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Nehemiah Conclusion

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I have been blessed by this study that we have gone through in the book of trust you have as well and today I want to try an as concisely as possible kind of zoom out from the text as to provide an overview of what we have worked through these last four months.
We all know now (at least I hope we do) that the book of Nehemiah was named after its central figure.
We dont particularly know much about his background apart from what we see in the book itself.
His family seems to have been part of the jewish diaspora, do any of you know what diaspora means?
The Lexham Bible Dictionary says that:

DIASPORA (διασπορά, diaspora). The dispersion of Jewish people or communities outside the land of Israel. A theme especially in Second Temple Judaism (fifth century BC—AD 70) and the New Testament.

Who was the Author of Nehemiah?
Either Ezra or Nehemiah, or both. We do not know which of the two were the primary or the secondary when it comes to its authorship.
When did the book of Nehemiah take place?
It was written in roughly 430-400 BC, if you will remember that when we refer to BC time tables we count down. BC means what? BC means Before Christ.
The major theme of Ezra and Nehemiah is that God works sovereignly through responsible human agents to accomplish His redemptive purposes.
The author of Nehemiah, whether it be Ezra or Nehemiah, develops this theme in Nehemiah with special attention to the rebuilding and dedication of the defensive walls of Jerusalem.
It also deals with the theme that is the reconstitution of the whole people who were known as “Israel” in their covenant relationship with God.
What is a covenant?
Once again, I refer to the lexham Bible Dictionary for this definition:

COVENANT (בְּרִית, berith; διαθήκη, diathēkē). A sacred kinship bond between two parties, ratified by swearing an oath. Covenant making was a widespread custom throughout the ancient Near East and Graeco-Roman culture, serving as a means to forge sociopolitical bonds between individuals or groups. God’s covenants are prominent in every period of salvation history. Divine covenants reveal the saving plan of God for establishing communion with Israel and the nations, ultimately fulfilled by the death and resurrection of Christ.

An inadequate rendering of “covenant” as “testament” may obscure the theological meaning of the division of salvation history—and the biblical canon—into the old and new covenants. Covenant language is more prominent in the Old Testament, which reflects its futuristic character as “a story in search of an ending.” The language of divine kinship (e.g., “father,” “son”) emerges in the New Testament, because Christ’s fulfillment of the Old Covenant forges familial bonds of divine communion with all humanity.

The activities of Ezra and Nehemiah were both authorized by the Persian King.
Unlike Ezra, whose focus was on rebuilding the community spiritually by commending adherance to the written law of God, Nehemiah’s concerns were of a more practical and administrative nature.
Rebuilding the city walls, rectifying anomalies and injustices in the life of the community, and securing sufficient population for Jerusalem to make the city viable.
These steps enabled the community to survive and so fulfill its function in God’s purpose of being the people through whom the Messiah would come.
However, all Nehemiah’s initial reforms were thrown into question, and in large measure they had to be repeated.
Neither Ezra nor Nehemiah themselves were able to bring about the lasting changes needed in the hearts of God’s people — that would await the coming of the Messiah.
The Theology of Nehemiah
Nehemiah lived with an awareness of the transcendence of the God of heaven.
He recognized that He is creator and also the God of covenant faithfulness, “great and awesome” (1:5).
The extent to which these attributes were generally acknowledged may be seen in the prayer that happened in chapter 9:6

6  “You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. 7 You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.

