Jehovah’s Word Is Alive
Highlights From the Book of Nehemiah
1 TWELVE years have passed since the closing events recorded in the Bible book of Ezra took place. The time is now near for “the going forth of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem”
2 Written by Governor Nehemiah, the book is an exciting account of how true worship is exalted when resolute action is combined with total reliance on Jehovah God. It clearly shows how Jehovah maneuvers matters to have his will accomplished. It is also the story of a strong and courageous leader. The message of the book of Nehemiah provides valuable lessons for all true worshippers today, “for the word of God is alive and exerts power.”
“AT LENGTH THE WALL CAME TO COMPLETION”
3 Nehemiah is in Shushan the castle, serving King Artaxerxes Longimanus in a trusted position. Upon hearing the news that his people “are in a very bad plight and in reproach; and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its very gates have been burned with fire,” Nehemiah is deeply disturbed. He fervently prays to God for direction. (Nehemiah 1:3, 4) In time, the king notices Nehemiah’s sadness, and the way opens up for him to go to Jerusalem.
4 After arriving in Jerusalem, Nehemiah inspects the wall under the cover of darkness, and he reveals to the Jews his plan to rebuild the wall. Construction begins. So does opposition to the work. Under the courageous leadership of Nehemiah, however, “at length the wall [comes] to completion.”
Scriptural Questions Answered:
5 1:1; 2:1
6 4:17, 18
Lessons for Us:
9 1:4; 2:4; 4:4, 5. When faced with difficult situations or when making important decisions, we should “persevere in prayer” and act in harmony with theocratic direction.
10 1:11–2:8; 4:4, 5, 15, 16; 6:16. Jehovah answers the sincere prayers of his servants.
11 1:4; 4:19, 20; 6:3, 15. While Nehemiah was a man of tender feelings, he set a fine example as a man of action who was firm for righteousness.
12 1:11–2:3. Nehemiah’s main source of joy was not his prestigious position as a cupbearer. It was the advancement of true worship. Should not Jehovah’s worship and all that promotes it be our main concern and chief source of joy?
13 2:4-8. Jehovah caused Artaxerxes to grant Nehemiah permission to go and rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. “A king’s heart is as streams of water in the hand of Jehovah,” says Proverbs 21:1. “Everywhere that he delights to, he turns it.”
14 3:5, 27. We should not consider manual work done in the interests of true worship beneath our dignity, as did the “majestic ones” of the Tekoites. Rather, we can imitate the common Tekoites who willingly expended themselves.
15 3:10, 23, 28-30. While some are able to move where the need for Kingdom proclaimers is greater, many of us support true worship close to our home. We can do so by participating in Kingdom Hall construction work and disaster relief efforts but primarily by sharing in the Kingdom-preaching work.
16 4:14. When faced with opposition, we too can overcome fear by keeping in our mind “the great and the fear-inspiring One.”
17 5:14-19. For Christian overseers, Governor Nehemiah is a splendid example of humility, unselfishness, and discretion. Though zealous in enforcing God’s Law, he did not domineer over others for selfish gain. Rather, he showed concern for the oppressed and the poor. In displaying generosity, Nehemiah set an outstanding example for all of God’s servants.
“DO REMEMBER ME, O MY GOD, FOR GOOD”
18 As soon as Jerusalem’s wall is completed, Nehemiah sets up the gates and makes arrangements to secure the city. He proceeds to make a genealogical record of the people. As all the people assemble “at the public square that was before the Water Gate,” Ezra the priest reads the book of the Law of Moses, and Nehemiah and the Levites explain the Law to the people. (Nehemiah 8:1) Learning about the Festival of Booths leads to their holding an observance of it with rejoicing.
19 Another gathering follows, during which “the seed of Israel” make confession of national sins, the Levites review God’s dealings with Israel, and the people take an oath “to walk in the law of the true God.” (Nehemiah 9:1, 2; 10:29) Since Jerusalem is still underpopulated, lots are cast to have 1 of every 10 men living outside the city move into the city. Next, the wall is inaugurated with such spirit that “the rejoicing of Jerusalem [can] be heard far away.” (Nehemiah 12:43) Twelve years after his arrival, Nehemiah leaves Jerusalem to return to his duties with Artaxerxes. Uncleanness soon creeps in among the Jews. Upon his return to Jerusalem, Nehemiah takes decisive action to correct the situation. For himself, he makes a humble request: “Do remember me, O my God, for good.”
Scriptural Questions Answered:
22 13:6, footnote
23 13:25, 28
Lessons for Us:
24 8:8. As teachers of God’s Word, we ‘put meaning into it’ by using good enunciation and oral emphasis and by expounding on the Scriptures correctly, making clear their application.
25 8:10. “The joy of Jehovah” comes from being conscious of and satisfying one’s spiritual need and from following theocratic direction. How vital that we diligently study the Bible, regularly attend Christian meetings, and zealously share in the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work!
26 11:2. Leaving one’s hereditary possession and moving into Jerusalem involved personal expense and some disadvantages. Those who volunteered to do this showed a self-sacrificing spirit. We too can show such a spirit when opportunities arise to volunteer our services in behalf of others at conventions and on other occasions.
27 12:31, 38, 40-42. Singing is a fine way to praise Jehovah and express our gratitude to him. We should sing wholeheartedly at Christian gatherings.
28 13:4-31. We must be on guard against allowing materialism, corruption, and apostasy to make inroads into our lives.
29 13:22. Nehemiah was well-aware that he was accountable to God. We too need to be aware of our accountability to Jehovah.
Jehovah’s Blessing a Must!
30 “Unless Jehovah himself builds the house,” sang the psalmist, “it is to no avail that its builders have worked hard on it.” (Psalm 127:1) How beautifully the book of Nehemiah illustrates the truth of those words!
31 The lesson for us is clear. If we want to succeed in whatever endeavors we undertake, we must have Jehovah’s blessing. Can we really expect Jehovah to bless us unless we give true worship the first place in our lives? Like Nehemiah, then, let us make Jehovah’s worship and its advancement our prime concern.
[Picture on page 8]
“A king’s heart is as streams of water in the hand of Jehovah”
[Picture on page 9]
[Pictures on page 10, 11]
Do you know how to ‘put meaning into’ God’s Word?