Sermons

Wed, Jun 13, 2018

Nehemiah 2

It took four months for Nehemiah’s prayer to be answered. God never panics, but we often do. We pray today and expect a change to occur at once. But if we look at Scripture and think about our own personal experience, we might agree that four months is actually a short time frame for God to work. He knows what He is doing, and He knows the right time to do it. Sometimes He is teaching us patience. Other times He is dealing with our stubbornness. Sometimes we just don’t know why we have to wait. But the lack of an immediate answer does not mean that a good answer is not coming. Like Nehemiah, we may have to wait, continuing in prayer and trusting fully in God.
Series:Nehemiah
Duration:57 mins 31 secs

Nehemiah 2

 

THE TIMING OF GOD’S ANSWERS   Nehemiah 2: 1-6 It took four months for Nehemiah’s prayer to be answered. God never panics, but we often do. We pray today and expect a change to occur at once. But if we look at Scripture and think about our own personal experience, we might agree that four months is actually a short time frame for God to work. He knows what He is doing, and He knows the right time to do it. Sometimes He is teaching us patience. Other times He is dealing with our stubbornness. Sometimes we just don’t know why we have to wait. But the lack of an immediate answer does not mean that a good answer is not coming. Like Nehemiah, we may have to wait, continuing in prayer and trusting fully in God.

 

Ask, Seek, Knock…

Yes, No, Wait are the Lord’s answers.

 

God’s delays are not His denials.



1  And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before.

 

The month of Nisan is Mid March to Mid April on our calendar. Its been four months from Chisliv which would have been mid November or December.

 

Years earlier, God revealed the exact day Messiah would present Himself to Israel. Daniel 9 predicted 69 sets of 7 years that pointed to the date, April 6, 32 AD – the day Jesus rode His donkey down the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem.

 

But this amazing prophecy had a launch date. It started with “the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem... the street shall be built again, and the wall...” Daniel’s prophecy was tied Nehemiah’s request to rebuild the walls.

 

Nehemiah may not have realized it, but the 4 months God had him wait fulfilled prophecy. Had Nehemiah been hasty it would have messed up Daniel’s prophecy big time. .

 

God often has reasons we don’t know nor understand – we just need to wait until He says go! Isaiah 28:16 describes true faith, “Whoever believes will not act hastily.”

 

2  Therefore the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart." So I became dreadfully afraid,

 

The cupbearer had a responsibility before the king to be joyful. You could be killed for being sad in the kings presence.

 

3  and said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?"



God’s timing is perfect…

 

God prepares peoples hearts for what He has called them to do.



4  Then the king said to me, "What do you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven.

 

This is one of my favorite verses in the book of Nehemiah. Before Nehemiah talks to the King, he talks to God.

 

This prayer has been referred to as an “arrow prayer”… A short on point prayer to God that says, “HELP”

 

Peter prayed a very short prayer. “Lord, save me!” A simple three-word prayer saved him (Matthew 14:30, 31).

 

“Don’t think you will be heard because of your much speaking,” Jesus warned, “for that’s how the heathen pray” (Matthew 6:7). Both Nehemiah and Peter modeled just the opposite. It’s not the length of our prayers that counts, but the faith in them that matters most.



 

5  And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it."

 

“Faith seizes opportunity”. Close the deal…

 

Not only did the king give him what he requested, he also made him governor of Judah (5:14). Artaxerxes' decree fulfilled the word of the Lord to Daniel (Daniel 9:25, "Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.”  Just as the earlier decree of Cyrus had fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah (Jer. 29:10; Ezra 1).

 

 

6  Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), "How long will your journey be? And when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

 

As it turned out, Nehemiah was away from Persia for at least 12 years (Nehemiah 5:14).

 

All throughout Scripture, we see reference to a “set times” in which the Lord works (Exodus 9:5) (Psalm 102:13). There’s a designated time, a “set time” for the Holy Spirit to work in and through the church, and at the end of God’s “set time”, we will hear the Lord say, “Come up,” and we’ll be raptured up and go home to be with the Lord! (Revelation 11:12).

 

Revelation 11:12, “And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.”



7  Furthermore I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah,

8  and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy." And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.

 

Nehemiah recognized it was the good hand of God upon him. We see he asked to be sent, kept safe and supplied… Good things to keep in mind if you want to be used of God. Sent, Safe, Supplied…

 

John 16:24, “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

 

In the book of Ezra we read Ezra not asking for protection from the king nor for supplies where as here in Nehemiah we find him asking for protection and for supplies. I love it. We cant box God in. He doesn’t work by formula’s but by the Holy Spirit.

