Nehemiah Part 2 Sept 13 2015

Nehemiah Part 2…Sept. 13th 2015
Chapter 1
In downtown Lynchburg there is an old building that was built many years ago as a hotel.
At one time it was a place of beauty and grandeur but…
As time went by the hotel closed and it was used for both college and residential housing.
Each year the building deteriorated more and more until it finally had to close.
During the time it was used as apartments my son and I would go there from time to time
and deliver vending machines.
We only saw just a little of the building and there was nothing impressive about it.
When the building closed we removed all the equipment thinking we would never go back in
there again and that because of the condition it would be torn down.
Then one day I was told to carry machines back down there as new owners bought the
When we delivered the machines for the renovation we were both amazed at what was behind
the walls we had seen before.
We saw huge balconies and beautiful columns that had been covered up for years.
We saw beautiful huge paintings that had been on the walls for years but left alone to ruin.
We were amazed at not only at what had been uncovered but what was recovered.
We talked with the foreman and we saw the plans and the artists drawing of what the renovated
and restored building would look like.
The plans to take it back to what it was designed for originally as a hotel.
We were so impressed at the plans and the recovery that we took pictures so we would have
before and after pictures.
Seeing that made an impact on my life as I thought what was once so beautiful and full of
charm lost its beauty and its purpose…
And if not for the vision of someone that building would not have only lost its purpose it would
have ceased to exist.
The picture of that building is a picture of a lot of people’s lives today.
Lives that once were filled with happiness and peace as well as charm and great potential was
lost along the way and replaced with something else.
The way that happens to a life is the same way it happened to old hotel downtown.
It happens through neglect.
Like a small leak that gives an occasional drip when it is left alone can eventually flood a house.
Ruin starts slow and small and then becomes larger very quickly because of procrastination and
lack of concern.
We have good intentions such as…
I need to fix that or I need to stop doing that but all the while continuing on the same path.
There are many today whose lives are in ruin and they are living in ruin…
Many who have lost their way in life…
Many who are held in bondage by habits and addictions.
Lives in ruin financially, relationally, spiritually and emotionally.
Like the building downtown it is easy to look and see as well as talk about what caused its
Different people would have different opinions as to who would get the blame and who was
responsible for allowing it to nearly be a pile of rubble on the back of truck.
But talking about what caused it could never have saved it.
What saved it was someone with a vision…
What saved it were people looking forward and not backward…
What saved it was determination…
What saved it was a major investment into it.
Some of the same things that saved the old hotel are the same things required to save a life
from ruins...
Concern, vision, determination, and a major investment to restore and recover.
The book of Nehemiah is the story of rebuilding and reclaiming a life or something
important to our lives from ruin.
Unlike many stories Nehemiah does not focus on what tore the life down it focuses on what it
takes to rebuild.
It is the best step program ever known to man.
If you really want to rebuild and recover and you are serious about or you know someone who
needs to rebuild their life then this is the book for you.
Last week we saw the first requirement to rebuild and recovery is concern.
Until a person is concerned about where they are they will never be where they could be.
And they will never have what they could have.
This is seen very clearly when you look at the history behind the book of Nehemiah.
Nearly 100 years after the time of Moses and some 400 years before the birth of Jesus…
The nation of Israel and the Jewish people were in a very desperate condition.
Their nations were destroyed…
The city of Jerusalem was completely conquered by the Babylonians…
The temple Solomon had built with all of its grandeur and glory was destroyed.
When the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem they deported almost everyone from the city and the
For 70 years Jerusalem was a ghost town and it was headed like many cities to the place of being
completely forgotten about and only spoken of in the history books.
When the Jews were deported to Babylon they began to make homes for themselves…
They settled down in the place of captivity…
And they had no concern or desire to return to the land of opportunity God had given them.
In other words they got used to and got comfortable in bondage and lost opportunities.
When the time did come and they had the opportunity to return to the Promised Land…
Out of the 2 or 3 million Jews who were taken captive only 50,000 decided to take advantage of
the opportunity to go back or to get out of bondage.
There is a staggering statistic in that…it means only 2% wanted any change in their lives.
Those 50,000 returned and they rebuilt the temple.
But the walls of the city were still in rubble.
The reason was due to obstacles to the rebuilding of the wall.