Both leader and people had a faith that was grounded in acceptance of the revelation of Moses’ books of the law.
Both leader and people had a fiath that was grounded in acceptance of the revelation of the Pentateuch.
Nehemiah is personally an outstanding example of a life in which prayer is the platform for effective action.
He fasted and prayed for days before making his concerns known to the Persian King, but based on that habit of extended prayer he was equally ready to engage in momentary prayer at critical junctures in his mission.
The book of Nehemiah also brings out the importance of formal renewal of covenant commitment as a means of strengthening the community.
It is not the people who dictate the terms of the covenant.
Rather, in gratitude they re-dedicated themselves to the Lord and pledge to obey His commands.
In light of this, there grew in the community of Judah in Nehemiah’s day a genuine desire to erase all false worship from this community.
In encouraging and leading the people in the process of rededicating themselves and their nation to God, Nehemiah illustrates the importance of theology for those in leadership.
How important is theology to you?
It is an essential part of our faith and to know our faith is to wrap our minds and our hearts around its one and true anchor.
God’s Holy Word is the foundation by which our theology is to to be derived from.
Not a self help book that points us to ourselves or our ideals, but rather one that points us to the rock who is our stay.
The Word, is our sanctifying means in
Nehemiah In The Larger Story of the Bible
The events recorded in Nehemiah follow closely those found in Ezra— indeed Ezra himself reappears in chapter 8.
Though the temple had been rebuilt earlier, Jerusalem remained in ruins, which was out of accord with God’s covenant commitment.
But it was not just a matter of restoring city walls; that was only part of the restoration of the covenant people through whom God would fulfill His purposes.
There also had to be a renewal of their worship, repopulation of Jerusalem, and repeated reforms when their conduct deteriorated.
Nehemiah, though of a different character from Ezra, was similarly raised up by God to provide faithful leadership for the community in order to guide and motivate the efforts needed to provide for its continuance.
Nehemiah is portrayed as a decisive and effective leader.
Chapters 8-10 show the people responding in covenant renewal, confessing their past failure, and acknowledging their continuing dependence on God so that they may realize the promises He had made to them.
However, the final note of Nehemiah is one of completeness.
Whatever had been achieved, more needed to be done.
The narrative of the past is recounted to stimulate continuing faithfulness.
Christ in Nehemiah
It is important for us to consider how Nehemiah ends on a note of anticipation.
As the book ends, the temple, the priesthood, and the sacrifices are all restored, awaiting the High Priest who is to come and offer the final, effectual atonement for sin.
This ending inspires the reader to look for the Messiah who is perfectly fulfills God’s plan for Israel.
I have been teaching this class for about 15 months and through it I have had the pleasure to get to know each of you in a way that I would not have otherwise.
During this time we have studied together a few of the Psalms, we have studied the entire book of Jonah, we have studied all of the prayers of the Apostle Paul, and we have studied the entire book of Nehemiah.
Our Adult sunday school classes are about to begin a study through Paul Washer’s “Knowing the Living God” Workbook.
The Elders and I have done a great deal of prayer and trying to evaluate what we think is best for this class. Though you guys might disagree I want you to understand that change is not always a bad thing and there are changes that occur that provide a long term benefit.
So, for the time being I am going to be taking a step back from teaching every week and I want you guys to know that we are not abandoning you guys and we will continue to hang out when we can and have fellowships as well. But as far as Sunday School goes we will no longer meet here.
So, for the time being I am going to be taking a step back from teaching every week and I want you guys to know that we are not abandoning you guys and we will continue to hang out when we can and have fellowships as well. But as far as Sunday School goes we will no longer meet here.
Our class will merge with Pastor David’s class.
I know this may come as frustrating to you guys for two reasons.
First, for the fact that I am stepping down as a weekly teacher. I will still be willing and ready to help and aid with you guys as far as discipleship goes.
Secondly, for the fact that we are merging with Pastor David’s class. I know that there is disdain for his teaching within this class. This is not a healthy response. It is easy for us to say that he uses big words that we dont know. We should learn them if we dont know them. Arent we all on a path of seeking to learn and grow. Learning these words will teach us to better communicate our own faith.
Pastor David is a blessing to our church. He can and will be a blessing to you guys. He faithfully attends God’s Word daily. He faithfully exegetes it.
One of the things to me that will be a huge help in our integration with his class is we need to provide an environment that encourages each other to get out of our comfort zones and mingle with others who are our fellow believers. If Pastor David’s class doesnt suit you in the long run then I would encourage you to try Kevins or Rons.
Not only do we need to be appreciative of Pastor David’s work and his diligence in being a student of the word, but we also need to be attentive to what he has to say.
I want to open up for discussion and lets talk about the situation. I want to be as transparent as is possible. I seek to shoot you straight and be forthright and honest in everything.
This is not a jab at you guys. Its
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