The wayyyyyy too brief overview of Nehemiah
A lot of times, the Bible is difficult to read for younger people because of the ancient language (ye, thou) and third-person talk. There have been useful revisions, like the NIV, to help readers out but even then the context and tones can be crazy confusing.
Fortunately, this next book of the Bible reads a lot easier, like a descriptive diary journal.
Nehemiah does a great job with his narrative using a tad bit more relatable language (he uses “I” and “me”). Because he uses first-person dialogue, he tends to brag a bit about his good deeds (deeds he can clearly back up with his amazing faith!)
But overall, it’s a more relaxing chapter to read with the cornerstone of Jerusalem at its foundation. Here’s a brief overview:
A Righteous Man
Very early on with Nehemiah’s spotlight, we see that he is a holy man who relies on prayer and the Lord to keep him strong. No matter the sting of the storm ahead of him, he trusts God to help him carry out his destiny in rebuilding the shattered walls of Jerusalem. With the help of many priests, rulers, and other Israelites, Nehemiah is able to organize the biggest building party to restore his ancestor’s homeland.
Power of Prayer
Just like in the book of Ezra, many outsiders try to intimidate Nehemiah and his men to quit building the wall. They spend their days sitting around the city gossiping and taunting the Israelites constantly.
Some haters even go as far as developing a scheme of lies that say Nehemiah is planning a revolt to become the new king.
Nonetheless, our main hero dusts off all of the negativity and continues praying for strength and protection until the wall is complete. And sure enough, he finishes what he set out to do.
With the wall finished and the city slowly resurrecting, Nehemiah is crowned governor.
He guides the people with laws to follow that will please God. All of the Israelites who return to Jerusalem from their exile confess their sins throughout history (from Exodus with Moses to now) and vow to live for God. And yes, the people slip here and there (like we all do) but Nehemiah is always around with swift justice to represent the Lord the way He deserves to be.
This concludes Nehemiah’s short chapter! You can also check out Overview Bible, which has plenty of discussion on books of the Bible.
Now let’s take a look at how this book of the Old Testament relates to our everyday lives in the 21st century!
Big Takeaway #1- Face fear head-on with God.
Nehemiah 4:14- “After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
This verse occurs a little before the wall is finished. Progress to full completion is so close the Israelites can taste it. But they aren’t the only ones who can taste the glorious moment to come.
Foreign enemies begin raining their hate on Jerusalem so forcefully that they swear to kill anyone working on the wall. Yet, Nehemiah being the man of prayer that he is, tells the people not to worry.
He equips the builders with weapons and trusts that if anyone even dares to set foot on his homeland, God will deal with them.
The big takeaway for us young adults from Nehemiah 4:14
There will always be something that will try to loom over us through intimidation. It’s a lot like how when we were all little kids, we faced silly fears of the boogeyman hiding in the closet or monsters lurking in the dark.
Nowadays, those fears still lurk in the shadows, but only now they’re more real (student loans, pregnancies, car wrecks, haters). But, just as Nehemiah proved, prayer can keep us strong and safe enough to tackle our monsters.
Our prayers have the power to transform into spiritual flashlights to light up the darkness and show us where to go. And we can count on God to keep us safe underneath a comfy blanket and pillows away from our enemies.
Big Takeaway #2 – Doing good and what is right with the Lord will always prevail.
Nehemiah 6:16 – “When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nation’s were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”
After days on end of blood, tears, and sweat being shed in Jerusalem, Nehemiah and his band of builders finally finish the great wall. Word of this awesome success spreads like wildfire to surrounding nations.
And all the enemies of Israel groan with disgust (as if they were just given a sudden pop quiz that would determine their final grade.) The only true God had proven Himself once again. Everyone knew that anyone who went against Him and His people would be in deep trouble.
The big takeaway for us young adults from Nehemiah 6:16
Victory is in the grasping reach for those living for God!
This particular verse just goes to show that no matter the opposition or struggles we are facing, if we know we are working in God’s will, we will always prevail.
We may not triumph in success and riches instantly today or tomorrow, but if we continue doing His good works there will always be light at the end of the tunnel shining towards treasures of blessings.
Up Next- Esther
Let’s jump further into the inspiring history of the Israelites and God. Follow along with the next book, Esther, here!