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Nehemiah Research Paper final

Final Draft
Submitted to Walt Davis, DMin. Ph.D.
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of
RTCH 500-B11 LUO
Research, Writing, and Ministry Preparation
Angela Lee-Easter
October 10, 2016
In chapter one of Nehemiah, the situation is that of prayer and repentance. The book’s
first chapter is a demonstration of a willing and obedient spirit. Nehemiah knows and
understands where his help comes from. He repeats the instructions God gave to Moses, it is at
this point Nehemiah makes a declaration, as he asks for the favor of God when approaching the
king with his request. Nehemiah clearly understood his position as the servant of the king, but
he also understood the state of his people and the city of Jerusalem. Only with the favor and
direction of God would he possess the ability to restore both.
This Old Testament story tells of the strength and endurance of a true man of God.
Nehemiah carried the love of his people and Jerusalem in his heart. Therefore, he inquired
regarding the Jewish remnant that had endured exile, as well as the condition of Jerusalem. It
was reported that the area was in great distress and dishonor as for the walls they were broken
down and the gates were burn with fire. The news devastated Nehemiah to tears, fasting, and
prayer. He wanted the state of his people and the city Jerusalem to be restored. Although, it may
cost him his life he had to do something about it. Trusting and believing in God was the first
steps in accomplishing this tremendous mission.
What had become of this great city where in the spirit of the Lord inhabited? The city he
once knew was no more. A fire was set in the heart of Nehemiah. A passion burned in him to
rebuild the city. He desired to return Jerusalem to her former self. But how would he manage to
accomplish this feat. He consulted with God about the situation. He began to confess the faults
and sins of his brothers as well as his own. He pleaded his case before the Lord longing to hear
from him concerning what steps to take regarding restoration. As he contemplated how to do
this almost impossible job the king was made aware of his anguish, his pain, and his sadness.
The king asked Nehemiah the cause of his countenance. The exchange of words that took place
between the king and Nehemiah gave him the answers he was looking for. Many times, in life
people tend to look pass the solution trying to figure out how to fix the situation. However, as
Nehemiah waited on the Lord he received everything needed to complete the task. God has put
His people in a position that has equipped them for service. This paper affirms the faithfulness
of the Lord, whether it be rebuilding, fighting, or standing everything needed He has made
Point One
One major point of this paper is to stress the importance of trusting in God for the
outcome. Nehemiah, had no idea how the situation would turn out, all he knew was what God
had promised to do for His people. Therefore, it was the faith of Nehemiah that motivated him
to take a stand for the Jewish people as well as the city of Jerusalem. The stand that was taken is
not to be accounted for as supernatural, bravery, or self-motivated. It was all due to a heart of
devotion and dedication to God. He stood on the promise of God and waited for a time that the
promise could be fulfilled. “The fortification of Jerusalem was the keystone of the commission
granted by Artaxerxes I to Nehemiah, his trusted wine steward and the newly appointed governor
of the province of Yehud (Cogan 2016)1.” Although, he was a servant to an earthly king there
was a clear understanding within Nehemiah that His true heavenly King would receive his true
and unwavering services. Nehemiah was ready to do what was necessary to restore what had
1. Mordechai Cogan, “Raising the Walls of Jerusalem,” Israel Exploration Journal,
Assessed September 09, 2016. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27927127.
been damaged. He knew this would only be possible if he fully trusted and depended on God’s
protection and leading.
When considering his position, there is no doubt that he recognizes himself between a
rock and a hard place. He was a captive, he had been one of the exiled, and he was a servant to a
foreign ruler. Nehemiah was in Persia serving in the royal court as a cupbearer for King
Artaxerxes. Although, the exile was over he remain in this important position. However, he
knew this was not his home or his people and when he found out the state of his people and his
city he longed to return and restore it and them to their former glory. Nehemiah was not a priest
nor was he a prophet but he was a man with a desire to restore the people of God. He stood day
after day in the king’s courts listening, learning, and planning. It can be said that he acquired the
necessary skill to lead his people being a cupbearer to the king. “The qualities of leadership
Nehemiah exhibited and the management practices he employed to accomplish this project, as
reported in the Old Testament, provide extraordinary examples paralleling New Testament
teachings about leadership and management principles we can follow as we seek to lead and
manage our organizations today. These timeless principles are as relevant today as they were in
Nehemiah’s day” (Maclariello 2003)2. In situation like this, people of God should recognize that
God has worked in their favor. God allowed Nehemiah to be positioned in the king’s court with
purpose. And that purpose was to show him how to lead His people.
