"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Friday, December 9, 2022


INTRODUCTION: I have always been fascinated as a child by stories of transformation, whether the person in question was Scrooge or the Wolfman. The idea that a person could be found in one particular state, only to come under some other influence and be irrevocably changed by it was captivating for me.

Truly, any good story will follow the life of the protagonist from the beginning and witness how they’ve changed by the end of the story

Here in the book of Nehemiah, we see the transformation not of a person, but a nation and a city: where once they were displaced from their homeland and lived as refugees, they were brought back to the land of their fathers, according to the promises of GOD.

Whereas the city of Jerusalem was in ruins by the judgment of GOD that was justifiably rendered upon His rebellious people who refused to repent, we see some fifty thousand of these Jews returning back to their “City of Peace” only to be confronted and discouraged by seemingly insurmountable circumstances and relentless enemies.
Nevertheless, GOD raised up His man, Nehemiah, and gifted him with such spiritual accoutrements that were effective in getting the job done, a restored Jerusalem!

I love this book because it’s a book about a restored conviction in the undeniable promises of GOD, a restored hope, a restored city!
These promises involve not just the Jewish people and their personal and national prosperity but include the panoramic view of the overall Kingdom of GOD wholly restored in this world, righteously supplanting the satanic rule in this “war of the ages”, and replacing it with that of the Messiah, Who shall reign over all nations from the world capital of Jerusalem!

Thus the TRIUMPH Of CHRIST will be fully realized when all the Earth is TRANSFORMED to the holy world that GOD envisioned to begin with!

Let’s delve into these pages and discover what GOD would speak to us regarding this book and the person of Nehemiah!

Ezra the priest attempted to restore the temple less than two decades prior to the arrival of Nehemiah, but with only limited success, never achieving the full restoration of GOD’s House. Due to the dilapidated walls surrounding the city, they were vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. People grew despondent and gave up, resulting in the work being discontinued. Then the Jews became more interested in building their own houses rather than GOD’s (HAGG 1:2-8).

They needed the security of walls but the one’s surrounding the beleaguered city were ruined, unable to provide shelter from influences without.

That’s what walls are for: to keep the elements of weather, and those who would intrude outside and unable to enter the safe domain within for those who belong within them. Walls make distinction between those who belong and those who don’t. A judge belongs in his courthouse; a surgeon in his hospital; a government official in the capital building. A pastor in his church building.

The Jewish people belonged in Jerusalem, behind walls that would distinguish them from the Gentiles.

As Christians we belong behind the spiritual walls of the invisible church, distinct and sanctified – set apart from the world with a difference.

These walls then that Nehemiah was intent on rebuilding represent in one sense, salvation – in the aspect of sanctification – the saints made holy, separate from sinners; the gates thereof represent justification in Christ as we receive the gospel of our salvation, enter into the kingdom of GOD, and thereby render praises of thanksgiving unto our LORD and Savior!

And just as GOD has every intention in completing His work in the church, in the lives of individual members of the body of Christ, He also intends on fulfilling every promise He’s made to His people Israel.

Though His people endured terrible and devastating judgment by the wrath of GOD for their disobedience, His last word to Israel will be “peace” as He, the Prince of Peace comes to reign in Jerusalem, the City of Peace!

Note particularly vs. 18 (and verse 21):
ISAIAH 60:14-22
14 Also the sons of those who afflicted you shall come bowing to you, and all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. 15 Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, A joy of many generations. 16 You shall drink the milk of the Gentiles, and milk the breast of kings; you shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. 17 Instead of bronze I will bring gold, instead of iron I will bring silver, instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron. I will also make your officers peace, and your magistrates righteousness. 18 Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; But you shall call your walls Salvation, And your gates Praise. 19 The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; but the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. 20 Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; For the LORD will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. 21 Also your people shall all be righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified. 22 A little one shall become a thousand, And a small one a strong nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time." (
See also PSALM 9:14)
Walls also represent prayer that must encircle every endeavor and every ministry for the LORD. They also represent testimony that declares the position and right of a sovereign power to conduct rule for and upon the people that reside within.
We will note that the first several chapters in NEHEMIAH involve the building of the wall. The latter portion of the book deals with instruction from the Word of GOD to the people. Prayer and the Word of GOD: by which GOD’s kingdom is built as we labor, both in the doctrine of these as well as in the doing of them.

Where salvation of souls, and of the world He has created are concerned, GOD always finishes what He starts, and He has promised that He will (REV 21:5)! But in the matters of this ruined city of Jerusalem, it starts here with bad news:

1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, 2 that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem

Nehemiah was a cup bearer to the king of Persia; many of his countrymen had moved back to Israel after their seventy year captivity in Babylon finally ended. The prophet Daniel was long dead, but his writings were preserved for posterity and Nehemiah had every hope that one day, all the Jews would return home, that the people would return to God in righteousness, and that the LORD God would bless them once again.

