Nehemiah 9:1-38

Look up / Look Back / Look Forward


There are two themes in the Book of Nehemiah – the first deals with the rebuilding of the Wall around Jerusalem – Ch.1-6

A) The 2nd deals with the rebuilding of the people – Ch.7-13


B) When the Wall was completed and the people came together we saw that one of the first things they did was turn to the Word


C) Ch.8 V.1-12 They spent their first day hearing the word being taught and explained –

1) there was a priority placed on the word – [ The Law]


D)  Reaction: Wept –Conviction it brought:  But Nehemiah and the Leaders instructed the people to rejoice – For the Joy of the Lord is their strength !


E) The Fact that God was rejoicing over them – that was to carry them –

1) that was to be their sense of confidence and strength


F) SO the people went home and celebrated


On the second day they gathered again – to hear from the word –

A) It was then they discovered that there was a celebration they had been neglecting


B) The feast of Tabernacles – or Booths

[ Explain – reminder of wandering yrs – reminder that their real home is in heaven ]


C)  So they spent the next 7 days celebrating the feast of Tabernacles – V.17 of Ch.8 tells us there was very great gladness among the people.  Why?

1) They were getting back in touch with their God – with their heritage – they were feeling closer to God/


D)Rejoicing in the goodness of God / His Joy over them


E) Revival had broken out the people were EXCITED to serve the Lord, they were ENCOURAGED in the Lord.


YET as we come to Ch.9 there is a marked change in the people. It is now the 24th day of the month

A) There is no longer CELEBRATION, there is HUMILIATION


B) No longer are they bubbling in the Lord/  now They

are BROKEN before the Lord.  - 

1) Their FEASTING has turned into FASTING: 

                   Why the Change !


C) Was God calling the people to FAST rather than feast?

1) Was God calling the people to CONFESSION rather than celebration?


D) The Scriptures don’t say THAT TO BE THE CASE:   1) there was no instruction giving that they should cease from celebrating and feasting


E) So the Lord was not calling for this –  BUT it seems that  the people were feeling a need for it! 


In that is an important understanding & insight –

A)The Lord is calling us to JOY and to experience His GRACE. The Lord is calling us to bask in his goodness


B) As we do that, and as we get CLOSER to the Lord,

1) we become more aware,  painfully aware of HOW

  FAR we are from the Lord. 


C) THAT is the inevitable response of getting nearer to the Lord.


D) Remember Isaiah  I Saw the Lord high & lifted up ..

   1) Woe is you – Woe is me !!!!


E) Peter great hall – Depart from me I am a sinful man




When you get close to the Lord it is inevitable that

you become aware of far you are from being like


                     Alan Redpath was right when he said


“How often the discovery of something new in the loveliness of the Lord Jesus has brought with it the discovery of some new corruption in our own hearts. . . . God will never plant the seed of His life upon the soil of a hard, unbroken spirit. He will only plant that seed where the conviction of

His Spirit has brought brokenness, where the soil has been watered with the tears of repentance as well as the tears of joy.”


A) So even in this time of rejoicing / renewal and

revival the people fall before  the Lord in

    CONFESSION before the Lord.....


Neh 9:1-3

Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled

with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. 2 Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.3 And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God.



B) So the People come together in Brokenness &

Humility and confession before the Lord –

C) But what happens next is interesting the Levites encourage the People to Reflect on the Lord’s goodness & Faithfulness


4 Then Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood on the stairs of the Levites and cried out with a loud voice to the LORD their God.5 And the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said:

"Stand up and bless the LORD your God

Forever and ever!  "Blessed be Your glorious name,

Which is exalted above all blessing and praise!



Personal Revival usually involves these 3 things

A)CONFESSION before the Lord, REFLECTION with the Lord and REDEDICATION to the Lord.


B) That is what we see happen in this Chapter –


C) They look UP at the Lord – See themselves in light of Him : Confession is made of their sinfulness

  1) They Look BACK on their life in the Lord and all that he has done

   2) They look FORWARD to the yrs ahead and all that the Lord has for them :


D) Which results in a Rededication of their lives and Covenant to the Lord


Most of this Chapter deals with their Look Back – They are encouraged to Look Back in Thanksgiving – Bless & Exalt the Lord

A) In this section V. 6-37 comprises one of the longest prayers in the Bible in which 8 reasons are given to be thankful as they look back


B) Eight things that reveal the Lord’s Faithfulness in the Lives of his people.


#1  God is praised as the Creator and Maker of everything.

6 You alone are the LORD; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.


A) Our God is an Artist: He created this earth for our enjoyment – As a testimony of His Glory –


Psalm 19:1-6 NLT   

The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display

his marvelous  craftsmanship.

2   Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.

3   They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies;

4   yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world.

    The sun lives in the heavens  where God placed it.

5   It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.

    It rejoices like a great athlete  eager to run the race.

6   The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end.

      Nothing can hide from its heat.


