April 18, 2021
NEHEMIAH 2: 11-20
The words rebuild, restore, and reform would all indicate the need for improvement. It tells me that over time, erosion, damage and destruction has taken place. In our lesson, we discover the notion of a need for improvement. A nation is now much less than it should, by lying in ruins. Our main character in our lesson is none other the the cupbearer, Nehemiah. He was born in captivity growing up in Babylon. It Is believed that Nehemiah was a eunuch. He was a God fearing serving King Artaxeres of Persia, a position of trust. While serving, he receives bad news about Jerusalem. It was a disgraceful report . The people and the city were in a deplorable state, the walls of the city were crumbling, leaving the city vulnerable to attack. There was no political leadership, no one to motivate them. Nehemiah weeps,grieves, fasted and prayed. His depression doesn't go unoticed, he's given permission and resources to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city gates and it's wall.
1 SURVEY THE SITUATION (Nehemiah 2:11-15)
As Nehemiah enters the city he dose so without notification. He secretly inspects the walls of the city, assessing the damage, estimating what needs to be done to rebuild the wall.
2 CALL THE PEOPLE TO WORK (vv. 16-18)
A meeting is called of city leaders appealing to their pride, love and a desire not to shame God. Nehemiah acknowledges God in the plan to rebuild with support from king of Persia. He motivates city leaders to assist in the work, it's a community project and the people accept the plan.
3 RESPOND TO OPPOSITION (vv. 19-20)
As with any project, there are oppostions, Three political leaders from the Persia province, object to rebuilding the wall. Their objection was an economical and a game of politics.Because of the trade system, Jerusalem would have a financial advantage with a restored city.
Nehemiah wasted no time debating with objectors, the plan was divine, he simply told it like it is. These objectors had no right to be in the land of Jerusalem.
The late Marvin Gaye recorded and released the popular protest song, "Mercy Mercy Me". It was a literary, artful and musical lament. He laments his how it is that we are destroying the ecological aspects of our earth. He says " Mercy Mercy Me, things ain't what they use to be, referencing pollution of air land and sea. I can imagine Nehemiah must have a similar lament for the condition of Jerusalem, for he loved the city.
In our lesson, Nehemiah does more than simply express lament. He consults God, gets permission for papers to go to Jerusalem, inspects the ruins, calls a meeting and appeals to city leaders.
We may be depressed over political views and decisions. The way social injustice is applied. It's a world of turmoil and distrust. Nehemiah was compelled to action.
In each of our lives, it's always a time for improvement. In our effort to improve, ask God for help.
Rev, Johnny H. Eskridge