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#1 Tarinus_*

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 11:31 PM

What was he like as a person?

Many who saw Nehemiah in action might have considered him to be a harsh individual. A fiery individual who got his way… and made sure of it.

And yet, there was another side to Nehemiah which was very much hidden. He was a thinker… he didn’t do things rashly… he planned, he considered… he prayed… and then he acted – often with such a decisiveness that you’d almost think… has he thought this through? Is he being rash?

Another thing that people might not have picked about Nehemiah, was that he was a tremendously humble individual.
Some people might never have thought that possible.
Often, he would have appeared self righteous, indignant or even arrogant…
But the truth was that he wasn’t motivated by a self righteousness or arrogance at all.

He was a very humble man.
He was a man very conscious of the presence of God, and of God’s guidance in his life.
Yet it is true that he definitely knew how to speak his mind, and he knew how to lead.

#2 Tarinus_*

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 11:35 PM

Much of the narrative in the book of Nehemiah is in the personal pronoun – so what we have here is Nehemiah’s personal memoirs or diary.
This makes the book unique. We have Nehemiah’s personal thoughts and how he felt in relation to certain circumstances that best him.
We have a unique insight into his relationship with his God.

One of the lessons we learn straight away from Nehemiah I believe is to be careful what we think of our brethren and sisters.
Sometimes what we see, in a certain context, might not be a true indicator as to the spirit motivating them…sometimes people might be softer underneath than they appear to be… and Nehemiah is a case in point.

But lets have a look at some of these characteristics… and we’ll be balanced, because we don’t want a warped view of his character.

#3 Tarinus_*

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 11:47 PM

Nehemiah was a 'no nonsense' man.
He had no trouble calling a spade, a spade.
He knew his own mind, he knew what God thought, and he wasn’t afraid to speak it.

In chapter 2, in response to the derision and scorn of three characters (Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem the Arabian) he says replies:

Nehemiah 2
20 Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; (confidence in his God – there’s another characteristic of Nehemiah's) therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.

:fury: "Get outta here... you don’t belong!"

Nehemiah was a straight talker!

This is very impressive when we consider that the people he was talking to were not just foreign enemies that all Israelites hated...
At least one of them was well known and well favoured among the Israelites!
One of them at least had connection with the High Priest by marriage, and when Nehemiah returned for the second time, Tobiah was living in a room adjoined to the temple! (I'll comment on what Nehemiah did then further down this page.)

In chapter 5 Nehemiah dealt with the nobles' exploitation of the poor.

Here again, we have a very illuminating section with regard to Nehemiah's character:
The people came to him and cried for the exploitation that they were enduring…

How was Nehemiah was affected by their words?

Nehemiah 5
6 And I was very angry :fury: when I heard their cry and these words.

So what did he do?

Did he immediately :argue: ?

No.

7 Then I consulted with myself, (he waited till that initial anger had subsided… he considered what to do next…how best to handle this situation) and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.
8 And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing [to answer].



So he picked his moment, and gave it to them… :argue: but this wasn’t rash reaction… it wasn’t knee jerkit was considered. It was thought through… and it achieved the desired reaction. :clap2:

#4 Tarinus_*

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 12:00 AM

Now... Nehemiah 13:
Further example of Nehemiah... in action

6 But in all this [time] was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I unto the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king:
7 And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
(amazing situation!!!)
8 And it grieved me sore: :fury: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber. :whistle:

One can see Nehemiah: “what’s all this then… :blink: think you're living in here do ya punk? :nono: out! out! out”

There was another problem… merchants selling in Jerusalem on the Sabbath day…

17 Then I contended ( :argue: ) with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing [is] this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day?
18 Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.

He did not fear. He had no political considerations (he was talking to nobles)
But wrong is wrong and that’s it. :fortigurn:

And so he banned them from coming in the city on the Sabbath… :evangelion:

20 So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice.
21 Then I testified against them, ( :argue: ) and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do [so] again, I will lay hands on you. ( :stretcher: ) From that time forth came they no [more] on the sabbath.

So he was a man you didn’t mess with! But it was a correct spirit which motivated all that…

#5 Tarinus_*

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 12:05 AM

Back in chapter 4, we learn he was a hard worker, and he led from the front.

Nehemiah 4
21 So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared. (now that’s a long day… no 9-5 nonsense here…)
22 Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day.
23 So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, [saving that] every one put them off for washing. ( :woot: )

Commitment.
Hard work.
One of the people!

In chapter 5 we see that Nehemiah didn’t ask anything of you that he wasn’t prepared to do himself.

Nehemiah 5
14 Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, [that is], twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor.

You didn’t find Nehemiah resting on rank, or putting about airs and throwing around authority.
As a governor, he was entitled to a decent meal, more decent than the ordinary… he refused it.
He didn’t lord it over his brethren…

1 Peter 5
2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3 Neither as being lords over [God's] heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.


Later in Nehemiah it says the building prospered because the people ‘had a mind to work’.

Where did they get that mindset from? It was from Nehemiah’s example.

