Nehemiah 1

The King’s Cupbearer


INTRO The Bible is such a Incredible Book – For instance

A) You can read & re-read, study & further study & each time that you read the Scriptures there are whole new insights that can be gained and gleaned.


Charles Spurgeon preached over 10,000 meaty sermons. He said this: “Nobody ever outgrows the Scriptures. The Book simply widens and deepens over our years.”


B) NEHEMIAH has for many years been one of my favorite books of the Scriptures.

1) It has many different facets that minister to us.


C) It is an excellent study in REVIVAL. How God takes a broken down people and brings them together Restores them


D) The name NEHEMIAH actually means The Lord has comforted He is an excellent type of how the Holy Spirit comes

REBUILDING and RESTORING the broken walls of the human life


It is an EXCELLENT study in leadership.

A) IF you are involved or interested in leadership, there is no finer study than the life of Nehemiah.


B) He is an EXCELLENT EXAMPLE of what a leader could and should be.

… how to pray about your problems;
… how to “plan your work” and “work your plan;”
… how to set God-given goals;
… how to motivate others when morale is low;
… how to become a person of vision.


C) Lets meet the man :   RD V.1-11



There 4 things that I want us to consider today about Nehemiah’s Character that made him a man God would use   [1st He was a man of humility ]

A) The final phrase of chapter one gives to us an insight into Nehemiah’s great humility I WAS THE KINGS CUPBEARER


B) Being the kings cupbearer was a tremendous honor in that time of history.

1) Originally, the kings cupbearer was the one who sat next to the king to sample the kings drink and food before the king ate it.


C) There was Always the danger of having one of his subjects turning on him – A little Poison in the Kings food would do the trick

1) So when the Kings feasting – a little Wine – { before King takes a drink – Nehemiah take a sip  - and the king would watch to see if he fell over dead-


D) Nehemiah – Pretty tasty – count to 10 still alive Ok lets drink !!!!

1) Feast Drum stick – Wait – takes a bite – not bad use a little gravy – but ok



So initially that was what the position was about – but As time progressed, so did the prestige and dignity of the position

A) Because this was the man sitting next to the king. He was the man who was closest to the king. – Became the kings Closet confidant


B) He had the ear of the king, he became the kings adviser.

1) He became the kings right hand man. He was “chief of staff” so to speak.


C) So Nehemiah has this cushy Got Job – he is in a place of tremendous importance


And this is where we see his Humility: See most of us would have been tempted to mention this little fact at the beginning of the book

A) “Nehemiah, the kings cupbearer (chief of staff, right hand man, confidant and advisor)”


B) But that wasn’t the kind of guy – Nehemiah was – Humble

C) He only mentions it in passing at the end of the chapter, and only then because it had bearing on the rest of the story that is about to unfold.

1) See God had placed Nehemiah in this position for a reason


D) It turned out that God had a work for him to do there that he could not have accomplished elsewhere.

1)God put Nehemiah in Shush an just as He had put Esther there a generation before, and just as He had put Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon.


E) When God wants to accomplish a work, He always prepares His workers and puts them in the right places at the right time.



Now how did Nehemiah end up in this Position ? For the answer to that we need a little bit of a history lesson

A) Because of yrs of Rebellion in Israel – Idolatry / Immorality –


A) In 605 BC Neb and the Babylonians invaded Israel and Ransacked Jerusalem the capital city


B) The Temple was destroyed and the Walls of the city were torn down and burned with Fire –


C) Most of the Israelites were taken captive and hauled off to Babylon where they would spend 70 yrs in Captivity { Ned. would be born during this time

1) While most of the Jews were taken to Babylon - A small remnant of Jews remained behind amidst the ruins in Israel


D) Well after 70 yrs of Captivity in Babylon – the Babylonian empire was over thrown by the Persian empire

1) The Persians were much nicer to the Jews – They went from Babylonian Captivity to Persian Prosperity


E) They were given nice Jobs in the kingdom – homes to live in – the Jewish people settled into a rather comfortable life

Well it was During this time of Prosperity that the King of Persia suggested that some Jews go back to rebuild the temple & City

A) 50,000 Volunteered to go back – that is 50,000 out of several Million


B) Why didn’t the others want to go – well – they were living too comfortably in Babylon at this time

1) Why mess up a good thing – The people had grown complacent –

Yea so what we can worship in Jerusalem – I have a two story house here


C) Well those 50,000 head back for the hard Job of rebuilding the temple – they are able to get the foundation laid !!

