Nehemiah 7-8  Building a Culture Within a Culture


Well we left off in our survey of Nehemiah in Ch. 6 where we saw V.15


So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days.


This is such a guy way of saying this – straight forward and to the point. We finished – 52 days –


This was a woman writing: It would be like the wall was finally finished – it was a sunny day – pp were excited she would have described how it looked sturdy and rugged


Like Describing a baby: Woman – so & so had a baby it was 9lbs 2oz – big fingers lots of hair – name is grace means loved of God – Latin it means –


Guy: So & so had their baby? Yep! boy or girl yep! size – pretty big – Pretty? It was a baby


Nehemiah is a man’s man here: We finished –

A)And now as we come to chapter 7 he is on to the next thing – no  kicking back – no time for celebration


B)There is still more to do! Things to set on place

So he is getting busy!




Chapter 7 serves as a pivot pt in the Book of Nehemiah.

A)Chapters 1-6 describe the restoration of the wall of Jerusalem.


B)Chapters 8-13 tell about the restoration of the people of Judah.


C)Chapter 7 begins with three verses describing the precautions that Nehemiah took to guard the newly walled city from attack.

1) This wraps up the first half of the book.


D)Chapter 7 reveals how Nehemiah went about

repopulating the city so that it would become a vital center for national and spiritual life.


Ch.7 reveals 3 things that matter to God! RDV.1

#1 Worship matters to God.

After the wall was built he appoints Gatekeepers Levites and singers –


They are 1st because  the main reason for protecting the city from invaders was not just so that everyone could live securely.


It was primarily so that the worship of God in the temple could take place.


#2 Godly Character matters to God!    RD V.2-3

Nehemiah picks these two men and of the latter we are told – 2 things about his Character

1st He was faithful: Faithful speaks of being reliable truthful – he was the kind of man one could depend on


2nd He walked in the fear of God.

A)Note the exact phrase he feared God more than many.


B)Tells us The fear of God is a matter of degree

1)Some fear God a little – others fear God more


C)Fear of God speaks of honor and respect and Reverence of God.

1)That motivates us to live Godly lives



Now their Job was to guard the city!

A)The Bible frequently reminds us to be on alert – be on guard – be watching !


B)Watchful of the enemy / Watch out for temptation

Watchful of the times and the seasons


B)This is a practice that I think is not taken very seriously by a lot of Christians

1)They don’t watch they just live –


C)Not watchful of what they allow to come into their homes via TV or internet / MySpace

1)Not watchful enough of who their kids are hanging with talking to on Cell phone etc

D)We need to guard our lives the same way these men were called to Guard the city!


They were to Keep the gates closed at night.

A)Makes sense for a city to stay protected.
B)We too live in a very dark world.
1)The “gate” is the place where you let things into your life, like your eyes, ears, mind.
C)We need to be careful to keep the “gates” of our lives closed to the darkness of the world.


 3rd It matters to God when we understand and engage in His plans and purposes.

A)V.4-73 is a list of names of those who came back to help build the temple and the city


B)God list them all- twice also in Ezra


C)These pp were pioneers –

1)Willing to be in the early stages of the restoration of the city and the Pp of God!


D)Sent out many Pioneers – One couple a favorite

Marc O & Lucia – Oregon{  Engine or part of the train 

2) Came here and was Part of the transition

3)Florida – Engine


E)List Leaders/ workers/ and givers –      RD V.66-73

Now as we come to Ch.8 a shift happens – Nehemiah has done his part – he is a builder / leader

A)Architect of this plan that was radically successful the wall was built in 52 days


B)But here is Ch.8 he steps aside and Ezra who is more the Pastor guy – steps center stage

1)I love this – Nehemiah knows his boundaries – not trying to be something he is not called to be


C)How easy it would have been for him to say – this is my story…. My idea – I am preaching

1)Doesn’t do that – steps aside lets Ezra do his thing


What follows is a great out pouring of HS  RD v.1-3


Revival is going to break out here and these 3 verses give us the ingredients for it.

#1 The people were united in a single purpose. – Gathered as one man.


Psalm 133:1

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is

For brethren to dwell together in unity!”


God is blessed by and takes notice of when His pp are united together in unity!


