Nehemiah 1 - Determining Root Problems
1. Introduction: Where have you gone on a vacation? Was there anything on your vacation that touched your heart or disturbed you?
2. Why was the Jewish Nehemiah in Susa, Persia instead of living in Jerusalem? What kind of temptations and challenges may have faced Nehemiah in the
King's court? What kind of temptations might you face when you travel or are away from a "secure"; environment?
- His family had been taken captive and relocated to Babylon and Susa and his family had not gone back to Jerusalem in the first two waves of returnees.
- He was the wine taster so there could have been a lot of drunkenness and good food. There was a need for self control. There could have been questionable entertainment to please the sensuality of the king.
- We might lack of self control. We might turn on TV to flip through channels that you might not watch at home.
- Rent a video. Try some new drinks. Hotel staff said that when Promise keepers came to a rally a lot of men requested porn movies.
- See some of the "town".
3. Do you ask questions about the welfare of brothers and sisters in Christ in other places when someone comes from there? How can we learn about Christians in
spiritual or financial trouble or those who are being persecuted?
- We can learn about the state of other believers in other countries. We get a good picture of how God is at work in our extended family. Do we take advantage of
missionaries coming to the area to hear about what God is doing?
4. What are the needs of your kinfolk and community in general? Is their condition such that you would be weeping, fasting and praying for those needs? Is God laying on your heart to do something about it?
- Some of their needs might be Salvation, relationship healing, finances, jobs,
5. What triggered Nehemiah's concern?
- The walls were still not built. This was a disgrace to their people.
- People were oppressed. Nehemiah had a concern for God's reputation, that God was not powerful enough to deliver them. Nehemiah had a concern for their spiritual state.
6.Why were the people in Jerusalem in trouble? (v 3 & v 7)
- They had disregarded God's law and gone after material possessions.
- They were subject to ridicule and danger.
- They were open to the attack of the enemy.
- They had to pay high taxes to the king.
- They had suffered drought and famine.
- They were being oppressed by the people around them - even their previous governors were oppressive. The rich were exploiting the poor making them slaves and taking their fields and vineyards.
7. What is the significance in that day that the wall was broken down and the gates burned with fire? We do not have walled cities today. What is the equivalent?
- No protection. Without protection, the traveling caravans would not stop to trade. Jerusalem had been on the commercial highway from Babylon to Egypt. With it in ruins, commerce was carried on in Saramaria.
- No police force. Law and order. No Organized crime. Exploitation and low wages.
8. Compare the difference between Hanani's and Nehemiah's response. They were both exposed to the same information in fact Hanani got it first hand but their responses are very different. What might be the reason for the difference? Which are you more like, Hanani or Nehemiah?
- To Hanani it was more like a vacation. Perhaps to go to the temple. Perhaps even sponsored by Nehemiah to check things out. Hanani does not seemed to get involved in the solution.
- Nehemiah was willing to listen to determine the facts.
- Nehemiah listened carefully and with his heart.
- He had a great concern for the spiritual well being of the people.
9. What do we learn about God in verses 5 and 6?
- God is great and awesome.
- He is attentive and hears our prayers.
- He keeps his covenant and loving kindness to those who love and keep His commandment.
- He is a forgiving God.
10. What did Nehemiah recognize to be the real reason why the walls were torn down as reflected in his prayer? (V 7, 8) - These verses show us the heart of Nehemiah and are the key that unlocks the whole book. Nehemiah was a gap man. ( Ezek 22:29 - 31 )
- Their disobedience of the law and their sinfulness.
- Nehemiah recognizes the waywardness of the people of Israel and their captivity and current condition is the result of disobedience and the curses found in Deut 28
11. How do we identify ourselves with our brothers and sisters of the same ethnic or social background, the same church, club or small group?
Do I really realize sinfulness when it occurs? Do we pray and fast for months because of the spiritual poverty of the people?
12. Have you ever prayed an identification prayer? Write out an identification prayer that you could pray on behalf of a group of people that you identify with.
- I pray Lord that you would open our eyes to the evil that we are committing in your sight and that your spirit would reveal problems that we are allowing in our spiritual life. I pray that you will take back any ground that we have given to the enemy because of our immoral, sinful acts and that you would put a hedge of protection around us and keep us from the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the evil one.
13. Who should we identify with?
- The church, Family, Neighborhood, Ethnic group, Community, Province, Country, Widows, Orphans
14. Who do you think the "servants who delight in your name" refer to?(V. 11)
What would these servants act or look like? Are you one of those servants?
- Others who were praying for the peace of Jerusalem. Perhaps Nehemiah was aware of others that had the same concern and were praying for the restoration of Jerusalem. Others who worshiped and loved the Word. Men like Ezra, Hanani, Hananiah (7:2)
15. Who does "this man" refer to in verse 11.
16. Take a couple minutes to analyze Nehemiah’s prayer. What are the parts that make up this prayer. Is there anything that you can learn from this prayer?
- We see adoration, confession, petition. agreeing with God and claiming His promises.
17. It is very possible that this recorded prayer was the culmination of seeking God for four months. He asks at the end of the prayer, “Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man” ( v 11). Do we believe that God will answer our prayers right away? We will see in Chapter 2 how God answered that prayer.
- Some of them. Some of our prayers are not petition prayers so they do not require an immediate response by God. We have confidence that He hears us.
For those wanting a real challenge:
18. Consider starting a prayer diary to keep track of things God prompts you to pray for and the answers to those prayers.
19. Are you aware of any walls that need mending so that the enemy cannot attack those that are under your sphere of influence or are in need of protection in your home or at work? How could you make a difference?
- Moral walls, walls of purity are breaking down. Pray a hedge of protection around those that are believers.
20. God often prompts us in the area of our giftedness. Nehemiah was given the gifts of administration. He used them to motivate and rule the people in a Godly way. What gifts has God given you to use to help others?
- I believe that God has given me the gift of service, prophesy, pastor.
21. What needs are there for the men of this church and community? How can you help to meet those needs?
22. Who could you contact to find out about a country or place of concern? Where could you find out about mission work in a place that God has laid on your heart?
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