Nehemiah lived around 445BC. He lived in Babylon, in modern day Iraq. Nehemiah was a Jew. His nation had been conquered some 400 years earlier. He was a foreigner in a strange land with strange God’s and strange customs, but Nehemiah was a Godly man who lived righteously and because of the God Blessed Him. Nehemiah served the king in the palace. Nehemiah was a cupbearer, He tasted the food for the king to keep the king safe. It was an important position. But one day Nehemiah saw some people that had traveled from Jerusalem. Nehemiah asked these people what the situation was like back in Jerusalem. These people told Nehemiah that the city was in disrepair and that he city was a reproach. Jerusalem was despised in the sight of those people that lived around Jerusalem.
1. HIS HEART BROKE vs 1-4
Matt 9:36 “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” Nehemiah’s heart broke when he heard that the his people were such a despised people. That the city of God was in such disrepair. He had heard how that Jerusalem used such a beacon of hope and light of the true God JEHOVAH. When was the last time that you had a broken heart for someone who was backslidden? When was the last time that you had a broken heart for those who aren’t saved? When was the last time that you had a broken heart for those all over the world who have never heard that Jesus loves them? You will never make a difference unless you have a broken heart for the people who are full of hurt next to us and across the globe. Do you have a broken heart? Is your heart hard? Or is it soft? When God wants to talk to you does heart have to bring a sledgehammer to your heart? Or does He just have to speak to you. The most powerful Christians are the ones that are in tune when God speaks.
2. HE TOOK RESPONSIBILITY vs6
In Genesis 3:11-13 Adam and Eve and the Serpent were standing before God and Adam blames Eve and the Serpent. Nehemiah of course was not even born when the nation of Israel was conquered, but he takes responsibility for his family, for himself, and for his nation. He ask God to forgive “US” not them. Nehemiah does not pass the blame. Nehemiah is not looking down on the other Israelites living in Jerusalem. Nehemiah asks for forgiveness for “US” So many people want to pass the blame, but often times people do not want to take responsibility. The most important thing that you can realize is that – No one is responsible for you, but you. — It doesn’t matter where you live, who you parents are, what you look like, in other words circumstance do not determine who you are. You are responsible for you. Does mean that it is easy. And some people do have some advantages, but they also have problems that you don’t see. There are plenty of people who all the advantages in the world and fell on their face because they did not take responsibility for themselves. You are responsible for you.
3. HE TOUCHED HEAVEN vs 5-11
Not only was Nehemiah’s HEART BROKEN and not only did HE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY, but also HE TOUCHED HEAVEN. Nehemiah not only felt something, but he did something. Now Nehemiah did a lot more than just pray, but that should the first step in any process in life. Nehemiah saw a huge problem, and God was talking to Nehemiah, and what did Nehemiah do? He went to God in prayer, and prayed a very powerful prayer and poured out his heart to God. And God was going to answer a way that will blow Nehemiah away. But only because Nehemiah touched Heaven with his prayer. The first step in any thing we do in life is to throw a communication line with Heaven. Heaven is listening all you have to do is call. Whether its large like Nehemiah or small, don’t be hesitant to get God involved. We know Nehemiah because he went to God. Nehemiah started right. If it wasn’t for these three things in chapter one, I don’t think we would have ever had the rest of the book of Nehemiah.
Paul Gelhausen | Youth Pastor
Central Baptist Church | Avenel, New Jersey