Great potential for Him to show up and do amazing things


So they were gathered as one man:

#2 There was a maturity there: Those who could understand – no distractions 

V.1 Tells us they said to Ezra – bring us the Book


Preach it brother – we want to hear – we want to learn -  There is a hunger there.


They understood the importance of the preaching and teaching of God’s word

A)In any revival in Church history has always been marked by a getting back to the basics of the word


B)Getting back to a hunger for the word of God!


#3 There was an expectation there – they were attentive

A)Note the meeting lasted 6hrs – hot Middle  eastern Desert sun – pressed together - -no PA – and they are standing for 6 hrs


B)This is amazing ! – love this  - Not many today would go to a Church service like this one.


C)They didn’t care – hungry for God!        

                          RD V.4-8


So the word was going forth in a powerful way:

A)Guys are giving understanding -  pp are responding in heart felt humble worship


B)This is glorious stuff –

There is a shift that takes place here – something we really need to see  RD V..9

9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people,"This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn nor weep." For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.


A) The RESULT of the preaching of the Law is SORROW.  They Wept at hearing it !  Why?

1) It convicts us as GUILTY of sin.


2)It reveals where we are wrong!


B)The Law can NEVER save us. It can only condemn us.


C) Romans 3:19 – We are told that by the law comes the knowledge of sin.

1) Speeding sign – reveals – going to fast !!!


D) Key is to correct it before you get caught

1) That was the purpose of the law – Tutor – a school master – teach us and instruct us

2) How to live how to walk – attitudes & actions



Problem was we couldn’t keep it – So the law also revealed our need of a Savior

Galatians 3:24 “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”


A) So the word was doing it’s intended work here – they wept – because the law revealed their sin


B) But what happens next is Beautiful !  Rd v.10-12


The JUSTICE of the Law brings SORROW, but the JOY of the Lord brings STRENGTH.

A) Ezra and Nehemiah tell the pp not to weep –


B)I want to suggest to you that had the pp not been weeping –

1)Had they taken the reading of the law lightly


C)Had they been caviler and laughing – joking – not taking it seriously –

1)These leaders would have exhorted them to repent and to weep


D)But because that was their reaction: They were showing signs of true godly sorrow leading to repentance


These leaders discerned something in the heart of God wanting them to know they were forgiven

A)Though the weeping was necessary, it is not the final message God has for us.


B)There is forgiveness – there is an answer to our sin


1)"The joy of the LORD is your strength."

C)The word that brings joy is that of forgiveness. God can forgive! He does, and He will restore.

1)That is what Jesus meant when He said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" (Matt5:4).


D)I don't think you will ever be comforted until you learn to mourn.

1)When you see the hurt, pain, and despair that sin can produce and you grieve over it, then you are ready for the comfort of forgiveness.

What does "the joy of the LORD" mean?


The Joy of the Lord is your Strength { Consider this Phrase

A) Notice this : It doesn’t say the Joy in the Lord – although there is Joy in the Lord

1) It says the Joy of the Lord –


B)  God is rejoicing over you !!!


C) The Lord looks at you with joy.

1) Your strength revolves around the Fact that God is rejoicing over You!


Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God in your midst,

The Mighty One, will save;

He will rejoice over you with gladness,

He will quiet you with His love,

He will rejoice over you with singing.”

D) We KNOW that the Lord is MIGHTY.

1) But did you know that He rejoices over YOU with joy.... That He joys over YOU with singing?


E) I do NOT understand why, but He looks at everyone of us that have received Jesus as Savior and He rejoices over us.


That is THE SOURCE OF STRENGTH-  God’s Joy Over You

A) I am strong when I realize that the Lord LOVES me, when I realize that He has WASHED me in the blood of His Son and that He LOVES me.


B) HOW Can The Lord Find Joy In Me And You?


Matthew 13:44    

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.


C) In another parable Jesus defines the field as the world. God looked at the world and saw a treasure in it that He wanted.


D) That treasure is you and me. And He gave everything to buy the world in order to have you as His own.

1) He gave Jesus.


E) That is why we read of Jesus in:


Hebrews 12:2 who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame,                 


SO The Lord rejoices over US in the light of what the cross has accomplished.