B) Everyday God is declaring to us – His Glory and His Love – He made this world for us to enjoy  & to live in !


1) Two Summers ago – we took advantage of the Low Low – interest rates and Refinanced our home – Put in a Swimming Pool.


C) All summer long – come home – see my kids playing in the Pool

1) Or My wife relaxing by the Pool or sleeping on her mat in the Pool – I was so blessed.


D) That is what I envisioned in my mind – when I made it!

1) They would spend the summers enjoying it


That is how I think the Lord feels – when He sees us enjoying his Creation

A) Every sunset that we take in – every time we take a walk at night and admire a full moon –


He is blessed – Behold in wonder his handiwork


B) Remembering that – Creation gives us a small picture of his glory and Power !

1) Little girl to her Dad – Star studded night – Dad if the wrong side of Heaven looks this Beautiful – just think what the right side is going to look like!


C) So the Place where they begin Praising and Reflecting is with the greatness of God in Creation.


#2 Praise Him for calling us out to be His People.  RD V.7-8

A) It was an act of pure grace when God chose Abram and revealed Himself to him, for Abram was an idolater in a pagan city


B) Eventually, God changed his name from Abram (“exalted father”) to Abraham (“father of a multitude”),

1) because He had promised to make him a great nation


C) Though Abraham had occasional lapses of faith, for a century he trusted the Lord and walked in obedience to His will.

1) His obedient faith was made especially evident when he was willing to offer up  his son Isaac on the altar (Gen. 22)


D) God made a Covenant with Abraham which was the basis for all that God did with and for Abraham and his descendants.

E) It was God’s purpose that all the world be blessed through Israel, and He did this in the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:8).


Abraham and His descendents were a called out people

A) Blessed in Christ as they looked forward to what God would do thru the sending of  his Son


B)  The Church today is the Ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel


C)  God still has a special place in his heart – for Abe’s Physical descendants the Jewish nation –

1) But the ultimate fulfillment is scene in Abe’s spiritual descendants – He is the Father of Faith


2) Father of all those today who have placed faith in Christ


C) We learn from Abe – about the Life of Faith – We too are called out ones –

1) called to live by faith in the Promises of God .


D) Abe looked forward to the coming of Christ and what He would accomplish

1) We look BACK at the work of Christ and what He did do /


2) We look forward like Abe to a City made without human hands – who’s builder & maker is God.

E) We are to live life like Abe as a Called out People ! Chosen By God to be his very own –

1) His own Special people – A holy nation – set apart unto God !


F) So they praised him for calling them out to be His own special people.



#3 Then they praised God as the Deliverer from sin and its enslavement.        RD V. 9-12

A) After Abe’s family was established – Isaac and then Jacob and his 12 sons –


B)God led them into Egypt – time for the nation to grow

1) They went in as a family group of under 100 –

2) and emerged after 400yrs as a people group of over 3 Million.


C) Part of that time in Egypt was a time of slavery – under the tough task masters of Egypt !

1) Their enslavement in Egypt is a picture of mankind’s enslavement to sin !



God delivered them with a mighty outstretched hand – Showed Pharaoh signs and wonders –

A) Finally divided the Red Sea – Army of Egypt destroyed


B) The Power that Pharaoh had over them was completely obliterated right before their very eyes on that day.


C) So too 2,000 yrs ago with two outstretched arms of God – our enemy was defeated – right before their very eyes

1) It happened when God hung on a  Cross – { Looked weak / He looked defeated as He hung there beaten and Bruised


D) But in the Spiritual realm – All the power of the enemy / Mankind’s capture was being Broken –

1) The chains of Sin & guilt and wickedness were coming undone as Jesus Paid the price that day for the sins of Humanity


E) A work that was culminated on the 3rd day w/ His Resurrection


So they look back at the greatness of God in Creating the Universe


At the Grace of God in calling them to be His own special people.


And at the Goodness of God in delivering them out of their enslavement

A) When is the last time that you took the time to look back and Praise the Lord for those three things


B) The world that He made for you to enjoy! –

1) the fact that He has called  chosen you to be His C


2) And for doing what was necessary to make that possible by sending his son to die on the Cross of your sins!


C) We could stop right there and it would be enough – but it goes on there is more so much more as they LOOK BACK


#4 They praise God for his providential care  RDv.13-15

A) God’s care for them consisted of two things: 1st Spiritual direction


B) He gave to them His ordinances and laws – He gave them instruction on how to live – what they were to avoid – what they were to do!


C) He taught this people how to live in the midst of great wickedness.

1) He knew he was sending them into a land inhabited by a people who were morally degraded to a degree that is even appalling to us today.


D) They openly indulged in lewd practices.

1) They offered their children to the god Molech by throwing them alive into a furnace of fire.

2)  The Israelites were going to be surrounded by these type of people.

So God taught them how to avoid defilement and contamination from those things.

A)He taught them how to be friends with these people, but not be destroyed by their immorality.


