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‘DOING A GREAT WORK’ Joining Nehemiah in Jerusalem ENQUIRING & PRAYING ABOUT THE WORK.

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Presentation on theme: "‘DOING A GREAT WORK’ Joining Nehemiah in Jerusalem ENQUIRING & PRAYING ABOUT THE WORK."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘DOING A GREAT WORK’ Joining Nehemiah in Jerusalem ENQUIRING & PRAYING ABOUT THE WORK

2 ISRAEL UNITED Saul, David, Solomon ISRAEL DIVIDED it cannot last ‘a kingdom...divided against itself...cannot stand’ Mk 3.24.

3 defeated by Assyria defeated by Assyria defeated by Babylon defeated by Babylon Zedekiah & the Jews were taken captive to Babylon - Jerusalem was destroyed. 70 yrs exile ( BC)

4 BUT GOD MOVED BEHIND THE SCENES THE MEDES & PERSIANS UNDER CYRUS DEFEATED THE BABYLONIANS IN 530 BC After 70 years the exiles returned from Babylon to Jerusalem

5 First exiles returned with Zerubbabel & Joshua, the high priest worked on the temple came to a halt for 14 years Haggai & Zechariah stirred them up to work again Under King Artaxerxes Ezra led a group back in 458 BC – worked with the group around the temple Nehemiah – born during exile – returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall & gates

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7 When did you last enquire about the condition of the local assembly and the Lord’s people? When did you last enquire about the condition of the local assembly and the Lord’s people? If you don’t want to be disturbed, don’t ask! NEHEMIAH DARED TO ASK & IT PROVED TO BE A LIFE- CHANGING EXPERIENCE ‘I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem’, 1.2. NEHEMIAH DARED TO ASK & IT PROVED TO BE A LIFE- CHANGING EXPERIENCE ‘I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem’, 1.2. IT ALL BEGAN WITH AN ENQUIRY

8 ‘Like large doors, great life-changing events can swing on very small hinges…you never know what God has in store, even in commonplace conversation with a friend or relative; so keep your heart open to God’s providential leading’. W.Wiersbe ‘Like large doors, great life-changing events can swing on very small hinges…you never know what God has in store, even in commonplace conversation with a friend or relative; so keep your heart open to God’s providential leading’. W.Wiersbe NEHEMIAH’S ENQUIRY REVEALED… NEHEMIAH’S ENQUIRY REVEALED… God’s PRECISION God’s PRECISION his own PRIORITY his own PRIORITY the Jews’ & the city’s PLIGHT the Jews’ & the city’s PLIGHT the value of PRAYER the value of PRAYER

9 GOD’S PRECISION ‘And it came to pass…’, v.1 it was not by chance that Nehemiah was… in Shushan (Susa) the palace in the month Chisleu-Nov/Dec in the 20 th yr of king Artaxerxes the king’s cupbearer God placed him there ‘for such a time as this’

10 NEHEMIAH’S PRIORITY ‘And I asked them…’, v.2 NEHEMIAH’S PRIORITY ‘And I asked them…’, v.2 His priority was not: Persia the palace his position His priority was not: Persia the palace his position BUT the people the place God’s glory His heart was ‘beyond the river’ BUT the people the place God’s glory His heart was ‘beyond the river’ ‘And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not’, Jer ‘And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not’, Jer It’s possible to rise to prominent positions without losing our love for the Lord, His people and the local assembly. It’s possible to rise to prominent positions without losing our love for the Lord, His people and the local assembly.

11 THE JEWS’ & THE CITY’S PLIGHT ‘And they said unto me…’, v.3. THE PEOPLE they were in great affliction & reproach – nothing appealing or attractive about them THE WALL the wall (sing.) was broken down = separation & safety THE GATES they were burned with fire gates = entry – separation does not mean isolation – there were times when they were open (7.3) Not very attractive!

12 When did you last pray about the condition of the local church/assembly and the Lord’s people? THE VALUE OF PRAYER ‘When I heard…I…prayed’, v.4. NEHEMIAH COULD HAVE ARGUED… ‘I wasn’t born in the city – I’m not part of past failure.’ ‘I’m not responsible for present conditions’ ‘Jerusalem is a poor exchange for the palace.’ BUT NO! he identified himself with the people - do we ?

13 WHAT DOES EFFECTIVE PRAYER LOOK LIKE? Nehemiah: sat down wept/mourned for several days fasted then prayed It is impossible to care for the Lord’s people & not to mourn/weep ‘For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears…that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you’. 2 Cor 2.4. there is no set posture for prayer, but our body language should show reverence for the Lord

14 WHAT DOES EFFECTIVE PRAYER SOUND LIKE? it sounds as if I know to whom I am praying ‘I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant & mercy’, 1.4,5. it sounds like confession ‘and confess the sins of the children of Israel…we have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments’, 1.6,7. it sounds like intercession ‘we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned. We have dealt very corruptly against thee’ 1.6,7 it sounds as if I know the Word of God ‘Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandest thy servant Moses’, 1.8.

15 WHAT DOES EFFECTIVE PRAYER ‘SOUND’ LIKE? it sounds as if I am being persistent ‘the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night’, 1.6 it was not a ‘one-off’ prayer it sounds like a personal request - at the end! ‘O Lord, I beseech thee… prosper I pray thee thy servant this day and grant him mercy in the sight of this man’, 1.11 ‘For I was the king’s cupbearer’, 1.11 an advantage - close to the king – held his life in his hands but vulnerable – he could have been viewed as disloyal only the Lord could ensure a good outcome to his request – he needed the Lord’s attentive ear (1.11) before he gained the king’s ear (2.3)


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