Because of Israel’s sins, they heaped on themselves the curses of God. Included in the curses is the scattering of the Israelites among all nations through the hands of foreign nations (Deuteronomy 28:64). The first to fall was Israel’s Northern Kingdom against the Assyrians. The Assyrians deported approximately 40,000 people from the Northern Kingdom and were replaced by foreign deportees. The Israelites from the North “lost their national identity and for the most part appear to have intermingled with foreigners.”
Judah continued in their sins. It was next to fall in the hands of the Babylonians. The final king to rule Judah, Zedekiah, lost to Babylon in 586-587 B.C. The Babylonians deported the Israelites in Judah but the deportation was one-way, unlike the Assyrians’ system.
By 539 B.C. Cyrus the Great of the Persians, invaded Babylon. Cyrus’ actions were foretold by the prophet Isaiah even before Cyrus was born (Is 44:28; 45:1). “He encouraged people who had been uprooted from their homelands and religions to return home and reestablish the worship of their gods with the blessing and support of his government.” A group of close to fifty thousand Jews returned to Judah and in 515 B.C. the temple was completed (Ezra 4-6). The temple was complete but the Jerusalem, particularly its walls were still in shambles. During these times the hands of the Lord would raise up a leader with His people to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall and along with it, Israel’s hope and walk in the Lord.
In Nehemiah, we learn that a Christian‘s walk is more than just a set of rules and guidelines. God plans to move in our lives so that we can be testimonies of His glory. He will send us to places and circumstances outside our comfort zones, but we should not worry for the Lord is with us. And our Lord is sovereign and gracious. As we learn to trust and follow the Lord, we allow ourselves to experience Him and His mighty work in and through us.
- Message #1 – Developing a Heart for God’s Work
- Message #2 – Faith translated into Action
- Message #3 – In God Everyone Counts
- Message #4 – Opposition to God’s Work
- Message #5 – Wisdom in Confrontation
- Message #6 – Handling Distractions and Deceptions
- Message #7 – Chapter 7
- Message #8 – Chapter 8
- Message #9 – Chapter 9
- Message #10 – The Covenant
- Message #11 – Chapter 11
- Message #12 – Chapter 12
- Message #13 – A Man with a Clear Conscience