The Jews that went back tried to rebuild the walls but they failed.
The reason they failed they thought the obstacles could not be overcome so they stopped
So the walls lay in ruin.
When a city has no walls it means it has no defenses.
This means as long as the enemy can stall the work he can continue to rule and taunt the city or
the life of an individual.
Many a person has started out to rebuild their life but obstacles stop them from success.
Obstacles such as friends who do not want you to do better because they don’t want to do
better themselves.
Obstacles due to no support from those closest to them.
Obstacles designed by satan to discourage us or to set us back.
Many a person has given their life to the Lord only to have their friends and family turn on them
or not support them.
Obstacles stopped the progress some were making…
And unconcern kept others from making any progress at all.
No one seemed to want to change anything so they walls stayed in disarray.
Chapter 1:2 Nehemiah hears about the situation.
Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah and I asked them concerning the Jews
who had escaped who had survived the captivity and concerning Jerusalem.
Nehemiah asked or inquired, to ask about something normally means you care about who or
what you are asking about.
Verse 3 is the response he received…
And they said to me the survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in
distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down and its gates are burned with
He did not receive a very encouraging word concerning the city and the wall.
Notice the people are called survivors.
A survivor is a person who survives from an event from which others have died.
A survivor is a person who copes well with difficulties of life.
We here the title survivor a lot lately when it comes to cancer.
But I want every survivor to think about changing their title from survivor to…
The reason I say that is because God has more for us than to just be a survivor…
God says we are conquerors, actually…
Romans 8:37 says we are more than a conqueror through Him who loved us.
God wants us to be more than a survivor He wants to be more than a conqueror.
Conquer means to take control of…
Conquer means to defeat someone or something through the use of force.
Conquer means to gain control over through great effort.
When I look back at my past I didn’t just survive my past, I conquered it or took control of my
life through Christ.
They tell Nehemiah not only the condition of the wall…
But also the condition of the people because they had no wall…
Remember walls were there for defending themselves.
Because of no walls…Their lives were in great distress and reproach.
Distress means extreme anxiety, sorrow and pain as well as upset this refers to their mental and
emotional condition.
Reproach means disappointment.
They did nothing about their situation so the situation did something to them.
It brought great mental anguish and disappointment in their lives.
A life in ruins is filled with mental anguish and disappointment…
Verse 4…Nehemiah’s response to the news…
So it was when I heard words that I sat down and wept and mourned for many days; I was
fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah immediate reaction was extreme.
He didn’t just feel bad for the people and the city but the Bible says he sat down and wept.
The words I sat down means…he had no strength in his legs or his legs just folded out from
under him.
Before you can ever work on any area of your life…the condition of your life has to work on
Before you can ever see your future you have to see your present state.
Verse 4 goes on to say…and I mourned for many days I was fasting and praying before the God
of heaven.
Before God works on where we are God works on who we are.
Nehemiah’s reaction went beyond an immediate emotion.
Reaction must go beyond an emotion.
Emotional responses never fix anything.
Positive reaction is what fixes problems.
What fixes lives is a when a person is bothered by the situation what he hears and sees and
it becomes a burden.
A vision is birthed out of a burden.
Visions of tomorrow are birthed from burdens of today and the past.
You can never have a vision until you first have a burden.
Nehemiah prayed to the God of Heaven the only God who can meet a person’s need.
Why pray?
Prayer relieves stress, worry and fear as prayer gives you strength.
Knees can’t knock when you are down on them.
He goes to God with complete dependence on Him not on himself.
As I said last week Nehemiah confessed his part of the situation.
Nehemiah claimed the promises of God.
And Nehemiah asked God for His divine help...
He asked God for success in rebuilding what had been torn down and taken for granted.
So many people have the idea today that they do not need God to do what they need done…
So many feel like they can function adequately without God.
The book of Nehemiah is designed to teach us that only with God’s help can we change
ourselves and recover from the damage and ruin of the past.
In verse 5 and 6 we see Nehemiah’s prayer and it shows he realizes for success in rebuilding he
couldn’t do it by a vision alone…
He needed the help of Almighty God.
He needed the great power of and the strong hand of God.
Nehemiah was willing to the natural but he knew he needed supernatural help from Almighty
He asked God to prosper him or give him success in rebuilding.