Nehemiah is best known for his efforts in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem following the exile and subsequent return of the Jews. Last week we learned how Nehemiah committed himself to months of prayerful discernment and heartfelt petition before approaching King Artaxerxes to commission him to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city walls and gates. Jerusalem’s wall, while crucial in the defense and reputation of God’s city, is really a metaphor for what was required of God’s people moving forward. Nehemiah’s commitment was not merely to physical reconstruction of a wall, but to practices and boundaries which will lead the next generation’s faith in the LORD. The community of faith, the Jewish remnant, would find its identity in the boundaries of God’s law; which was to be observed, kept and treasured. Rebuilding of such scale demands honest and humble evaluation of what really IS in order to properly rebuild what is TO BE. As Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem he must honestly address the reality of the situation, determine who his true allies are, and then rigorously resist those who would undermine God’s will from within.
Nehemiah 2 & 3
July 18, 2021 • Pastor Chris Pappenfus • Nehemiah 2
August 8, 2021 • Pastor Chris Pappenfus • Nehemiah 8—10
In Nehemiah Chapters 8-10, we are given a glimpse into the spiritual rebuilding that Governor Nehemiah desired for his fellow Jews. As mentioned before, the rebuilding and the repairing of Jerusalem’s walls and gates is a metaphor for the spiritual rebuilding of the Jews as God’s chosen people; a light to the rest of the human race illuminating the One True God. Nehemiah believed that the true strength of the Jewish people was not realized in the fortifications of the Holy City, but in the faithfulness of their God as the people responded in faithful obedience. So, as the completion of the building project draws to a close, the priest, Ezra, takes to the stage and God’s word (given through Moses) is read for the people. They, just like us, must confront their own sin, embrace the gift of God’s grace and mercy, experience the joy of redemption, and finally covenant with God to live in faithful obedience.
Restoration begins with Repentance
August 1, 2021 • Pastor Chris Pappenfus • Nehemiah 5
Nehemiah was called by God and sent by the King of Persia to rebuild and repair the walls and gates of Jerusalem during the post-exile period from 444 to 432 BCE. The wall, though important, is in many ways a metaphor for the internal boundaries God's people needed to incorporate in order for future generations to live as God’s chosen among all the other nations of the world. The foundations of the Jewish faith being laid during this period would become the religious climate in which Jesus would minister 400 years later. Last week we learned how Nehemiah inspired the Jews to take action and face opposition in carrying out their task. Their enemies were strong and well organized, but easily identified. However, the biggest threat to Nehemiah and the remnant community was actually hiding in plain sight and would prove to be one of Nehemiah’s greatest challenges as a leader. This Sunday we will look at Nehemiah chapter 5 and explore how power and privilege intersect with responsibility and repentance, and how Nehemiah provides today’s church with a compelling call to action.