1) Then something happened – they began to focus internally

And the building stopped


D) Instead of focusing on building God’s house they give all their TIME ATTENTION & ENERGY  to building their own houses

1) Making their lives as comfortable as possible


E) 16 yrs went by and the temple was still in ruins still not built only the foundation was laid


It was at that time that God raised up two Prophets Haggai & Zechariah to go and speak to the people.  Excerpt from Haggai   1:3-11

3 Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying,4 "Is it

time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to

lie in ruins?"5 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts:"

   Consider your ways!


6 "You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough;

You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one

is warm; And he who earns wages,

Earns wages to put into a bag with holes."


IN other words – You are spending all this time effort and energy trying to Satisfy yourself – Not working – Because you haven’t done God’s will

Now isn’t that the sad reality of many people living in America today

A) Richest nation – most stuff / toys / amusements & entertainment



B) Earn wages but it is like putting it into a bag with holes in it

1) Wrong Priorities – Not seeking to be rich in the Lord


C) Problem for Israel – Internally Focused – Focused on pleasing self rather than pleasing God!!


7 Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways!8 Go up to the mountains and

bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified," says

the LORD.9 "You looked for much, but indeed it  came to little; and when you

brought it home, I blew it away. Why?" says the LORD of hosts. "Because of My

house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.10 Therefore the

heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit.11 For I called

for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the

oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor

of your hands."


The people responded to the voice of the Lord and the Lord raised up a leader by the name of Zerubbabel who led the rebuilding of the temple

A) Now 57 years after that/ A second group came back to Judah led by Ezra.


B) Ezra was a priest and a scribe. He came back to instruct the people in the things of God and in the ways of God

1) How many went back with Ezra 1700


C) Problem in Ezra’s time is that the people were being hindered to worship because the walls of the city were still down

1) This left them continually vulnerable to enemy invaders at any point


D) In reality, people could NOT come into the temple and worship freely IF they were vulnerable to these attacks of the enemy.

1) But the work of rebuilding the walls – had stalled – Ezra was Frustrated

the people were indifferent ( Read in Ezra – literally pulled his hair out) - -

Well that is the Condition of things when we come to the Book of Nehemiah

A) Nehemiah was born during the captivity – probably towards the end and he has risen to great heights in the Persian Prosperity


B) He has this comfy – Govt Job – working as the kings Cup bearer – but that all Changes when he gets paid a visit from his kinsman From Jerusalem


C) No doubt it was just another routine day when Nehemiah met his brothers who had just returned from a visit to Jerusalem,

1) but it turned out to be a turning point in Nehemiah’s life.


Been Said : Like large doors, great life-changing events can swing on very small hinges.

A) It was just another day when Moses went out to care for his sheep, but on that day he heard the Lord’s call and became a prophet (Ex. 3).


B) It was an ordinary day when David was called home from shepherding his flock; but on that day, he was anointed king (1 Sam. 16).


C) It was an ordinary day when Peter, Andrew, James, and John were mending their nets after a night of failure;

1) but that was the day Jesus called them to become fishers of men


D)  You never know what God has in store, when or how he is going to call

so keep your heart open to God’s providential leading.


Well this leads us to consider the 2nd thing about Nehemiah’s Character that made him a man God could use –

A) Not only was Neh. a man of Humility – He was a man of Compassion


B) When Nehemiah hears of the Conditions of the people & the state of affairs in Jerusalem his heart is broken –

1) V. 4 He wept & mourned for many days –

C) He didn’t say: Man what a bummerGlad I am here and not there – want to see my new quarters / want to ride in my Chariot

1) No his Heart was Burdened – He had compassion of the people in Jerusalem.


Now notice once again the description given to Nehemiah about the

State of things back in JERUSALEM  v.3 The survivors who are left from

the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach.

A) The walls are still down the people are in Distress & reproach


B) Distress = Great grief – severely unsettled – a state of Misery & affliction

1)   Reproach= disgraced  loss of dignity


C) Because of the Walls being down the people lived in a continual state of insecurity – there was no stability/ no safety / no rest

1)Instead their lives were marked by constant Misery affliction and Disgrace


D) Nehemiah heard that his heart was broken


Ministry Starts with Compassion: Starts by seeing the need – seeing what others don’t – Burden he wept

A) Jesus view of the Multitude was completely different from his disciples


B) They saw them as a Bother he saw them as Sheep with out a Shepherd – He had compassion on them


C) There were many Jews living in Persia who didn’t see the needs in of those in Jerusalem at all – Out of site out of mind

1) Living in Persia enjoying  Luxury – Why go back to Jerusalem


D) Many believers today – so caught up in their own lives – don’t see the

needs around them

1) All around are people’s who’s lives are in distress who’s lives are in Reproach because of Sin { Many Ignore it

2) Others want to Criticize – it is there fault – they are in that mess

Nehemiah Could not ignore – He did NOT criticize, he agonized-

A) He did NOT say: “Well what in the world is Ezra doing back there?”