Trusting God is imperative if there is going to be success in the mission. “Apart from
Christ, man’s wisdom is but folly, because it begins with faith in itself and proclaims man’s
2 Joseph Maciariello, “Lessons in leadership and management for Nehemiah,” Theology Today
60, no. 3 (2003): 397-407, Accessed September 10, 2016. ttj.sagepub.com/60/3/397.short.
autonomy. The redeemed man, on the other hand, begins with faith and reason in subjection to
the laws placed in this universe by God: he learns to think God’s thoughts after him” (DeMar
2008)3. If there is no trust, then there is no direction. Once Nehemiah realized the position of
the people and his city he was more than ready to get started with the restoration. He was
anxious and full of passion to do the work of the Lord for the people of God. Nevertheless, there
was something standing in his way. He was obligated to serve the king. However, when God is
working in your favor nothing will stop your movement. God had already positioned the heart of
the king to understand the problem and be a part of the solution. The prayer of Nehemiah was
also a very important part of the solution, his petition to God was heard and the plan was set in
motion. “Assurance of salvation is based on the character of God and his Word. He can be
trusted regardless of the circumstances or issues involved” (John F. Walvoord 2000)4.
The plan to restore the city was built on the premise of total and unwavering trust in God.
Nehemiah knew and understood there was no possible way that he could do it alone. He
recognized that God was the only way that this mission would be executed. Although, he
identified what must be done he took inventory of what was needed as well. This is where the
rubber meets the road. His faith must be bigger at this point. The wall that need restoration was
not the only wall he would encounter and he was fully aware of this. Many times, it is at this
point where the people of God turn and run. The task appears to be very difficult and there
seems to be no way of completing what is required. As stated in MacAuthor’s book, From
Gary DeMar, “It Takes More Than a Theory (Part1),” The American Vision, Accessed
September 9, 2016, http://americanvision.org/1231/takes-more-than-theory-part/.
John F. Walvoord and Donald Cambell, John A. Witmer, Theological Wordbook
(Nashville:Word Publishing, 2000)
Ordinary to Extraordinary, “Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your obedience to Christ
will make life easier” (John MacArthur 2009)5.
Fortunately for the people of Israel Nehemiah refuse to turn. His trust was not in his
own ability but in the promise of God. He was ready and willing to see the salvation of the Lord
in the restoration of his people. There was no doubt in his mind that God would not keep His
covenant with His people. “The Old Covenant or Testament, therefore, is primarily the written
record of the origin, terms, and history of the solemn agreement which existed between the
Israelitish nation and Jehovah” (Kent 2015)6. He asked the Lord to listen and watch his
persistence in prayer. He wanted God to listen to his sincerity and to observe his consistency.
He prayed diligently day and night for this cause.
Restoration, Restoring the Broken Pieces
There are many things that can be observed in the book of Nehemiah such as, restoration,
trust, prayer, leadership, and position. Restoration is a very intricate part of this story. It helps
the readers to see and understand the hand of God. Nehemiah could not restore the people nor
the city on his own. Nevertheless, God had placed the necessary individuals in his life that
would provide the needed assistance. Often when trials and tribulations play a big part of a
person’s life they are quick to related it to the natural process of things. “King David was an
example of someone who occasionally sought advice from human counselors, but always turned
ultimately to God for answers. As many of the psalms reveal, he was especially dependent on
John MacArthur and John F. MacArthur, From Ordinary to Extraordinary (Nashville:
Wolgemuth&Associates, Inc, 2009), 6.
Charles Foster Kent, The Permanent Value of the Old Testament (New York City:
Scriptura Press, 2015), 22 .
God alone when he struggled with personal problems or emotions” (J. MacArthur 2004)7.
However, if we look at it through the eyes of God we will see these trials and tribulations as a
part of our spiritual development.
Nehemiah was in a place that was not his true home but he had adjusted to the
environment and got acquainted with the people and the surroundings. His relationships were
important in order for him to make the requests that would be needed in the future. Those
answers to those requests would open the doors to restoration. “Nehemiah described how he
succeeded in convincing the residents of Yehud to join him in this venture (Neh. 2:17-18), at
which point he moved on to tell of the opposition to the project among a number of influential
neighbors (Neh. 2:19-20; 3L33-38)” (Cogan 2016)8. Restoration began with Nehemiah. He was
emotionally and spiritually broken because of the condition of his people and the devastation of
his city. His broken pieces were restored when he sought the Lord and received direction. His
broken pieces were also restored when the king permitted him to return to his people to begin his
mission. The pieces where being put in place by the promises of God.
