Background of Nehemiah
- Nehemiah came as a prophet when the people of Judah and Israel had been conquered by Babylonians.
- The exiles lived a stressful life despite encouragement by Prophet Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
- Their leaders did the local administrative war.
- Family unit had been disrupted during the conquest.
- They worked for their masters in areas of irrigation, construction, fishing and shepherding.
- The rich Jews who returned to Judah oppressed the poor.
- Nehemiah ruled as a governor of Judah appointed by the Persians.
- The religious life of the exiles was disrupted after destruction of the temple and city.
- They doubted Yahweh as their God at the time of defeat.
- They retained most of their religious practices i.e. circumcision, Sabbath observance and use of psalms to worship.
- After the rebuilding of the temple, the true worship of Yahweh was restored. Ezra led the reformation and ensured that idol worship was not practiced in Yahweh’s house.
Occasions when Nehemiah prayed
- When he learnt of the suffering in Judah and the ruined state of city – he confessed for the sins of the people.
- Before requesting king Artaxerxes to be permitted to return to Judah. He prayed to God grant him favour before the king.
- When the Samaritans criticized the rebuilding of the wall he prayed for the Yahweh’s protection and revenge against the enemies.
- During the exploitation of the poor by the rich he prayed God to change their hearts.
- When he was frightened by shemiah to hide in the temple following the plot to kill him to punish his enemies.
- During the cleansing of the temple following it defilements by Tobias he prayed God to destroy the temple which he had rebuilt.
- After chasing away sanballats son-in-law who married a foreigner yet he was the priest by background – he prayed for God’s punishment over him.
- Before assigning duties to the priests from the Levites following their consecration – he prayed that God may remember him with favour.
- After warning the Jews who had violated the Sabbath law by carrying out trade – he was given the strength to evict them from Jerusalem’s gate.
- When he was frightened by shemiah to hide in the temple following plot to kill him – he prayed God to punish his enemies
Importance of prayer in Christian life
- Their sins are forgiven through prayer.
- Virtues of patience and persistence are acquired through prayer.
- Through prayers the need of the need of Christian are met.
- It enables Christians to face temptations with courage.
- Prayers strengthen are relationship with God.
- A prayer enables one to glorify God because of his greatness.
- It enables one to seek God’s will and receive his revelation.
- Christians uses prayers to intercede for the need of the others.
- Prayers promote unity for the believers as they fellowship together.
Good leadership qualities derived from Nehemiah
- He was patriotic and went to rebuild Judah when the wall had been demolished.
- Convinced the king to allow him to go and build the wall.
- He planned how to go back to Judah putting tough security measures.
- He mobilized the workers and inspired them to work hard
- He was able to complete rebuilding the wall within 52 days
- He initiated the idea of rebuilding the wall.
- He improved the lives of the poor.
- He had courage and withstood threat of his life and attempt to stop work of construction of Jerusalem by the enemies.
- He prayed to God for guidance in all situations.
- He prayed now and then during challenges of his life.
Problems faced by Nehemiah
- Lack of cooperation from the noble people.
- He was charged with political rebellion and treason.
- Sanballat plotted to kill him.
- The problem of the rich oppressing the poor.
- Tobias defiled the temple by marrying foreigners.
- Violation of the Sabbath day by the rich merchant.
- Fear among the Jews due to constant threats and harassment from the foreign. Nehemiah encouraged them through prayers and organized people to defend the city.
- Problems of intermarriage between the Jews and the foreigners.
Lessons Christians learn from Nehemiah’s experiences and leadership
- Christians should trust in God in all their undertakings if they have to succeed.
- They should work towards improving the welfare of their people
- Christians should obey lawful authority.
- Christians should inspire to work for God.
- Christians should lead a prayerful life.
- Christians should be aware of the forces that are against their efforts to serve God and the community.
- Christians should condemn social injustices and evils in the society.
- Christians should be faithful to God.
- Christians should be diplomatic and reformist to the society.
- Christians should demonstrate wisdom in solving issues that affect the society.
Revision questions on Nehemiah
- Give occasions when Nehemiah prayed (8mks)
- Give 8 leadership qualities derived from Nehemiah (8mks)
- Discuss the problems that face church leaders today (9mks)
- Describe religious background of Nehemiah (6mks)