Nehemiah 2:1–20

 |  January 14, 2019

Facing Failure with Faith

Context of the Passage:

Nehemiah chapter 2 takes place 4 months after the events of chapter 1.  God did not immediately send Nehemiah when Hanani told him about the condition of Jerusalem.  Nor, did Nehemiah immediately ask for permission to go. But, Nehemiah was waiting for God’s perfect time.  God always and only works at the right time (see Gal. 4:4).

Outline of the Passage

2:1-2 – The King notices Nehemiah was sad

2:3-5 – Nehemiah makes his request of the King

2:6-8 – The King asks for further details and grants Nehemiah’s request

2:9-10 – Opponents hear about Nehemiah’s plan

2:11-18 – Nehemiah surveys the city and challenges the people

2:19-20 – Opposition begins

Exegesis of the Passage

2:1 – I had never been sad in his presence before

2:2 – The king sensed something was wrong

2:3 – Though he had not yet seen the condition of Jerusalem, Nehemiah reported to the king what his brother had informed to him about the city.

2:4 – Nehemiah prayed to the Lord as he spoke to the earthly king.

2:5 – Nehemiah doesn’t just ask to “go” to Jerusalem, he asks to be “sent” to Jerusalem

2:6-8 – When the king pressed for further details, Nehemiah had thought enough about the situation to know what was needed.

Exp.  Nehemiah asked for protection and provision

  1.  Permission to go
  2.  Letters for their personal safety
  3.  Materials to accomplish the work

=> King granted them all!

App.  When God’s time was right – provision was certain and protection was guaranteed!

2:9-10 – Not everyone was pleased at Nehemiah’s quest

2:11 – Nehemiah spent 3 days observing the situation in Jerusalem before he made any public comments

2:12-16 – Nehemiah kept his inspection and his plans private

2:12-14 – Interesting topographical description of the land – apparently still suffering from destruction at hands of Babylonians – Places his animal cannot pass!

2:17 – You see the situation we are in!

2:17 – Let’s rebuild!

2:17 – “No longer a reproach”

2:18 – Let’s rise up and rebuild

2:19-20 – Sanballat and Tobiah respond in 3 ways:

2:20 – Nehemiah’s response supports the possibility of Tobiah’s association with Ezra 2:60

Sermon on the Passage

Confronting Failure with Faith

  1. Wait on God’s time
  2. Seek the Lord for wisdom
  3. Plan accordingly
  4. Assessed carefully
  5. Challenged the people to trust
  6. Confessed faith in the Lord
    2:20 – Nehemiah expressed absolute confidence in God
    Cf.  1:8-11 – God, you said this would happen if we failed you – but you also said, IF WE RETURN – you would forgive!
  7. Faced opposition courageously
    “There will always be a Sanballat or a Tobiah to get you off track.” [3] O. S. Hawkins, Rebuilding: It’s Never Too Late for a New Beginning.  Annuity Board, 1999, 56.

References   [ + ]

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