Brokenness in not always an easy thing to restore, but with the right people in place and
God leading the victory, restoration can be a process that can change a multitude. What must be
recognized is that restoration is not reserved only for the people involved it is a display of the
power and deliverance of God. As God provides the deliverance for His people He is
demonstrating to the unbelievers who He is and what He can do.
Being in The Right Position
Making a request to resolve a situation is no small task when the job itself is enormous.
John MacArthur, "The Sufficiency of the Scripture," The Master's Seminary Journal,
(2004): 166
Cogan, "Raising the Walls of Jerusalem," 84,85,90
How can such a thing be accomplished by such a small, insignificant, and unimportant
individual? The thing that must be realized is that God uses the most unexpected people to do
great things. “Significant problems do not, typically, solve themselves. And rarely does God
intervene in messy situations with dramatic and direct displays of supernatural power from on
high. Most of the time God uses people plain and ordinary (but also faithful, available, and
obedient!) saints to accomplish His will on the earth” (J. M. MacArthur 2001)9. When
submitting completely to God he is able to use an individual in a great and unimaginable way.
There cannot be a spirit that draws back or is resistant when it comes to His calling. God is
omnipotent in that He knew us before time begin and He knew exactly what would be needed for
us to be what He called us to be.
He has positioned His chosen ones in places in where they can be most effective. There
are times in life that people are ready to quit or turn tail and run because of the things they
encounter in their positon. Nehemiah was the chosen of God serving a foreign king. He did not
look at his position as degrading or humiliating but instead as an honored and high position. He
served the king and found favor with him. Now because of his content demeanor and his desire
to serve he could make a request and receive a favorable response.
Positions have an ability to means a lot and to say a lot. In the natural world, the position
of a garbage collector is look down on, but the CEO of that garbage company is looked up to.
Both positions are responsible for the disposal of garbage but the positon are viewed differently.
God is wise in where He chooses to place his people. Their placement can make a difference in
the kingdom. God in His infinite wisdom has selected the right people for the right positions to
carry out the right assignments. Man, is not responsible for this task. Just as Nehemiah
John MacArthur, Nehemiah, Experiencing the Good Hand of God (Nashville: Word
Publishing, 2001)
petitioned God so must every Christian if they are to walk in the perfect will of God. It is God’s
desire that His people reach out to those that are hurting, broken, and in need of restoration.
However, if they are not in position it will result in a delay of assistance.
Thinking of Others
Nehemiah was a man of great compassion and love. He was a praying man with a
devotion to God. He loved the people of God and wanted them to be restored to their former
position. When he heard the condition of his people he sat down and cried, and grieved for
numerous days. This emotional condition was so heavy on Nehemiah it began to affect his work.
He could not let go of the fact that his people had survived captivity but was in great anguish and
reproach. He did not want this to continue. Something had to be done about the situation. He
knew that God was the only one able to help him with this. Therefore, he prayed.
Nehemiah did not go into prayer for himself as he was also a part of the remnant. He
prayed for the people of God and the city of God. “The importance of the temple (God’s palace)
as the center of the life of God’s people (they return to build the temple) and their pledge to
support the house of God” (G. Goswell 2012)10. God’s people, they have to have compassion for
others. God wants us to love one another. He wants us to represent Him in the earth. Just as
Jesus loved us and gave His life, He wants us to love one another and make sacrifices for each
other. Nehemiah made a serious sacrifice when he went to the king and made the request to go
to his people. There was great fear in him but the sacrifice of self-denial was necessary for him
to make his appeal known to the king.
Greg Goswell, “The absence of a Davidic hope in Ezra-Nehemiah,” Trinity Journal 33, no.1
(2012): 19-31, Accessed September 10, 2016. http://trinj.com.