B) That is exactly the situation we are called to live in today.

1) God has given us this wonderful Book that teaches us the rules of life, health, salvation, deliverance


2) and the inner strength that can resist the temptations that abound all around us.


C)  So first his Providential care involved their spiritual life –

1) But it also involved their Physical needs -

15 You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger, [MANNA]

And brought them water out of the rock for their thirst, And told them to go in to possess the land  Which You had sworn to give them.


D) God also supplied their Physical needs. He gave them bread to eat when there was none.

1) He gave them water from the rock in the middle of the desert.


E) As I look back at my life I am so blessed at how God has always taken care of my Physical needs and even more so – So many of my Wants


So Looking back they Praised God as their:

   1) Creator

    2) The one who called and Chosen them

    3) Their Deliverer

    4) Their Provider



#5 They Praise Him for His patience and forgiveness. 

                               RD V.16-21

A) In looking back at the History of Israel after God had been so great to them


B) Miracle after Miracle – Provision after Provision – at how they could doubt  -    How they could lack in faith

1) How they could even think about wanting to go back to Egypt


C) But don’t we so often do the same thing?

1) God meets a need and we praise Him – but as soon as another need arises we start to think that it is the end of the word- How are we going to get thru this.


D) We try to take matters into our own hands – and God lets us – to bring us to the end of ourselves

1) So that finally when we cry out to him –


2) He is there ready to pardon – ready to show mercy – read to bless and to provide




E) Can you look back today at the many times that you have failed God /

1) the many times that you have forsaken Him –


2)  And Join with Israel in praising Him for His Patience and forgiveness in your life ! –


F) Our God is so Faithful and true !


After Praising Him for His Forgiveness and Patience #6 they Praise Him for the Victories He brought them.                     RD v 22-25

A) Here they reflect back on the greatness of God in helping them to get settled in the land of Promise and drive out the Giants & the inhabitants …..


B) Think back to your life – after coming to Christ and as you have walked with Him –

1) the giants that have been overcome


C) For some it was the giant of Addiction

1) For others it was the giant of bitterness and unforgiveness – the Lord helped you to get over a hurtful past


D) Still others it was the giant of Failure – Left you in debt / broken

1) But God has restored you in every way.




E) There are so many testimonies represented in this room right now of How God has worked to bring the Victory !

1) Look back today: My Journal




So Looking back they Praised God as their:

#1 Creator

#2 The one who called and Chosen them

#3 Their Deliverer

#4 Their Provider

#5 For His Patience and Forgiveness

#6 For giving them Victory

#7 The Praised God for His CHASTENING 

                             RD v.26-31


In studying the History of the People of Israel a reoccurring cycle emerges

A) The cycle begins with God showing His goodness to His people:

You gave them kingdoms and nations, God’s people are being blessed.



B) But then, in the time of comfort and abundance, Gods’ people turn

from Him: Nevertheless they were disobedient and rebelled against You (26).


C) SO God brings correction - a “wake-up call” to His people:

Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their enemies


D) God’s people then turn back to Him: They cry out to Him and He hears from Heaven – and delivers them out of Bondage !

1) Blessings Follow – the people get fat and complacent and turn again.


E) God brings Chastening again – Another nation comes in to correct them

1) Over and over the cycle goes


As Nehemiah and the People look back they are thankful that the Lord never completely forsook the people of Israel .

A) If He did no one would have questioned it – They were deserving


B) This just further Magnifies the Love /Patience / grace and mercy of God.

1) However in His Love – He is not going to allow us to just do whatever


C) There are consequences to sin ! – Sin hurts and rebellion needs to be corrected –

1) That is what God did with them – That is what He will do with you! When you rebel – Chastening will result 


D) Whom the Lord loves He chastens – No Chasten – not God’s Kid!

1) He doesn’t want to see your life completely destroyed by sin – so He will bring some form of Chastening influence into your life.


E) His Goal is to Bring you back !!!!


Two ways to learn – One is the hard way: Rebel do your own thing and suffer the consequences – that  = scars

A) EH Didn’t listen to Denise – 1 thorn in my side { That is how we can be w/ God: Don’t listen don’t follow – Result SCARS -


B) The other is God’s way: Just follow His leading / His direction / His word  = smiles


C) So Looking back they Praised God for His Chastening Hand –


Finally #8 Looking Back They Praised God for His Restoration.                RDV 32-37

A) Notice that they are no longer talking in the Past tense – they / their / them

                        But now it is the present tense – we / us.


B) They have looked back at the God’s past dealings with the nation of Israel

1) That brought them to this current place –

C) Back in the land – back in a rebuilt city – back in the good graces of God


D) Looking back -  now inspires them to Look FORWARD – v.38 tells us of how they sought to Rededicate themselves to the Lord


38 "And because of all this,

We make a sure covenant and write it;

Our leaders, our Levites, and our priests seal it."


D) That Covenant – involved 4 things – Focus of our study next time