Day 16 - May 27, 2019

The Background
by Brian Plymell
Week 3: Leap Together

The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.” Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time. -- Nehemiah 2:4-7

Location: Jerusalem | Date: 445 BC | Situation: Nehemiah was given King Artaxerxes’ blessings to lead a collection of Jewish captives on an 800-mile journey from Babylon to join a discouraged remnant of believers in Jerusalem to rebuild the city’s walls.

History: Around 1,000 BC King David conquered Jerusalem and made it the capital of the Jewish Kingdom. Soon after, his son Solomon built the first temple and royal palace. In 586 BC the city was destroyed by the Babylonians (2 Chronicles 36:15-20). 50 years later, a remnant of Jews was allowed by king Cyrus to return to Jerusalem to begin rebuilding the city (2 Chron. 36:22). It would be more than 90 years before Nehemiah’s return. 

In 458 BC, Ezra was allowed to lead a second remnant group to start rebuilding the temple (Ezra 7:1-6). However, thirteen years later, the city wall was still in ruins (Neh. 1:3). Nehemiah was heavy-hearted as he thought about the condition of the people and the house of God in Jerusalem who were vulnerable to invasion and desecration (Neh. 2:3). 

Restoration of the protective wall surrounding the 135-acre city was a necessity for preserving the faith and the faithful. The task would be enormous. The base of the original wall was 16 feet wide. Much of the wall and its gates had been leveled. The heavy stone rubble was piled high on the hilly terrain. Nehemiah knew that rebuilding was going to be very difficult (see photo and map of Nehemiah’s wall.). 

Unfortunately for Nehemiah, the skilled stone masons and heavy construction workers were not made available for this job. He would have to rely on the good hearts and hard work of a volunteer workforce. Yet somehow, he and his team completed this undertaking by the end of summer 445BC… in only 52 days! (Nehemiah 6:15). 

Your Leap:
Read Nehemiah 2 
Pray for the heart and strength to work hard and accomplish God’s will.

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