Thinking of others requires self-denial. Nehemiah was in a good place. He was a
cupbearer, which was a good position, but nonetheless his position was less than important when
it came to the will of God. He could have stayed there in his comfortable place serving and
enjoying the day to day royal atmosphere. This was not why God place him there. His
placement as stated previously was to help others. Caring for others and helping them in their
hard places is the will of God. It is being a good Samaritan. As the walls were being rebuild he
lead the people as well as fought for the people. The task of thinking of others is not a smooth
nor is it an easy thing to do, but it is one of the only ways to help put the broken pieces back
Use What You Got
When thinking about Nehemiah and what he had to face it can be an easy though that he
was completely empty handed. He worked for the king. He had nothing he could call his own.
The king supplied his natural and physical needs. So, if he has a plan to rebuild the walls where
will he get the material from? Where would the workers come from? How will he get there? So
many things he had to face. These things did not deter him because he knew he had the promise
of God. “The narrator reports that Cyrus was roused by YHWH and that is was YHWH who
motivates Cyrus to issue the decree. Cyrus sees himself as the one appointed to build the temple
for YHWH (1:2)” (G. Goswell 2010).11
The awesome thing about the promises of God is that He will use whoever He needs to,
to get the job done.
Greg Goswell, “The absence of a Davidic hope in Ezra-Nehemiah,” Trinity Journal 33,
no.2 (2010): Accessed September 10, 2016). http://trinj.com.
Surely the question comes to mine whether God supplied Nehemiah with all new
materials in order to rebuild the city.
However, this question can be answer as the text is read
that Nehemiah used what he had. The workers were the Hebrews people and they worked
diligent to restore their city. He did not have to find hired help all he needed was right there.
There were others that King Cyrus appointed to help Nehemiah. The king Artaxerxes gave him
a signed decree announcing where he was going and do not retain him. God is a faithful God;
His word is from everlasting to everlasting. The people used what they had some of the same
materials that had been broken from the wall was used to restore the wall.
God is the same today and forever more. He is able to take what has been broken and
disregarded by others and use it to rebuild what has been torn down in the lives of broken people.
Nehemiah was fully aware of what was needed and what would be used. God did not have to
leave Persia to find someone to follow His instructions. He used what He had. He had a willing
servant prepared to serve. “Nehemiah adds that during his 12 years as Judah’s governor, due to
fear of God and concern for the overtaxed community, he did not levy the tribute for the
governor’s food allowance, but rather paid those expenses from his on personal resource. He
concludes the chapter by imploring God to reward him for what he has done” (Williams 2002).12
Gary R. Williams, "Contextual Influences In Readings of Nehemiah 5," Tyndale
Bulletin, (2002): 58,59, Accessed September 09, 2016,
Cogan, Mordechai. "Raising the Walls of Jerusalem." Israel Exploration Journal, (2016):
84,85,90. Assessed September 09, 2016. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27927127.
DeMar, Gary. "It Takes More Than a Theory (Part 1)." The American Vision. (November 17,
2008): Accessed September 09, 2016. http://americanvision.org/1231/takes-more-thantheory-part/.
Goswell, Greg. "The handling of time in the book of Ezra-Nehemiah. "Trinity Journal 31,
(2010): no. 2: 187-203. ATLASerials, Religion Collection, EBSCOhost. Accessed
September 10, 2016). http://trinj.com
Goswell, Greg. "The absence of a Davidic hope in Ezra-Nehemiah. "Trinity Journal 33, no. 1
(2012): 19-31. ATLASerials, Religion Collection, EBSCOhost. Accessed September 10,
2016. http://trinj.com
Kent, Charles Foster. The Permanent Value of the Old Testament. New York City: Scriptura
Press, 2015.
MacArthur, John and John F. MacArthur. From Ordinary to Extraordinary. Nashville:
Wolgemuth&Associates, Inc, 2009.
MacArthur, John. Nehemiah, Experiencing the Good Hand of God. Nashville: Word Publishing,
MacArthur, John. "The Sufficiency of the Scripture." The Master's Seminary Journal, 2004.
Maciariello, Joseph. "Lessons in leadership and management for Nehemiah." Theology Today
60, no. 3 (October 2003): 397-407. ATLASerials, Religion Collection, EBSCOhosbt.
Accessed September 10, 2016. ttj.sagepub.com/60/3/397.short.
Walvoord, John F and Donald Cambell, John A. Witmer. Theological Wordbook. Nashville:
Word Publishing, 2000
Williams, Gary R. "Contextual Influences In Readings of Nehemiah 5." Tyndale Bulletin,
(2002): 58,59.Accessed September 09, 2016.