B) He did NOT say: “Those guys have been there all this time, why aren’t they finished rebuilding those walls?”


C) His heart Broke – filled with Compassion - That Compassion leads you to do something – first thing that Nehemiah does is PrayI-55

1) He was a Man of Humility – Man of Compassion / 3rd Man of Prayer


D ) Something we see him doing often in this book


His prayer is laid out for us in v. 5-11: These verses give us some insight

into why he was affective in Prayer – Consider quickly 5 things

A) #1 His view of God – v. 5 And I said: "I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments,


B) How did Nehemiah see God ? As a Great & Awesome God –

1) How big is your God/ Bigger than any problem you might face? –

     Any Challenge


C) My God - Holds world in the span of his hand

1) Knows all the stars by name – Billions of Stars in 1,000’s of Galaxies {


D) Beat DEATH -                           [BUILDING PROJECT]


* Nehemiah Knew there was a big Job ahead – But his eyes were focused on a Big God – Great & Awesome

A God who keeps his Promises – Covenant keeping GodYou who keep Your covenant - In other words He is a God I can trust


B) He is a Merciful God – Doesn’t give us what we do deserve

1) 3 Important things to key in on about God

So first we get some insight into Nehemiah’s View of God –

Next insight into his prayer is #2 his view of the Problem

6 please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father's house and I have sinned.7 We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses


Sin – No excuses here – Nehemiah Knows this all started with Rebellion – that is why they were sent into 70 yrs of Captivity to begin with

A) The apathy that existed now was another example of the sin that existed


B) Problem was sin – When this happens Nehemiah wasn’t even born – note – My sin & my fathers

1) He did NOT pray: “Lord forgive THEM for they are not completing the work.”


C) He said: “Lord, forgive US.” He identifies himself with them, not only in their victories, but in their setbacks.

1) Not only in their glories, but also in their difficulties.


APPLICATION: We are LINKED together.


D) Sin keeps us from experiencing the fullness of God *


#3  we see His View of the Solution: V.8-9   Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying,’ If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; 9 but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.'


1) Turn from our sin turn to the Lord


B) Answer for America – Not George Bush in the Whitehouse of who-ever

2 Chron 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble

themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways,

then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.


#4 His view of their relationship with God v.10

10 Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand.


A) They were a redeemed people – they had been redeemed from Egypt by the power of God


Rom 8:31-33 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who

can be against us?32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him

up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?


B) He Gave us Jesus – He is not going to give up on us Now


C) Nehemiah realized the same about Israel – God’s People – redeemed them and He would not forsake them


Your life Distress & reproach – Unsettled – no rest

A) Disgraced – living under constant condemnation


B) Your marriage – your home life –


C) Encouraged: Great and Awesome God – who keeps his Promises / God of Mercy { He is ready to work


D) 1st Recognize the Sin !!! / Repent /


Notice Nehemiah didn’t just Pray he fasted –

A) Purpose of a Fast …………. / deny flesh  seek God

      Could be a Day / a meal


B) Can’t do that – Food is important

C) Listen how much eat in life time from 0-70

1) 2000 Chickens / 300 head of Cattle / 50 pigs / 200 Acres of grains & veggies / 150 Acres of Fruits


D) Serious about that Problem – Fast –

1) Can’t give up a Chicken I need all 2,000 of them


E) Radical Christianity – No a 40 day fast is Radical – Moses / Jesus


Fast for Marriage / Husband / Wife / Kids / Church



Nehemiah a man of Humility / Compassion – Burden / Man of Prayer and a man who was Available

11 O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man."


A) Nehemiah discerned that somehow the King was going to be used in meeting this need – Nehemiah made himself Available


B) It has well been said that prayer is not getting man’s will done in heaven but getting God’s will done on earth. However, for God’s will to be done on earth, He needs people to be available for Him to use.


C) He had it made in Shushan. But he is willing to lay aside all of his position and possessions and prizes to get involved in the work of God


D) The king’s cupbearer would have to sacrifice the comfort and security of the palace for the rigors and dangers of life in a ruined city.

1) Luxury would be replaced by ruins, and prestige by ridicule and slander.

E) He would leave behind the ease of the palace and take up the toils of encouraging a beaten people and finishing an almost impossible task.

Needs here at CCV – Parking / Children’s { Wish be 3 people

A) 3 hrs at Church - 


B) 3 hrs watching football / 2 hrs watching movie / Golf all day


C) Nehemiah Cared – willing to leave comfort Zone


D) Moses Jesus


God is still looking for people who care, people like Nehemiah, who cared enough to ask for the facts, weep over the needs, pray for God’s help, and then volunteer to get the job done.

Moses Choose to forsake the pleasures of Egypt …….