Every day passed by with hopeful expectation in Nehemiah's heart as he attended to affairs at court in the foreign land in which he served. He knew that there was coming a time when his cousins would visit him at the palace or at his own residence and report joyously on the tremendous progress in Jerusalem, the City of Peace.

Finally the day came; perhaps Nehemiah was gazing out a window when he saw the sight he longed for: a caravan with his cousins at the lead, heading towards his home. Maybe he dashed out with undignified eagerness and ran like a little boy with gleeful expectation. As he came upon his brethren, he breathlessly called out,

What news from Jerusalem?" His eyes large and bright with brilliant hope. Yet a sudden, thin chill crawled over his spine when he saw the downcast expressions, the dim furtive glances exchanged between the travelers. One of them, his cousin Hanani, finally spoke, his voice barely above a whisper:

3 And they said to me, "The remnants who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire

The devastation was undeniable; any hope was dangerously tenuous; future prospects unnervingly uncertain!
“Nehemiah was certain he hadn't heard the man right, but as he looked from one dejected expression to another, and another, the words echoed through his mind, and like a spear of ice, shot through his heart. Blankly he stared as the men in dusty garb shuffled passed him.

“In an unseeing daze the royal cup bearer made his way back to his residence. He could hardly refer to it as his home. Yet the one place in the world he did think of as home was still in ruins! Ashes and crumbling stone, bereft of any beauty or integrity, Jerusalem was just as desolate, if not more so, as when Nebuchadnezzar, Emperor of Babylon had finished his destructive work!

“Entering his dwelling, he went to his bed chambers and silently sat down on a chair by a window that faced the west. He looked out and stared intently on the horizon and thought on his beloved Jerusalem.

“Would there ever be hope for him and his people? Would the land of his fathers ever know the blessedness of God's favor? Would Jerusalem know nothing but desolation and ruin? When and where would there ever come a chance for Israel to regain her former prosperity under the loving guidance of YHWH and fulfill the glorious purpose He planned for her? Would she thwart the glory of God forever?

“Sitting there and thinking such desperate thoughts, I can see tears form in this man's eyes as his heart was rent; he agonized over the ruin of his beloved city. Those tears then spilled down his cheeks as he gasped in a rasping, choking sob that overtook him.

“Falling to his knees with a shriek of anguished sorrow, he clutched at his robes and tore them violently. Heaving with breathless despair, he fell further onto his face, and there this godly man cried out to God on behalf of his people.” That prayer is recorded in verses following which we shall ponder.
(The above quote is from an article FROM The MIND of FIRE (FMF) I wrote many years ago on the cause of Nehemiah, in the service of the LORD GOD: WANTED: Righteousness Raiment, Purified Gold, Sanctified Salve (included in this is a brief 7 minute compilated video by David Wilkerson entitled A CALL To ANGUISH that is worth your time! Also Paul Washer’s brief presentation on EXAMINING YOURSELF).

I’m currently reading Alan Redpath’s book VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN SERVICE – Commentary on the book of Nehemiah and will be gleaning from this source in these studies.

Both Alan Redpath and David Wilkerson (in their respective book and video) pointed out that before any work of GOD can begin, we must be certain of His calling on our lives, regardless of how big or small the work may be – size is irrelevant: EVERY work for the LORD irrespective of size is important!

It’s only as we realize this and prompt this truth, coupled with GOD’s empowering grace, to motivate us, that we can remain faithful to the work and thus enables the LORD to promote us to even greater responsibility.
Consider one of the seven deacons in ACTS, Stephen – whose ministry was simply serving tables in practical matters, but later he was promoted as a witness before the Sanhedrin and afterwards promptly martyred and promoted even higher into the halls of heaven!
Another one of those seven: Philip, who was promoted to be an evangelist to Samaria, then the Eunuch who in turn brought the Gospel to the kingdom of Ethiopia (as well as these, consider the faithful servants who worked for their LORD in increasing the talents given to them and promoted according to their faithfulness; see LUKE 19:17).

But before the work can begin, there must be a sharing of hearts: GOD’s heart of anguish (as Dave Wilkerson pointed out) over the ruination that sin brings to souls and cities alike (particularly this beloved city of Jerusalem that He has set His affections on (PSALM 87:1-3)) must be shared with His saint, the instrument by which GOD’s will shall be accomplished.

And His heart breaks particularly for the souls of His children, born of His Spirit, but burdened in wandering from His sheepfold and subsequently mauled by a ruthless and cold, hard hearted world. The LORD is just as pained by the lost souls in the vast and wide torrents of humanity that rush headlong over the falls of perdition, and down into the Lake of Fire. And He seeks for someone who will echo His aching heart, someone who will imbibe of the compassions of the LORD which causes such to be moved by that same compassion (MATT 9:36; 14:14).

