Nehemiah 1:1-11 (2/11/13)
A city without walls was in a world of hurt. There was the danger from wild animals such as leopards, lions, wolves, and bears. There was danger from bandits and marauders. There was danger from foreign armies. Not least, there was danger that your neighbors would ridicule you for not having any walls. Walls were important
. So when Nehemiah learns that Jerusalem has no walls, he mourns for several days. He prays, “O God, we sinned, and we deserved the punishment we got. But you are a God who keeps promises, and you promised that if we returned to you, you would restore us and your city Jerusalem.”
Nehemiah 2:1-20 (2/12/13)
Nehemiah must have been an excellent, long-time servant of the king. Not only does the king recognize that Nehemiah is unhappy, he also concerns himself to find out if there is anything he can do to help. He gives Nehemiah letters of instruction and funding to pass along to his officials in Judea.
I love Nehemiah’s description of how he inspected the wall by night; this whole book would make a great movie. In this scene, we would be seeing the rubble of the wall and hearing the night sounds of the animals. We’d be all alone with Nehemiah, because what’s the point of having guards when you have no walls to protect them?
Nehemiah 3:1-4, 4:1-4,10-23 (2/13/13)
I left out a lot of Chapter 3, but if you read vss. 1-4 carefully, you’ll get the idea. Nehemiah divided the city wall and the gates into small sections and assigned specific families to work on each section. Now, the non-Jewish neighbors weren’t too happy about all this, because they figured that as soon as Jerusalem had walls again, the Jews would use it as a fortified base from which to attack them. The neighbors alternated between ridiculing the wall and trying to attack the workers. Meantime, the Jews who didn’t live in the city were uneasy because the neighbors were getting all riled up. Nehemiah paints a vivid picture of the conditions under which the builders worked: they had a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other. This would be another great movie scene.
Nehemiah 6:1-19 (2/14/13)
The walls are up, although Nehemiah hasn’t yet put in the gates. The neighbors are getting concerned that the Jews plan to rebel against the king or attack the neighbors. In this you’ve got to have at least some sympathy for their point of view. There had previously been wars between the Jews and their neighbors, and certainly the Jews had rebelled against their foreign overlords on numerous occasions prior to the Exile. This time, Nehemiah has no such intention, and he tells his opponents, “You are imagining things!”
Nehemiah 7:1-4, 11:1-3, 12:27, 43 (2/15/13)
After the walls and gates were up, Nehemiah arranged a regular schedule for opening and closing the gates and for guards, but Jerusalem was still almost empty. Some families volunteered to move to the city, and others were chosen by lot. Then they held a worship service of celebration, with lots of music. This sounds almost exactly like what we do when we build a new church or synagogue, and that’s probably not a coincidence.
More of The Rest of the Story
Week 1. Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 1. More on the Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Abraham … But Not Lot
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Isaac…But not Ishmael or the sons of Keturah
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Jacob…But not Esau
Week 3. Joseph Preserves Two Nations
Week 4. Deliverance
Week 4. More on Deliverance
Week 5. New Commands and a New Covenant
Week 6. Wandering
Week 6. More on the Wandering
Week 7. The Battle Begins
Week 8. A Few Good Men...and Women
Week 9. The Faith of a Foreign Woman
Week 10. Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Week 11. From Shepherd to King
Week 12. The Trials of a King
Week 13. The King Who Had It All
Week 14. A Kingdom Torn in Two
Weeks 15 and 16. God's Messengers and The Beginning of the End
Week 17. The Kingdoms' Fall
Jeremiah, Prophet of the Exile
Story 19. The Return Home
in the Old Testament
Story 21. Rebuilding the Walls
Story 22. The Birth of the King
Story 23. Jesus’ Ministry Begins
Story 24. No Ordinary Man
Story 25. Jesus, the Son of God
Story 26. The Hour of Darkness
Story 27. The Resurrection
Story 28. New Beginnings
James, Brother of the Lord
John and Jude
Story 31. The End of Time
Copyright 2013 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.
Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the
author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the
Bible-study participants. Thanks to the
Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers
for their support and enthusiasm. All
errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
St. John’s United Methodist Church,
2626 Arizona NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110
Traditional worship services are held Sundays at 8:15 and
11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary. Casual worship services are held Sundays at
9:30 a.m. in the Family Life Center.
are held monthly on the second Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. St. John’s feels especially called to the worship of God and to the service of our neighbors through our music program
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