A) The Cross Created a Bride !!!!


B)The search of God throughout the OT was for a Bride – a wife –


C)He finds her in bondage – so he redeems her / washes her / cleanses her restores her



Isaiah 62:5 And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you.



God’s rejoicing  Over Me Gives Me Strength         

A)The fact that God looks at you and me with such love, and because He takes such joy in us, makes us strong


A) Obligation and appreciation are certainly strong motives for serving the Lord, but celebration is even stronger.


B) When we obey the Lord and serve Him because we rejoice in Him, then our service will be a delight and not drudgery.


The old Bible commentator Matthew Henry wrote, “Holy joy will be oil to the wheels of our obedience.”


C) To the believer without joy, the will of God is punishment; but to the believer happy in the Lord, the will of God is nourishment (John 4:34).


But there are 2 other things that we must see about this!

A)1st The joy of the Lord is not at odds with holiness.


Three times (8:9, 10, 11) the leaders repeat to the people that they are not to weep, but rather to be joyful, because “this day is holy to our Lord.”


B)Holiness and joy are not at odds with each other, as we so often think.

1)Rather, they are intimately linked.


C)God makes us Holy – that brings us Joy

1)When we walk in the Holiness of God – it is joyful because we are being what he redeemed us to be


D)Remember The second fruit of the Holy Spirit is joy.


The word Joy is used 158 times in the Bible!

Rejoice: 199 / Praise 340 times / Blessed 303


Get the picture – God wants his pp to be a blessed rejoicing Joy filled pp in the Lord

The joy of the Lord is not the joy of circumstances or


A)This is obvious from the fact that it is distinctly called “the joy of the Lord.”  He gives – tied to Him


B)People in the world who do not know God can be joyful

1)when they win the lottery or get a promotion or go on a fun trip!


C)But the joy of the Lord is something that only those who know the Lord can enjoy in spite of circumstances.


It is how Paul sang in Prison in

Temperament seems to be something that each of us is born with. Some of us have upbeat dispositions, while others play the music of life in a minor key.

Yet how we respond to life's trials also affects our overall disposition.

For example, Fanny Crosby lost her sight when she was only 6 weeks old. She lived into her nineties, composing thousands of beloved hymns. On her 92nd birthday she cheerfully said, "If in all the world you can find a happier person than I am, do bring him to me. I should like to shake his hand."

What enabled Fanny Crosby to experience such joy in the face of what many would term a "tragedy"? At an early age she chose to "rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4).

In fact, Fanny carried out a resolution she made when she was only 8 years old: "How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't. To weep and sigh because I'm blind, I cannot and I won't."

Rather than complain about the thorns on roses, be thankful for roses among the thorns.

How many miss the beauty of the rose because all they see are the thorns


Joy is Contagious

It is a bad fireplace where all the heat goes up the chimney: true religion spreads joy over all around. Yet the fire warms first the chimney in which it burns, and grace comforts the heart in which it dwells. Nobody will be warmed by a cold hearth.

FB Meyer

Joyful Christians set the sinner's mouth a watering for the dainties of true religion. When the prodigal returned, he was shod, and clothed, and adorned, but we do not read that the servants were to put meat into his mouth. Yet they were to feed him, and they did so by themselves feasting: "Let us eat and be merry." This would be the surest way to induce the poor hungry son to make a meal. If saints were happier, sinners would be far more ready to believe.

As they read the word further they discovered that at this particular time they were to Celebrate the feast of Tabernacles

A) The feast of Tabernacles – commerated the 40 yrs that the Children of Israel traveled in the wilderness


B) It was a feast where they remembered – that they were pilgrims – here

1) Even though – their city was now safe – even though their homes were being rebuilt


C) They were to take seven days to camp out – in booths – tents – reminder – of that time


So It was a time for looking back

A) But the feast was also a time for looking around at the harvest blessings from the hand of God.


B) The Lord had given them a good land, and they were never to forget the Giver as they enjoyed the gifts


C) The Feast of Tabernacles was also an occasion for looking ahead to the glorious kingdom God promised His people Israel


D) It was a week-long festival of joyful praise and thanksgiving, focusing on the goodness of the Lord.

Good for us to remember – Pilgrims