#6 Tarinus_*

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 12:09 AM

Now, some of Nehemiah’s private thoughts:

Again, illuminating as to his character.

Here is a thought which re-occurs time and again throughout his diary…

Nehemiah 5
19 Think upon me, my God, for good, [according] to all that I have done for this people.

Now is this a boast? ‘Think upon me, my God, for good’…
At first sight it might appear to be a product of pride…
It might appear to be a boast… but I believe they are the words of a humble man.

Nehemiah 13
14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof.

22 And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and [that] they should come [and] keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, [concerning] this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.

The last words of Nehemiah…

31 And for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.

By this expression, Nehemiah’s clear implication is that there was iniquity in him, and if God wanted to, he could hold that against Nehemiah, He could remember him for evil

Nehemiah knew that… he admitted that, so this familiar refrain was not a boast, it was a plea for mercy.
It was the thoughts and inner groaning of a man who desperately wanted to find favour with his God whom he loved.

#7 Tarinus_*

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 12:12 AM

Another thing we stated about Nehemiah at the outset was his consciousness of God’s presence in his life. He was always praying. He was always aware of God’s hand in his life…

How often do we go through a day having hardly given our Heavenly Father a second thought… ? :shy: Nehemiah wasn’t like that…

Nehemiah 2
8 And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which [appertained] to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.

18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for [this] good [work].

He had clearly attributed the positive outcome of the interview with the king as God’s doing and blessing.

He is very aware of the presence of God in his life.

This is of course, also evident in his famous prayer, which was not a spur of the moment thing… it was just the natural reaction of this man to the circumstance he found himself in, and it was indicative of the existence of a very deep relationship he had with his God.

Edited by Tarinus, 11 August 2003 - 01:04 AM.


#8 Matthew Hawkins_*

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 02:39 AM

In view of the type of character that he was, Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah could also be seen to have the same kind of personality.

It would have been very unwise for someone to trifle with Nehemia, Elijah, Samuel and Isaiah.

Once more, during the time of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther, there was one thing that Ezra and Hehemia had in common,

Ezra was grieved at the state of the remnant of the people, after the intermarriages, the faithless state of the people and element of idolatry, that he was pulling his own hair out.


Whereas, Nehemia was doing the opposite, as when he would come across someone who stood out of line and was opposing the ordinaces of God in the land, he would be puling their hair out.

Hair removal, :D obviously done with different methods to eachother.

#9 Deborah

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 04:41 AM

He was a very humble man.
He was a man very conscious of the presence of God, and of God’s guidance in his life.
Yet it is true that he definitely knew how to speak his mind, and he knew how to lead.


Wow! How many of us with fiery natures can take on a role of leadership and not be arrogant? Er …

One of the lessons we learn straight away from Nehemiah I believe is to be careful what we think of our brethren and sisters.
Sometimes what we see, in a certain context, might not be a true indicator as to the spirit motivating them…sometimes people might be softer underneath than they appear to be… and Nehemiah is a case in point.


:thumbsup:

Nehemiah was a 'no nonsense' man.
He had no trouble calling a spade, a spade.
He knew his own mind, he knew what God thought, and he wasn’t afraid to speak it.


Nehemiah possessed a lot of courage! I guess many of us are hesitant to speak up and point out the truth of a matter in the fear of offending or receiving a negative response but as the Apostle Paul said - “If God be for us who can be against us?” :first:

Then I consulted with myself, (he waited till that initial anger had subsided… he considered what to do next…how best to handle this situation) and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers,

but this wasn’t rash reaction… it wasn’t knee jerk… it was considered. It was thought through… and it achieved the desired reaction.


Just as Christ would have considered his actions very carefully as he overthrew the tables of the money changers in His Father’s temple.

One can see Nehemiah: “what’s all this then… think you're living in here do ya punk? out! out! out”


:hilarious:

You didn’t find Nehemiah resting on rank, or putting about airs and throwing around authority.
As a governor, he was entitled to a decent meal, more decent than the ordinary… he refused it.
He didn’t lord it over his brethren…


This guy is amazing!! :bow:

And for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.

By this expression, Nehemiah’s clear implication is that there was iniquity in him, and if God wanted to, he could hold that against Nehemiah, He could remember him for evil

Nehemiah knew that… he admitted that, so this familiar refrain was not a boast, it was a plea for mercy.
It was the thoughts and inner groaning of a man who desperately wanted to find favour with his God whom he loved.


Do we seek the same thing or do we seek the favour of men? :unsure:

This is of course, also evident in his famous prayer, which was not a spur of the moment thing… it was just the natural reaction of this man to the circumstance he found himself in, and it was indicative of the existence of a very deep relationship he had with his God.



Are we *that* close to God?

“In ALL thy ways *acknowledge* him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:6)

Top stuff Tarinus :clap2:

#10 Tarinus_*

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 09:28 PM

“In ALL thy ways *acknowledge* him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:6)



Exactly the right quote! :clap2:

Also, I thought that maybe when Nehemiah stood before the King, this Proverb came into his mind. (even if it didn't, he certainly appreciated and believed the principle)

Proverbs 21
1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

#11 Deborah

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 06:27 AM

Beauty! :thumbsup:

#12 Parakaleo_*

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 06:09 AM

Nehemiah was a 'no nonsense' man.
He had no trouble calling a spade, a spade.
He knew his own mind, he knew what God thought, and he wasn’t afraid to speak it.


