Your browser does not support JavaScript!

Sermon No: 42207-Nehemiah - Chapter 1



Taryn-Paynter/Nehemiah-Chapter-1.jpg

SERMON TOPIC: Nehemiah - Chapter 1

Speaker: Taryn Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 23 February 2019

Topic Groups: NEHEMIAH, LEADERSHIP, BOOK STUDY

Sermon synopsis: The cupbearer was a high position in the court. He would have been a handsome man, well-trained in court etiquette. He would have had to be a friendly companion, willing to lend an ear and even to give advice to the king.

Nehemiah would have eaten the best food, worn the best clothes, and lived in very comfortable quarters. Surrounded by luxury and highly esteemed, he was still willing to give it all up, make the difficult journey to Jerusalem, and set about the stressful job of mobilizing the people to rebuild the walls of the city so that God’s name would be honoured among His people.

black arrow All sermons by Taryn Paynter
black arrow All sermons on NEHEMIAH
black arrow All sermons on LEADERSHIP
black arrow All sermons on BOOK STUDY
black arrow  All sermons in ENGLISH

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat, sat and wept, as we thought of Zion.” - Psalm 137:1

Nehemiah 1 New International Version (NIV)

1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: in the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

5 Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.”

7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’

10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favour in the presence of this man.”

I was cupbearer to the king.

Background Before The Fall

The Babylonian empire defeated Judah in the late 7th century BC (close to 601 BC). The majority of the Jewish people were eventually exiled to Babylon where they were kept in captivity for a number of decades. Shortly thereafter, Babylon itself was conquered by Medeo-Persia; and the Persian king, Cyrus, subsequently allowed the Jews to return to Judah. Interestingly this was a fulfilment of a prophecy by Isaiah, made before the Babylonian exile, documented in Isaiah 45. Both Jeremiah (Chapter 25: 8-12) and Isaiah prophesied the coming Babylonian exile and captivity.

Isaiah 45 ¹ “Cyrus is my anointed king. I take hold of his right hand. I give him the power to bring nations under his control. I help him strip kings of their power to go to war against him.”

...

⁴ “Cyrus, I am sending for you by name. I am doing it for the good of the family of Jacob. They are my servant. I am doing it for Israel. They are my chosen people. You do not know anything about me. But I am giving you a title of honour.”

Before The Fall

Israel’s Last Good King

Choice. A simple enough word but we forget just how much hangs in the balance where our choices are concerned.

One might argue that we would make better choices given hindsight, but Nehemiah’s testimony puts forth the argument that better choices are made when we make choices in light of God’s law.

Before the fall of Jerusalem, the scriptures draw a parallel between two men; two kings, who made two notably contrasting choices when presented with God’s word.

Background Before The Fall

Israel’s Last Good King

Josiah is eight years old when he becomes king and his reign lasts only 31 years (2 Kings 22:1) before he is killed in battle against the King of Egypt (2 Kings 23:29). The book of Kings describes him in the following light:

2 Kings 22:2 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

He is an estimated 26 years old when ‘The Book Of The Law’ is found in the temple & brought to him.

2 Kings 22:11-13

11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes.

...

13 “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”

Background Before The Fall

Israel’s Last Good King

The prophet, Hilkiah, proceeds to take the King’s request to the prophetess, Huldah.

2 Kings 22:15-20

15 She said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’

...

19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. 20 Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”

Background Before The Fall

Israel’s Last Good King

Josiah was succeeded by his son, Jehoiakim. His reign lasted only 11 years. In contrast to his father, it was said of Jehoiakim:

2 Kings 23:37

7 And he did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his predecessors had done.

The book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36) documents,, yet again, God’s warning to the nation of Israel about their impending destruction; but not without extending an opportunity to be shown mercy.

Jeremiah 36: 1-31

In the fourth year of Jehoiakim, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah till now. 3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, they will each turn from their wicked ways; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.”

...

Background Before The Fall

Israel’s Last Good King

22 It was the ninth month and the king was sitting in the winter apartment, with a fire burning in the fire pot in front of him.23 Whenever three or four columns of the scroll had been read, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the fire pot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire. 24 The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes.

...

30 Therefore this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night. 31 I will punish him and his children and his attendants for their wickedness; I will bring on them and those living in Jerusalem and the people of Judah every disaster I pronounced against them, because they have not listened.’”

The scripture documents his fate:

2 Chronicles 36:6

6 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked him and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon.

Background Before The Fall

Israel’s Last Good King

It’s easy enough to read about Jehoiakim in the text

and feel the conclusion of his life’s story was an inevitable and justifiably fitting one. Despite this, God’s constant desire to offer up more chances before setting in motion His final say, seems to speak as evidence of His unconditional love for His creation and in turn His reluctance to see it destroyed once and for all.

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

As much as Jehoaikim’s story lends itself as being a warning against disregarding what God says, one would hope it might encourage believers to feel the loss of the unsaved as deeply as God does.