Just as Nehemiah shed prayerful tears over the dark doom and gloom that oppressed his beloved city and led him to action, so too must we weep with intercession through the dark and heavy night, in order for the joy of the LORD’s restorative and productive work to come in the morning (PSALM 30:5; 126:5-6)!

Prayer is warfare. Warfare is evident when any saint endeavors to expand and hold advancements made for the Kingdom of GOD and Satan retaliates, doing all he can to thwart such enterprise!

Alan Redpath comments from his aforementioned book, VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN SERVICE:
“There is a wall to be built around the city of your soul. There is a wall to be built, a testimony to be erected around your church. There is a wall of witness and testimony to be built around the whole Kingdom of GOD in all the world… [and] you will discover that there is no winning without warfare, there is no opportunity without opposition, there is no victory without vigilance. For wherever the people of GOD say, “Let us arise and build!”, Satan says, “Let me arise and oppose!”
As with Nehemiah, prayer is not only essential for the work, but as E.M. Bounds has stated, “prayer is the greater work” (check out the Complete Works on Prayer by E.M. Bounds)! It’s in the prayer closet that our minds and thoughts are molded by the very Spirit of GOD that directs us as individual saints as well as the body of Christ to the works that He has ordained for us (EPH 2:10)!

But prayerlessness brings spiritual paralysis to the body of Christ.

4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven

Nehemiah could no longer stand it – so in a posture of prayer, he sat down, but his face didn’t remain dry for long. His cheeks were wet with tears that sought for GOD to teach him what he should do.

He also fasted – such was the heart of this man, that he went without his necessary food in seeking out “meat that [we] know not of” – the will of the Father:
JOHN 4:32-35
32 But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." 33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?" 34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35 "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!

LUKE 10:2
Then He said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
No doubt adversaries of Jerusalem in their taunting the feeble efforts of the Jews to restore Jerusalem would have been answered by Nehemiah, who in secret prayed with tears long before he ever laid eyes on the city:
PSALM 42:3
My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, "Where is your God?
5 And I said: "I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, 6 "please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father's house and I have sinned. 7 "We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.

It was less than a century before this time when Daniel the prophet, having read the scroll of Jeremiah (JER 25:1-11; 29:1-10), understood that the time of Israel’s captivity was nearly over with (Check out the article: DANIEL 9: The 70-Year Prophecy of Jeremiah). And this prompted him to pray a prayer very similar to that of Nehemiah, ninety three years later. Note the similarities:
DANIEL 9:2-19
2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 4 And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, 5 "we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. 6 "Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. 7 "O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day-to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You. 8 "O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9 "To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. 10 "We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets.
They both start off almost identically with homage to the “LORD GOD of heaven”:

Both attribute to GOD His great and awesome character and power Who keeps covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and who keep His commandments, quoting from DEUT 7:9.
Nehemiah petitions that the LORD will be attentive and His eyes observant to his prayer (Daniel does the same in DAN 9:18-19), which he continued for days and nights on behalf of his countrymen.

Both confess the sins of the nation (and they include themselves, and their fathers in this count!). They confess to “acting very corruptly”, and having “sinned and committed iniquity”, and “have not kept His commandments…and statutes and ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses”, and have “done wickedly and rebelled”, “even depart[ing] from Your precepts and judgments”. Daniel continues in his lament:

"Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land… O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You… we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets” (and even more in DAN 11-19).
11 "Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. 12 "And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 "As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. 14 "Therefore the LORD has kept the disaster in mind and brought it upon us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice. 15 "And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day-we have sinned, we have done wickedly! 16 "O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. 17 "Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 "O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. 19 "O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name."
The prayer of Daniel increases in fervent intensity as he brings it to its climatic conclusion, and what he prayed then, the LORD answered almost one century later.

Talk about a delayed answer to prayer!

But in reality, not delayed at all, but answered “in the fullness of time” – “at a time appointed”. All of this fits into GOD’s grand plan of the ages! For the re-establishment of Jerusalem, bringing back the people of GOD and a measure of the prosperity that YHWH intended for His people, had set the stage for the majestic entry of the Messiah 483 years later. He announced that the “Kingdom of heaven” (MATT 4:17) was among them – because the King was in their midst and ready to establish “the Kingdom of Israel” (ACTS 1:6-7), what we would refer to as the Millennial Reign of Christ.

That kingdom was not enacted only because the King was rejected and crucified, in fulfillment of prophecy, by the foreordained will of GOD (1 PET 1:20). But the time of that kingdom is in the Father’s hands and will be established at the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.

But the restoration of the nation of Israel continued as Nehemiah procures permission from the king of Persia to return to his homeland and effect repairs to Jerusalem.
We’ll pick up with this in the second article in this series, once we conclude the prayer of Nehemiah!

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