ISSL Reflections April 18, 2021, Nehemiah 2:11-20 Post 1

We turn this week to Nehemiah who as Ezra worked to rebuild Jerusalem, rebuild the Temple and reestablish life as people of the covenant.

As we begin out time with this passage first pay attention to Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 2:11-20

So I came to Jerusalem and was there for three days. Then I got up during the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. The only animal I took was the animal I rode. I went out by night by the Valley Gate past the Dragon’s Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that had been broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool; but there was no place for the animal I was riding to continue. So I went up by way of the valley by night and inspected the wall. Then I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest that were to do the work.

Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so that we may no longer suffer disgrace.” I told them that the hand of my God had been gracious upon me, and also the words that the king had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us start building!” So they committed themselves to the common good. But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they mocked and ridiculed us, saying, “What is this that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven is the one who will give us success, and we his servants are going to start building; but you have no share or claim or historic right in Jerusalem.”

So here we have Nehemiah “the cupbearer to …. King Artaxerxes ” of Persia (Nehemiah 1:11 – 2:1).

What might his position as “cupbearer to the King” say about him? How does it speak of his character and his access to the King?

In this reading we see him in Jerusalem and no longer in the court of the King. What brought him to Jerusalem? Take some time to read Nehemiah 1 and notice what that tells you about Nehemiah.

In Nehemiah 1 you find him in prayer. How do you think the “praying” Nehemiah is related to the Nehemiah who gets up in the night and sets out on a “walkabout”?

When he journeys around the city what does he find?

For whom does he want to begin the rebuilding of Jerusalem?

How would you describe Nehemiah in a few sentences? Or maybe one?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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