Nehemiah possessed a lot of courage! I guess many of us are hesitant to speak up and point out the truth of a matter in the fear of offending or receiving a negative response but as the Apostle Paul said - “If God be for us who can be against us?”


We need to qualify this, because there are times of open disobedience of God which needs to be spoken out again, like Nehemiah did (like the problems in our day) and there are times when people with different views on non fundamental issues, both thinking they are zealously serving God, need to be brought together with careful compromise, like James at the Jerusalem Conference ruling on the behaviour of Jews and Gentiles.

We are usually in the second category and this *always* requires careful dealing, because we need to act in a spirit of love to keep people near God, not drive them away.

Both are necessary, but I have always found this quote very relevant:

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference"

Edited by chairete, 21 September 2003 - 05:10 PM.


#13 Adanac

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 08:04 AM

The first few verses of Nehemiah 6 point forward to Christ on the cross. Anybody see it?

#14 Fortigurn

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 08:08 AM

:book: :eek:

#15 Adanac

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 08:13 AM

What did they say to Jesus when he was on the cross that was also said to Nehemiah?

#16 Tarinus_*

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 04:28 PM

ah... amanap,
Would you be referring to the 'that thou mayest be their king' bit? :blink:
and... Ono!... I see it now... is something going to be made of Nehemiah saying:
'I [am] doing a great work, so that I cannot come down' :eek: ??

#17 Tarinus_*

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 05:02 PM

We need to qualify this, because there are times of open disobedience of God which needs to be spoken out again, like Nehemiah did (like the problems in our day) and there are times when people with different views on non fundamental issues, both thinking they are zealously serving God, need to be brought together with careful compromise, like James at the Jerusalem Conference ruling on the behaviour of Jews and Gentiles.

We are usually in the second category and this *always* requires careful dealing, because we need to act in a spirit of love to keep people near God, not drive them away.

Both are necessary, but I have always found this quote very relevant:

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference"


:clap2:

That's a great quote isn't... maintaining that serenity can be very difficult when faced with things which we really wish we could change!

I believe Nehemiah had that balance. He wasn't rash. He thought things through.
I need to remember this. :rolleyes:

Edited by chairete, 21 September 2003 - 05:12 PM.


#18 Adanac

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 08:39 PM

ah... amanap,
Would you be referring to the 'that thou mayest be their king' bit? :blink:
and... Ono!... I see it now... is something going to be made of Nehemiah saying:
'I [am] doing a great work, so that I cannot come down' :eek: ??

Yes, doesn't that remind you of Christ on the cross?

#19 Deborah

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 09:10 PM

We need to qualify this, because there are times of open disobedience of God which needs to be spoken out again, like Nehemiah did (like the problems in our day) and there are times when people with different views on non fundamental issues, both thinking they are zealously serving God, need to be brought together with careful compromise, like James at the Jerusalem Conference ruling on the behaviour of Jews and Gentiles.


Speaking up is a hard thing. If we enjoy pointing out another’s error than we’ve totally lost the plot! If we think things through first and then inform our erring sister or brother that they are heading down the wrong path and as a result they take offence, well, that’s just unfortunate. I don’t think you can distinguish the type of problems you can and can’t speak up about. If the matter involves one compromising Godly principles it’s wrong and, as much as people don’t want to hear the truth at times, it needs to be said. Of course, Matthew 7:1-5 must always be kept in mind.

We are usually in the second category and this *always* requires careful dealing, because we need to act in a spirit of love to keep people near God, not drive them away.


It’s natural for us to get on the defence when we are told we are doing the wrong thing. We can make excuses like - “He may be right but he didn’t have to say it quite like that” or “She’s such a hypocrite, she does things wrong too.” But really, what we all, as brothers and sisters, need to keep in mind is that when someone ‘blows the trumpet’ we need to listen to them as a messenger from God.

Listen to their words and distinguish if they are derived from Godly principles. Don’t start analysing their motives, or getting all defensive because they hit a sore spot, or completely ignore them because you don’t like them very much .. really *listen* and contemplate their rebuke. See if there is something to learn from it.

God wants teachable children. David is such a wonderful example. He proclaims -“Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart” His reaction to Nathan’s rebuke is also great lesson. Nathan revealed a parable to make David think. He then, I believe quite firmly, pronounced - “Thou are the man!” And what was David’s response? - “Excuse me, who do you think you are?” No! It was - “I have sinned against Yahweh”

Let’s endeavour not to take offence to the ‘Nehemiah’s’ within the brotherhood and really take heed to the warning of others.

Edited by chairete, 21 September 2003 - 05:12 PM.


#20 Deborah

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 11:55 PM

"Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful" (Proverbs 27:5-6)

:smart:




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