Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, a Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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SCRIPTURE: Nehemiah 9:32-38; 10:28-29
BACKGROUND: The Jews returned to Jerusalem after being slaves in Babylon for seventy years. The Jewish people had not been faithful to God and had paid the price for their disobedience. They now were back home and rebuilding the walls, the city and the temple. In 516 B.C the temple was rededicated seventy years after its destruction in 586 B.C.
INTRODUCTION: In the book of Nehemiah we will see a period of revival which followed the reading of the Word of God by Ezra the man of God (see Nehemiah chapter 8).
(Nehemiah 8:1-4) 1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. 2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. 4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose.
· Ezra and the Jewish people were humbled before God.
This reading probably went on for a long a period of time -- how long we do not know (see Nehemiah 8:1-18). Ezra the scribe read from the pulpit by the water gate, and the people wept and mourned.
Having never heard it before, they were bound to show emotion at the reading of God’s Word. It had a tremendous effect upon the people at the time, and it led them to do the right things.
· Ezra and the Jewish people realized that they had sinned.
They recognized how far short they had fallen from the standard God had set for them. We also see in the Book of Ezra that it had an effect on Ezra himself.
In 2017, America needs a revival, but there cannot be any real revival apart from the Word of God. Our preachers and our people need to teach and preach the Bible!
I. THE RETURNED EXILES CRYED: “WE DESERVE THIS!” (Nehemiah 9:32-35)
(Nehemiah 9:32-35) 32 Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day. 33 Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly: 34 Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them. 35 For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.
“Now therefore . . . ” (Nehemiah 9:32) brings us up to Ezra’s day and the need of the people of Israel to repent and confess sin. They needed revival in their day, and we need revival in 2017.
INSIGHT: The people of Israel had a “roller coaster” kind of life. They were “hot” today and “cold” tomorrow. Sometimes the people were at a spiritual high point with the Lord, and other times they were at a spiritual low point. That was Israel’s history with the Lord, and it caused the Lord to remove them from the Promised Land. (Jerusalem was destroyed and the people became captives in Babylon.) After 70 years they were allowed to return home.
The people of Israel now admit their sins. They cry-out for God’s forgiveness; they cry “we deserve this!” They now mean business for the Lord…
II. THE RETURNED EXILES CRYED: “GOD HELP US!” (Nehemiah 9:36-38)
A. God’s people feared the judgment of God.
(Nehemiah 9:36) Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it.
The Israelites recognized that the judgment of God was upon them. Will the judgment of God come upon our nation? We may not be able to escape it, my friend. We (collectively) have sinned in America!
B. God’s people were ready to obey God.
(Nehemiah 9:37-38) And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress. And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.
The terms of the covenant are seen in Nehemiah chapter 10. Each leader of the nation was asked to put his personal seal on this covenant. The people had resolved to obey God’s Word.
INSIGHT: What kind of a covenant have you made with God? I have heard people say that they will not sign any pledge -- not even to give a certain amount of money to the Lord -- because they might not be able to fulfill their pledge.
May I say to you, if you buy a house, or anything on which you are to make payments, they are certainly going to make you sign on the dotted line. I don’t know why people can sign up for everything else in life, but they are afraid to sign up with God.
Folks, if you mean it, sign up with God. Oh, how many people have failed the Lord, but He is gracious. If we mean business with Him, He means business with us. Amen?
C. God’s people signed their pledge to God.
In chapters 9 & 10 we read that the Israelites are making a covenant with God. They are signing on the dotted line. Have you ever made a covenant with Him? Have you ever promised the Lord anything? A covenant is a serious matter, but I believe the Lord likes to know that we really mean business with Him.
INSIGHT: In these chapters we find that Nehemiah, the governor, and twenty-two priests are listed first. They sign the covenant. Individual Levites sign the names of their families on the covenant. Also, forty-four chiefs of the people are listed.
III. THE RETURNED EXILES CRYED: “WE PROMISE TO CHANGE!” (Nehemiah 10:28-29)
INSIGHT: In a single month, most of the Jewish people learned more about God’s law than they had learned in all their lives before that time. After celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, they were ready for commitment and action. They meant to honor God’s Law!
