What exactly is meant by this shaking out of the fold of the garment? What would compare with such a thing today? What about in the NT Jesus tells the disciples to shake the dust off their feet and go to the next town?
ESVNow when Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm.
What plan did Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem come up with to distract Nehemiah now?
ESVAnd I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner.
What was Nehemiah's response? In what way does this relate to our lives? How we have the same fortitude as Nehemiah not to let evil get under our skin?
ESVIn the same way Sanballat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand. In it was written, “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall. And according to these reports you wish to become their king. And you have also set up prophets to proclaim concerning you in Jerusalem, ‘There is a king in Judah.’ And now the king will hear of these reports. So now come and let us take counsel together.”
What did they do next to harass Nehemiah?
ESVThen I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.” For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.
What does Nehemiah say back? What else does he do?Is this beginning to feel like a regular habit of Nehemiah? Where else did he do the same thing?
ESVNow when I went into the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home, he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple. Let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you by night.” But I said, “Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in.” And I understood and saw that God had not sent him, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me a bad name in order to taunt me.
What trap is set for Nehemiah next?How do you think he felt that his own people were working to destroy him now?Have you ever had the people closest to you seem to turn against you? How did you hold on to God at the moment?
ESVRemember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid.
What does Nehemiah pray for next? How do you feel about a prayer like this? Compare:Deuteronomy 32:35Romans 12:19–21How have you dealt with the desire for revenge?
ESVAnd I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”
How were the people going to be warned about an attack?Can you think of other pertinent Bible verses they refer to the use of a trumpet?-2 "Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God.See also
ESVSo we labored at the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out.
What would happen in your life if I had that kind of commitment to seeking Revival in your own life?
ESVI also said to the people at that time, “Let every man and his servant pass the night within Jerusalem, that they may be a guard for us by night and may labor by day.” So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand.
How did they pass the nights?-- We all slept inside the city walls. And they slept with their clothes on.