Why was Jerusalem destroyed? Before The Fall

The Significance Of The Sabbath

In a word, “disobedience”. The duration of the Babylonian captivity was precisely 70 years. That has far more significance when it is noted that the Israelites had failed to observe 70Sabbath years. In other words, the Israelites were kept in captivity in Babylon for 70 years, in order to “atone” for the 70 Sabbath years they had failed to observe.

While most of us are familiar with the “Sabbath day”, the commandment that the 7th day of the week is a day of rest; there was also a commandment that every 7th year be a “year of rest”. The land, itself, was supposed to be given rest in that no crops may be planted or harvested during a Sabbath year.

Leviticus 25:2-5 (ESV):

3 For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5 You shall not reap what grows of itself in your harvest, or gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land.

Why was Jerusalem destroyed?

Before The Fall

The Significance Of The Sabbath

The principal of the sabbatical year, at least in the eyes of the Levitical legislator, was not its economic usefulness in invigorating the soil, or any other of the many material advantages which have been attributed to it, but its spiritual significance as a general Sabbath devoted to God. By sacrificing one day's labour and a year's produce, one might express their gratitude to the mercy of God who blesses their work, and who sustains them during the temporary suspension of their efforts.

1 Samuel 15:22

But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Why was Jerusalem destroyed?

Before The Fall

Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice

As I see it, when left in the hands of human beings sacrifice has a way of being twisted into a plot to ‘bribe’ God. We use it as means to become independent from Him, thinking if we pay our dues He might just look the other way.

Sometimes we just assume we know better. We open ourselves up to ruin by ignoring clear instruction when evil presents itself as opportunity. In other instances... we’ve seared our consciences to the point where we simply do not care.

Why its important for us to obey:

we’re instructed to

it is an act of love, given that its a choice

John 14:15

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

God rewards obedience Luke 11:28 But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.

Why was Jerusalem destroyed?

Before The Fall

Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice

Why its important for us to obey:

disobedience leads to death Jeremiah 12:17 "But if they will not listen, then I will uproot that nation, uproot and destroy it," declares the LORD

Why was Jerusalem destroyed?

Before The Fall

Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice

Most modern ‘New Testament’ believers living under Gods grace today don’t appear to find it conceivable that He is multi-faceted. God is love right?

1 John 4:8

8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love

... He is also just and DEMANDS obedience.

Isaiah 42: 24-25

Who gave Jacob up for spoil, and Israel to plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned, And in whose ways they were not willing to walk, And whose law they did not obey? So He poured out on him the heat of His anger And the fierceness of battle.

What Breaks Your Heart?

Our response to hardship

Nehemiah 1-4 1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: in the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” 4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

Nehemiah’s response:

He wept

He fasted and prayed

We see in verses 1-4, Nehemiah’s burden for his home and for his people but also how he sets out dealing with it. It is important to note that he does not hide his sorrow, he acknowledges that circumstances were bad, he does not, however, allow that sorrow to consume him entirely.

What Breaks Your Heart?

How we feel about and our response to hardship

What is a Godly response?

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Other Jews in Babylon had probably heard about the conditions in Jerusalem, and like Nehemiah had mourned their home. Their hearts broke... but they chose to allow things to remain as they were, overwhelmed by the sad circumstances. How many times have our hearts broken or been burdened by something? How many of us have acted on that burden; done something about it? Sorrow, if left at just that, is meaningless and altogether unfruitful. If the passage had ended with “I sat down and wept”, we would be reading about another man who helped restore Jerusalem. The man God chose to use not only felt the need... he set out to tend to it. God used Nehemiah’s burden as the foundation for Jerusalem’s reformation, but Nehemiah had to be willing to take action.

What Breaks Your Heart?

How we feel about and our response to hardship

What is a Godly response?

We can draw somewhat of a parallel between trying to cling to what is good in our modern society and the society Nehemiah found himself in.

Evil in our day to day lives:

Corruption in government and other places of authority

Violent crime and safety

Financial security (SA get JUNK status)

Racial tension and religious discrimination

Our surrounding walls may not be physically burnt down but we are living in a society devastated by a spiritual fallout. Maybe the damage is closer to home and, like the exiles, you have come back to find your own spiritual walls and identity in ruin?

Romans 12:9

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”

What Breaks Your Heart?

How we feel about and our response to hardship

What is a Godly response?

Don’t let the immensity of the needs paralyze you so that you don’t do anything. Sometimes you hear about the overwhelming needs around the world and run for cover because there is no way to respond to them all. Out of emotional survival, we throw up a barricade around our hearts that blocks all of the needs from moving us.

Don’t commit yourself impetuously to something just because the need is there. The needs are simply endless. You don’t have to respond to all of the world’s needs. Nobody could. Rather, we are instructed to wait on God in prayer until He burdens our hearts with a particular need.

Matthew 9:36-38

“Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. “

What Breaks Your Heart?

How we feel about and our response to hardship

Nehemiah’s Prayer

Confession of sin... (verse 5-7)

5 Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.” 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

Promise of restoration... (verse 8-9)

8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’

Faith in God’s love for His people... (verse 10-11)

10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favour in the presence of this man.”

