Posted by / Sunday, 17 July 2016 / No comments

Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem



REBUILDING THE WALLS OF JERUSALEM
In the twentieth year of their (the Israelite's) exile in Babylon, while Nehemiah, the son of Hacaliah was in the capital, Susa, some visitors came from among the remnant left in Judah to visit the exiles. They were led by Hanani.

Nehemiah asked them how the rest of the people were doing back in Judah. They told him that the remnants that were not carried away to exile were in great trouble and shame. They said the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and the gates destroyed by fire.

When Nehemiah heard this news, he broke down and wept. He mourned for many days. He prayed to God and confessed the sins of Israel to God. He prayed that God might give him favour before the king Artaxerxes, the king of Babylon at the time.

One day, while Nehemiah was serving the king, the king noted that he was not happy. Nehemiah confessed to the king that the house of Judah was in ruins and there was nobody to take care of it. He requested the king to give him permission to go down to Judah and put the walls and the gate in order and the king agreed.

Nehemiah requested the king to give him a letter to show to the governors on the way so they may allow him to pass through to Judah. He also asked for a letter to show to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest so that he might allow him to fell trees that would be used to build the gates of the fortress of the temple, the walls of the city and his personal house. This was granted. The king also asked officers of the army and horsemen to accompany Nehemiah on his journey to Judah.

When he entered the land of Judah, he gave the king’s letter to the governors, When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite heard this, they were not pleased that someone had come to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.

Three days after Nehemiah got to Jerusalem he arose one night and rode a horse through the land to inspect the state of the destruction of the land. He inspected the broken walls and the gates that were broken down.
He called the people together the next day and told them about the need to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem so as to stop the disgrace that they were facing as a people. He encouraged them that the hand of God was with them. He also told them that the king Artaxerxe was in support of the rebuilding of the walls. The people agreed and the work of the rebuilding started in earnest.

When Sanballat, the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem the Arab heard it, they made fun of them. They asked, for example, that what is it that they were doing? Were they rebelling against the king? Nehemiah told them that God was with them and would make them prosper.

When Sanballat heard that they were rebuilding the walls, he became very angry and ridiculed the Jews. He asked, for example, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore things? Will they finish in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish? Etc. Tobiah, the Ammonite, said if a fox should hit the walls, it would break down. 

Nehemiah led the people to continue to build the wall till all the walls were joined together to half the height. When Samballat, Tobiah, the Arabs and the Ashdodites saw that they had gotten to half the height of the wall, they became hungry even the more.  They plotted to come and fight the Jews and cause confusion. The Jews prayed to God and continued to protect their work. They even planned to come into their midst and kill them so that the work would come to an end but the information was leaked to Nehemiah and his people. Nehemiah encouraged them not to be afraid of the enemy.  

All kinds of strategies were adopted to prevent Samballat and his cohorts from destroying the work that Nehemiah and his people were doing. They continued to labour on the project till the walls were completed.

WAYS IN WHICH ONE CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NATION
1. By offering one’s knowledge freely
2. by offering one’s labour freely
3. By a total commitment to one’s activities
4. By working in collaboration with one’s neighbours
5. By being law abiding
6. By taking care of public property

WHAT ARE THE LESSONS IN THE STORY FOR LEADERS OF TODAY
1. A leader must do everything to keep work from stopping
2. A leader must be a source of encouragement to his/her subordinates
3. In the midst of difficulties, a leader must remain steadfast and pray to God for support
4. A leader must be bold and courageous in the decisions he takes
5. To dedicate oneself to hard work brings rewards

WAYS IN WHICH ONE CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NATION
1. By offering one’s knowledge freely
2. By offering one’s labour freely
3. By a total commitment to one’s activities
4. By working in collaboration with one’s neighbours
5. By being law abiding
6. By taking care of public property

SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. a. Trace the events that led Nehemiah to embark on the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.
    b. What three lessons can one learn from Nehemiah’s role in the rebuilding of the city walls?
            Lessons from the role of Nehemiah
i.                    Nehemiah showed a spirit of love for his nation
ii.                  He motivated his people into action
iii.                He demonstrated his faith in God through prayer

2. a. Explain how Nehemiah received the news about the state of affairs in Jerusalem and how he prayed to God concerning the news.
    b. What three virtues can one learn from Nehemiah’s reaction to the news of his country?
         Virtues of Nehemiah
i.                    He was patriotic.
ii.                  He was a man of prayer.
iii.                He was conscious of the sins of the nation
iv.                 One must always intercede for one’s nation
v.                   It is important to have faith in God
vi.                 There is the need for national repentance
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