 

9  Then I went to the governors in the region beyond the River, and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.

10  When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of it, they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel.



Whenever God moves the enemy is close behind. Don’t forget that.

 

11  So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days.

12  Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was there any animal with me, except the one on which I rode.

13  And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the Refuse Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire.

14  Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King's Pool, but there was no room for the animal under me to pass.

15  So I went up in the night by the valley, and viewed the wall; then I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned.

16  And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, or the others who did the work.

 

Along with the king's official letters, Artaxerxes sent an armed escort with Nehemiah. Shortly after he came to Jerusalem, and as the new governor he surveyed his capital under cover of darkness in order to attract as little attention as possible and to make sure his plans remained secret. He knew it was critical that the walls be repaired if the city was to survive. At one place the rubble was so deep that his party could not pass.

 

Interesting that God does some of His best work in the dark.

 

If you are going through a dark place right now know God has not forsaken you, He is merely preparing you.

 

I’m taking you through deep waters because the devil cant swim.



17  Then I said to them, "You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach."

18  And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king's words that he had spoken to me. So they said, "Let us rise up and build." Then they set their hands to this good work.

 

There comes a point in every work of God we must rise up and work.

 

Maybe your life has been in ruins, the enemy has beat you down and you have been discouraged. Now is the time to get up and get going again. You have been a reproach long enough.



19  But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, "What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?"

 

Laughter and scorn… took the enemy still uses to this day.

 

20  So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem."

 

When Nehemiah called the leaders together, he told them what needed to be done, and encouraged them by relating how the hand of the Lord had been with him so far, and also of the king's words. The Jews were excited and ready to begin. Their enemies, Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, scoffed and tried to stop the building project by raising the false cry of "rebellion against the king." But Nehemiah was not intimidated; the God of heaven had promised success. The people were united, and that is necessary if God is going to bless (Psalm 133:1-3).

 

Philippians 1:6  

6  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;



Psalm 133:1-3 (NKJV)

1  Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!

2  It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments.

3  It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing-- Life forevermore.



Nehemiah 3

 

As we read in chapter 3 the priests were the first to begin the task by repairing the Sheep Gate. This gate, located in the northeastern corner of the city, was so named because the sheep destined for the temple altar were brought through it. The gates are mentioned counterclockwise: the Sheep Gate (vv. 1, 2); the Fish Gate (vv. 3-5); the Old Gate (or Corner Gate) (vv. 6-12); the Valley Gate (v. 13); the Refuse (or Dung) Gate (v. 14); the Fountain Gate (vv. 15-25); the Water Gate (v. 26); the Horse Gate (v. 28); the East Gate (v. 29); and the Miphkad Gate (Inspection Gate, NASB) (v. 31). Verse 32 brings us back full circle to the Sheep Gate. Two other gates are mentioned in the book—the Gate of Ephraim (8:16) and the Prison Gate (Gate of the Guard, NASB) (12:39). There were twelve gates in all, even as there will be twelve gates in the New Jerusalem Revelation 21:12, “Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel” It is significant that God keeps a careful record of all those who serve Him; this is seen in the listing of the names of those who repaired the walls and gates.

 

God never forgets our labors of love!

 

1  Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They built as far as the Tower of the Hundred, and consecrated it, then as far as the Tower of Hananel.

 

The sheep gate is where the Christian walk begins as we realize that Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. (Isaiah 53:6) “All we like sheep have truly gone astray, but the Lord has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all,”

 

Even after we’re saved, the rebuilding process always begins with a renewed focus on the Lamb, a greater love for Jesus.



2  Next to Eliashib the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built.

3  Also the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.

 

Once we see the Lamb of God and become linked to him, the next thing we’re called to do is to be workers for Him. At the fish gate, we do just that as we fish for men’s souls (Matthew 4:19). Yet, as we share the good news of the Gospel, people ask us questions, which leads us to the next gate…

 

 

4  And next to them Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, made repairs. Next to them Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs. Next to them Zadok the son of Baana made repairs.

5  Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord.

6  Moreover Jehoiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors, with its bolts and bars.

 

I like what Jon Courson writes here, “When questions arise, we are drawn back to the old gate—the solid teachings and doctrines of the Word—in order to get the firm foundation of faith every believer must know in order to be effective in service.”



 

7  And next to them Melatiah the Gibeonite, Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and Mizpah, repaired the residence of the governor of the region beyond the River.

8  Next to him Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs. Also next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, made repairs; and they fortified Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall.

9  And next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, leader of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs.

10  Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph made repairs in front of his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabniah made repairs.

11  Malchijah the son of Harim and Hashub the son of Pahath-Moab repaired another section, as well as the Tower of the Ovens.

