Lent 2024 – Four Post-Exilic People – Part 3

Selections from Nehemiah 1-7

Nehemiah: The Wall Builder (Part 1)

I. Nehemiah: PASSIONATE for a CAUSE. (Neh. 1-2)
A. The GENERATIVE power of DIFFICULTY and PAIN. (1:1-4)
B. Our PRAYERS shape us over TIME. (1:5-2:9)
C. Nehemiah ADOPTS a LEARNING posture. (2:11-18)
D. Once again, OPPOSITION and (from?) EXCLUSION. (2:10,19-20; Zech.2:4-5)

We’ve talked about Zerubbabel, Ezra, and for the next two weeks we will look at Nehemiah. Once again the story of Nehemiah leaves us with some questions (we will get to that next week), but his story offers some more specific principles that we can apply to our lives.

1. Kid’s Question: When have you gotten news that made you feel sad?
2. When have you prayed for something over a long period of time? Did your prayers change as time passed?

II. Lessons: LEADING in DIFFICULT times. (Neh. 3-7)
A. The power of COLLABORATION and OWNERSHIP . (3:1-32)
B. INTERNAL and EXTERNAL opposition. (3:5; 4:1-23; 6:1-14)
C. LEARNING to be FLEXIBLE. (4:10-23)
D. The COMPLEXITY of HUMAN issues. (5:1-19)

Nehemiah is a great leader. He seems to intuitively know (or better said, been led by God’s Spirit) how to accomplish the difficult task ahead of him. There are several things that stand out in chapters 3-7 that serve as a model for good leadership. They have value in the working out of all our relationships.

3. What lessons from the leadership of Nehemiah might God be showing you a need to apply in your own life and in your relationships with others?
4. Human beings are complex. When have you misunderstood a situation because you didn’t look deep enough into what was going on?
5. On a scale of 1-10, how flexible and willing to change are you? How does that play out in your walk with Jesus?

III. Today: Some IDEAS for APPLICATION. (Ps 119:15-16)

A. LEARNING from the lives of OTHERS. (Nehemiah 1-7; Rom. 15:4)
B. Life is COOPERATIVE partnership with the TRINITY. (4:9,14; 5:9; Eph.4:22-24; Phil. 2:12-13)
C. DIFFICULTY can bear good FRUIT. (1:4; Phil. 1:12-14; I Pet. 1:6-7)
D. It’s ALWAYS bigger than the PROJECT. (Ezra-Nehemiah; Rom. 8:29)

Looking at the bigger picture there are some specific ideas that we can reflect on and ask the Spirit to embed within our lives. These are hints about the way God does things…and the way we as human beings are invited into that.

6. Does your life feel like a “cooperative partnership with the Trinity”? Why or why not?
7. Has difficult and/or pain borne good fruit in your life in the past? What difficulty or pain are you dealing with currently?
8. Are you a “project” person or a “people” person? How does that play out in your relationships with others? What might God be saying to you about that through the life of Nehemiah?