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  The Great Bible Story #85
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Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem

Jacob Ninan
While Ezra the scribe was teaching the scriptures to the people at Jerusalem, Nehemiah was the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes at Susa the capital of Persia. His brother came from Judah and told him that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down. This became a burden for Nehemiah, and he wept before God, asking Him for help. The king noticed his sad face and asked him what was wrong. Nehemiah shot a quick prayer to God and asked for favour from the king to travel to Jerusalem to rebuild it. The king agreed, and also gave permission to cut timber for the work. Many times this is how God works: giving a burden to someone who carries it in his heart praying for help and guidance from God, and then accomplishing a great work through that person.

When Nehemiah reached Jerusalem he didn't tell anyone his mission, but went at night and surveyed the condition of the walls. Finally when he shared his burden with the officials and the priests they all agreed to share the work of rebuilding the walls. When foreigners Sanballat and Tobiah heard about the plans they accused them of wanting to rebel against the king. Nehemiah replied that God would help them to build His city.

Groups of Jews started working on different parts of the wall. Sanballat and Tobiah kept trying to discourage and threaten them in many ways. So the people became vigilant, looking out for enemies. They also began to carry weapons to defend themselves if necessary. Some of them worked with a weapon in one hand while they used the other hand for the construction work. Nehemiah kept praying for God's help. Finally the work was complete, and the people dedicated themselves to the Lord. Nehemiah tried to bring about many reforms and bring them in their heart back to where God wanted them. Ezra kept exhorting them from the scriptures.

One of the things the people of Israel and Judah who came back to their land finally learned through the bitter experience of the exile was not to go back to idol worship. But their heart was still not entirely right with God. Different prophets spoke about the destruction of the nations that had attacked Israel, and many about the coming Messiah and the new covenant. The last prophet to speak to the people of Israel and Judah was Malachi who told them about returning to God with all their heart. After him there was a gap of almost four hundred years during which there was no word from the Lord. And then the Messiah came.


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Comfort & Counsel