November 28, 2021

Responding to Ruins

Passage: Nehemiah 1:1-2:11
Service Type:


  • Example of Ursula and Norman
  • Example of Ben & Betty
    • How should these respond
    • What does the book of Nehemiah say to them?
    • How would we respond to them?
  • Welcome to the world of Nehemiah
    • There is a gap between his world and ours but the characters above will bridge this gap
    • They need to put their trust in Jesus Christ
  • Overview:
    • Pressures
    • Priorities
    • Prayers


  • Location - winter residence of the Emperor
  • Job - the cupbearer (v11)
    • A trusted advisor and maybe a friend
    • Not a religious professional - a civil servant to a pagan king
    • Quote from Mark Green
  • Distance - he is about 1000 miles from Jerusalem - the centre of worship
    • The people were banished
    • Some had returned but they were in great distress and reproach (v3)
      • It's walls were broken down and its gate burned with fire (v3)
      • Not a trivial matter - it was more about the people's identification with God
        (that goes back to the garden of Eden, before their banishment and the call through Moses to the nation of Israel)
    • Under King Cyrus a reversal had begun
      • But the walls and gate were still in ruins
      • Nehemiah was now in a pressure point - will he centre his life for God's honour and purposes


  • He was a man of action - actions express priorities
    • He sat down, wept and mourned for many days (v4)
    • He fasted and prayed (v4)
  • A deep seated reaction from Nehemiah
    • Example of John Simpson
    • God cares profoundly for the vulnerable
  • His response spoke volumes about his priorities
    • Quote from book - would you enter that room?
    • What loves have we prioritised?


  • His first response was to pray
    • He prayed under pressure
    • He depended on God under pressure
    • When was the last time you prayed like Nehemiah?
  • He begins with God (v5)
    • We should not start our prayers with ourselves
    • Quote from A W Tozer
  • Repetition:
    • Servant - although a servant of the most powerful man in the world (King Artaxerxes) - he is really a servant of the Most High God
      • Example of Paul - a bondservant to Christ
    • Sin (v6) - a confessional prayer
      • God is holy
      • Nehemiah recognises that we are sinners
    • Commandments - this connects to service
      • God requires obedience
    • Remember (v8) - a call to God to bless
  • Specifics:
    • This man - King Artaxerxes

Closing Remarks

  • What shapes our world is our dependence on God
  • Examples of how we might respond to Ben & Betty and Ursula & Norman
  • v11 - pointed to the greater Nehemiah (to the Lord Jesus Christ)
  • Follow Him