Thursday, January 7, 2010
Book Review: Nehemiah
The book of Nehemiah starts out with Hanani, Nehemiah's brother, telling him that Jerusalem has been burned and its walls broken down and gates burned. The exiles are in great danger at this point. Nehemiah, the cup bearer to King Artaxerxes, becomes very sad. King Artaxerxes notices and asks him why he is sad. He tells him why and asks permission to go back to his own country and rebuild the wall and restore proper worship. The king agrees to let him go as long as he is back at the time he agreed to return. Nehemiah arrives back in Jerusalem and takes a survey look around the entire town without anyone knowing what he is doing. He formulates a plan and sets it into action. The wall is rebuilt, the gates are set in place, and guards are set up all around the builders as they work because they are experiencing persecution. The rebuilding of Jerusalem is finished in 52 days!!! Certain people are appointed as singers, gatekeepers, Levites, and such. Nehemiah provides for those who are doing the work of re-building. Offerings are lifted up in praise to the Lord for His faithfulness in allowing the wall to be rebuilt and worship to be properly restored. Prayer, fasting, confessions, and great rejoicing all took place. Nehemiah then returns to King Artaxerxes. When he comes back to check on the people in Jerusalem he finds out how greatly they fell into sin and becomes irate with them. He talks to the people and makes prayers of confession to the Lord for Him to see his faithfulness. The book then ends. However, we do not lose hope because we know that the theme of Nehemiah is that God works sovereignly through responsible human agents to accomplish His redemptive purpose.