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WEEK 3 • AUGUST 18-AUGUST 24


LESSON 12

INTEREST PRECEEDS ACTION

LESSON TEXT:

NEHEMIAH 2:4-8, 15-18


MEMORY VERSE
"Come, and let us build up the wall of Je­rusalem, that we be no more a reproach." (Nehemiah 2:17)


KEY TERMS
Support — To bear; to sustain; to uphold.
Reproach — An expression of rebuke or disapproval; one subjected to censure or scorn.
Validity — The quality of being logically or factually sound; soundness or cogency.


SUGGESTED EMPHASIS

When God orders a task, it is not just the task, but in the package are provisions to complete the responsibility. Nehemiah was ordered to rebuild the walls in Jerusalem. Not only was he to rebuild the wall but also provisions were made for the help that he needed. A mark of good leadership is a concern motivated plan.

Emphasis 1 — Nehemiah's problem (Nehemiah 2:4-6).

After learning of the sad state of Jerusalem, Nehemiah's countenance was downcast before the king (vs. 1-3). King Artaxerxes sought the reason for Nehemiah contempla­tive mood. Upon hearing Nehemiah's report, he probed for his request.

Nehemiah quickly and silently prayed to God and responded to the king; it was obvious that Nehemiah had done a great deal of preparation. He had already thought about how long it would be necessary for him to be gone. Nehemiah's later requests also showed a great deal of forethought.

Nehemiah was eager to return and to rebuild Jerusalem, the city where his fathers were buried. He based his appeal on his servant hood, the king's pleasure and favor.

Artaxerxes requested Nehemiah's time of departure from Shushan, the length of his stay in Jerusalem, and the date of his return. Nehemiah complied.


Emphasis 2 — Nehemiah's plea (Nehemiah 2:7-8).

Nehemiah sought letters of passage from the king. These letters from King Artaxerxes would inform the governors beyond the Euphrates River of Nehemiah's passage and authority.

He also requested a letter of authority from King Artaxerxes granting him lumber from the king's forest. Nehemiah would construct three buildings from the lumber: the for­tress near the temple, the city's walls, and his own house in Jerusalem.

Emphasis 3 — Nehemiah's plan (Nehemiah 2:15-16).

To undertake such a massive project would involve the cooperation of all those resid­ing in or near Jerusalem. Nehemiah would need to secure support from the officials in the land, the Jews, the priest, the nobles and the other inhabitants of the land.

Emphasis 4 — Nehemiah's project (Nehemiah 2:17-18).

Nehemiah gathered together those persons who were to assist him, and presented first the need and then the solution. They saw Jerusalem lay waste with the walls in ruins and its gates burned by fire. The leaders affirmed their support to rise up (their motivation) and to build (the fulfillment of their intensions).

Many a good plan finds those who affirm the validity of the plan and yet dies for lack of workers to complete the task. Nehemiah's concern was translated into action.

MISSION APPLICATION QUESTIONS

What circumstances gave Nehemiah concern for his people?
How did Nehemiah refer to Jerusalem when he came before the king? Why?
How did Nehemiah plan to use timber from the king's forest?

WORLD MISSIONS PRAYER POINTS

Thank God for the provisions that He has already released for the task at hand.
Thank God for placing the right people or team in place to complete the vision that He gave you.