What Breaks Your Heart?

How we feel about and our response to hardship

Nehemiah’s Prayer

The prayer of Nehemiah demonstrates how vastly important it is for believers to have a knowledge of scripture. Knowledge of scripture in turn means knowledge of God. Who He is and who we are in the light of He is.

Joshua 1:8

"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

What Breaks Your Heart?

How we feel about and our response to hardship

Nehemiah’s Prayer

We all fall short’ and we’re ‘only human’ after all, but Nehemiah begins with an acknowledgment of guilt and taking ownership of the roll that he and his fellow Jews played in their undoing. There were, no doubt, worse men who he could have easily pointed a finger at, but he understood what most believers fail to grasp... God does not judge on a gradient. Sin is sin and we are ALL held accountable.

How often we would rather play the part of martyr when being punished for bad choices or believe our sufferings have another source.

In contrast {and here is were his knowledge of scripture becomes more of a blessing to him} he is reminded of God’s promise of restoration . Rather than the story ending with a man who hung his head in pitiable shame, he becomes a man who took heart in God’s promise. Understanding that if God followed through with his threat of punishment, He would in turn follow through with his promise of salvation.

Just a Cupbearer

Nehemiah, the cup-bearer

Reading from Wikipedia:

A cup-bearer was an officer of high ranking in the royal courts, whose duty it was to serve the drinks at the royal table.

On account of constant fear of plots and intrigues, a person must have been regarded as thoroughly trustworthy to hold the position.

He must guard against poison in the king's cup and was sometimes required to swallow some of the wine before serving it.

His confidential relations with the king often gave him a position of great influence. The position of cup-bearer was greatly valued and given only to a select few throughout history.

Qualifiers for the job were held in high esteem valued for their beauty and even more for their modesty, industriousness and courage.

Just a Cupbearer

Nehemiah, the cup-bearer

The Lord Giveth and The Lord Taketh Away

The cupbearer was a high position in the court. He would have been a handsome man, well-trained in court etiquette. He would have had to be a friendly companion, willing to lend an ear and even to give advice to the king.

Since he enjoyed closest access to the king, he was a highly trusted man. Early documents also reveal that the cupbearer could be the keeper of the royal signet, and therefore be in charge of administration of the accounts, and even serve as second to the king.

Nehemiah lived in the palace at Susa with the king. Excavations have shown that it was built with cedar, gold, silver, and ivory. The walls were decorated with artistically coloured glazed bricks and relief designs of winged bulls.

Nehemiah would have eaten the best food, worn the best clothes, and lived in very comfortable quarters.

Just a Cupbearer

Nehemiah, the cup-bearer

The Lord Giveth and The Lord Taketh Away

We do not know why he had not returned with the remnant with Ezra 13 years before. Perhaps, like Daniel and his friends, he had been conscripted into the king’s service as a young man and was not free to leave. But when he hears about the distress of God’s people and the dishonour to God’s name, he cannot be happy.

Surrounded by luxury and highly esteemed, he was still willing to give it all up, make the difficult journey to Jerusalem, and set about the stressful job of mobilizing the people to rebuild the walls of the city so that God’s name would be honoured among His people.

Matthew 16:24-26

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? What shall a man give in return for his soul?

Just a Cupbearer

Nehemiah, the cup-bearer

Conclusion

I want to challenge all of us, don’t throw away your life to fulfil dreams of financial security, worldly esteem and comfort. Spend your life for the only purpose that matters... to see the nations glorify God for His great mercy in Christ. Ask God to give you a burden for His people, a vision for His purpose, and a commitment to His purpose. Discerning between what is finite and what is eternal.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

For more ministry downloads by Taryn Paynter visit:

https://agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?speaker=Taryn%20Paynter">https://agfbrakpan.com/ ministry-archives.aspx?speaker=Taryn%20Paynter

NOTE 1: Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of http://sweetpublishing.com/ ">http://sweetpublishing.com

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http://www.lockman.org/ ">http://www.lockman.org)




IP:Country:City:Region:

> TRENDING

Johanna Pillinger
181 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
178 download(s)
Ken Paynter
147 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
117 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
97 download(s)
Ken Paynter
80 download(s)
Ken Paynter
72 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
64 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
61 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
61 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
60 download(s)
Ken Paynter
58 download(s)
Ken Paynter
57 download(s)
Ken Paynter
56 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
51 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
51 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
49 download(s)
Ken Paynter
49 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
48 download(s)
Ken Paynter
48 download(s)


> MOST POPULAR

Gavin Paynter
31458 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
27891 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
17841 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
15674 download(s)
Ken Paynter
11238 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
10640 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
10574 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
9342 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
9212 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
9107 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
9059 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
8692 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
8456 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
8454 download(s)
Ken Paynter
8401 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
8388 download(s)
Ken Paynter
8374 download(s)
Ken Paynter
8333 download(s)
Ken Paynter
7913 download(s)
Gavin Paynter
7811 download(s)


> SPEAKERS



> LANGUAGES
> TOPIC