12  And next to him was Shallum the son of Hallohesh, leader of half the district of Jerusalem; he and his daughters made repairs.

13  Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They built it, hung its doors with its bolts and bars, and repaired a thousand cubits of the wall as far as the Refuse Gate.

 

After being saved, after witnessing and being driven back to studying the Word, we come to the valley gate—times of trial and difficulty—for, as any teacher knows, testing always follows teaching. Peter would say 1 Peter 4:12. “Don’t be surprised concerning the fiery trials that come your way,”  James would echo in James 1:2–4,“Count it all joy when you fall into various trials because the testing of your faith works patience,” “But let patience have her perfect work that you may be entire and complete, lacking nothing” (see In other words, praise the Lord for the valley gate.

 

The dung gate was where refuse was carried out of the city. When we’re in the valley, we invariably say things we shouldn’t, do things we ought not, have attitudes that are amiss. So we need to go through the “dung gate,” to admit our failure and confess our sin. Then, once confession is made, we come to another gate…



14  Malchijah the son of Rechab, leader of the district of Beth Haccerem, repaired the Refuse Gate; he built it and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.

15  Shallun the son of Col-Hozeh, leader of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate; he built it, covered it, hung its doors with its bolts and bars, and repaired the wall of the Pool of Shelah by the King's Garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the City of David.

 

The Fountain Gate, the gate where we drink of the Holy Spirit…

 

16  After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, leader of half the district of Beth Zur, made repairs as far as the place in front of the tombs of David, to the man-made pool, and as far as the House of the Mighty.

 

The House of the mighty may have been the headquarters of David’s mighty men.

 

17  After him the Levites, under Rehum the son of Bani, made repairs. Next to him Hashabiah, leader of half the district of Keilah, made repairs for his district.

18  After him their brethren, under Bavai the son of Henadad, leader of the other half of the district of Keilah, made repairs.

19  And next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, the leader of Mizpah, repaired another section in front of the Ascent to the Armory at the buttress.

20  After him Baruch the son of Zabbai carefully repaired the other section, from the buttress to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest.

21  After him Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, repaired another section, from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib.

22  And after him the priests, the men of the plain, made repairs.

23  After him Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs opposite their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs by his house.

24  After him Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah to the buttress, even as far as the corner.

25  Palal the son of Uzai made repairs opposite the buttress, and on the tower which projects from the king's upper house that was by the court of the prison. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh made repairs.

26  Moreover the Nethinim who dwelt in Ophel made repairs as far as the place in front of the Water Gate toward the east, and on the projecting tower.

 

It was at the water gate that Ezra would proclaim the Word of God (Nehemiah 8:1). Having gone through the valley of experience and with the fullness of the Spirit upon you, you can share the Word with authority and effectiveness. The power of the Spirit and the path of experience will give unparalleled authority in your sharing.

 

 

27  After them the Tekoites repaired another section, next to the great projecting tower, and as far as the wall of Ophel.

28  Beyond the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house.



Revelation 19:14 tells us that when Jesus returns, He’ll be accompanied by a company on white horses. Thus, the horse gate speaks of the rapture and return of Jesus.

 

 

29  After them Zadok the son of Immer made repairs in front of his own house. After him Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, made repairs.



Through the east gate Jesus will enter at His Second Coming. In 1100 A.D., when the Turks heard the east gate was the gate Jesus would enter, they walled it up and sealed it shut. But in so doing, they fulfilled the prophecy of Ezekiel 44 that says the east gate shall be sealed until Jesus returns.

 

Gotta love it!



30  After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah made repairs in front of his dwelling.

31  After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the Nethinim and of the merchants, in front of the Miphkad Gate, and as far as the upper room at the corner.

 

Miphkad literally means “Judgment.” When Jesus comes back, He’ll bring judgment with Him. As believers, we will be judged at the bema seat of Christ—not for our sins because they were already judged on the Cross of Calvary—but for that which we have done in service for Him (2 Corinthians 5:10). Unbelievers, however, will appear before the great white throne judgment and will be cast into eternal damnation (Revelation 20:11–15).

 

32  And between the upper room at the corner, as far as the Sheep Gate, the goldsmiths and the merchants made repairs.

 

God has given different work assignments to believers today. He has equipped us with various gifts and abilities appropriate to the calling He has placed on our lives. The Lord knows who is not really involved in His work and those who are doing more than their fair share.

 

1 Corinthians 3:13 "Each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is"  

 

Here, we see the sheep gate mentioned once again. Why? Because everything both begins and ends with Jesus, the Lamb of God. The Alpha and Omega!




Powered by: Preachitsuite