A. All the leaders agreed to obey God’s commands. (Nehemiah 10:28)
(Nehemiah 10:28) And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding.
A covenant (or agreement) had been drawn up, a promise to obey the law. Leading citizens had affixed their seals to it (Nehemiah 9:38–10:27). Now the historian turns his attention to the rest of the people, and he names several different groups among them.
The priests are in charge of public worship and teaching. The Levites (i.e., those of the historic tribe of Levi) are set apart to the service of God, and served in many ways, from janitor work to teaching and law enforcement. (All priests are Levites, but not all Levites are priests.)
are gatekeepers for the temple, and perhaps the city as well. The singers constitute the
temple choir. The Nethinim
are temple servants whose duties are not clearly
described. Perhaps they did whatever the priests and Levites told them to do
“They that had separated themselves from the people of the lands....” They include whole families: men, women, and children old enough to understand the law that the people now intend to obey. There was no more idol worship or other sins that doomed the people.
B. All the people agreed to obey God’s Word. (Nehemiah 10:29)
(Nehemiah 10:29) They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes.
All the people listed in Nehemiah 10:28 agree with the distinguished citizens who had put their seals on the contract. The distinguished ones are called nobles because they are specially honored as the heads of families or because they had won honor in some other way.
an oath to keep the promise they make. They also place themselves under
God’s curse should they fail to keep it. (See similar promises in
By Dennis Fisher
Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? – Psalm 85:6
While working my way through graduate school, I taught five-string banjo in a music store. The job provided me with the opportunity to buy a brand-new, professional-quality instrument for nearly half-price.
That was over 30 years ago, and that banjo has accompanied me on ministry efforts around the world. But despite its excellent craftsmanship, eventually it needed to be refurbished. A master repairman pointed out how imperfections had worn into the banjo. He was confident that his repairs would result in the instrument sounding better than new.
I wasn’t disappointed. The action on the strings and the clarity of the sound are astonishingly superior to its original condition when I purchased the instrument.
In a way, our lives are like musical instruments intended for “the praise of the glory of [God’s] grace” (Ephesians 1:6). But over time, life wears us down. Our hearts cry out for renewal. The psalmist prayed: “Will You not revive us again?” (Psalm 85:6). The Hebrew word for revive means not only “to restore and refresh” but also “to repair.”
It’s vital that we submit our souls to the Master’s restorative touch. Why not set aside some time for spiritual retreat, and ask the Lord to repair your heart?
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above. -- Mackay
-- Adapted from Dennis Fisher, Our Daily Bread, December 29, 2008
CONCLUSION: What have we learned from Nehemiah chapters 9 &10?
· The Israelites had a revival when they heard the Word of God, confessed their sins, and worshipped the Lord.
This is a balanced ministry: the Word of God reveals our sin and God’s forgiveness; confession brings forgiveness; and forgiveness should lead to praise. That is REVIVAL!
· The people stood up to hear the Word (Nehemiah 9:5), and the choir encouraged them to stand up and praise the Lord (Nehemiah 9:5)!
The Lord is the God of creation (Nehemiah 9:6), the God of the covenant (Nehemiah 9:7–8), and the God of redemption (Nehemiah 9:9–15). He is long-suffering with His people and meets their needs even when they do not obey His commands (Nehemiah 9:16–31). The song ended with the people entering into a covenant with the Lord (Nehemiah 9:32–38).
· The message of Nehemiah chapters 9 &10 is a reminder of how God ministers to His people.
(1) God brought them out (Nehemiah 9:7), (2) God brought them through (Nehemiah 9:11), (3) God brought them in (Nehemiah 9:23), and (4) God saved them from their enemies (Nehemiah 9:27).
What a sad record of Israel’s sins! But God invites His people to make new beginnings and to let Him bury the past.
INSIGHT: It’s one thing to attend a feast, sing praises to God, and hear the Bible read and explained, and quite something else to commit yourself to obey the will of God.
The eighty-four men who put their seal to the covenant wanted God and the people to know that they were serious about obedience.
These names represented whole families (Nehemiah 10:28), so that more people were involved in this solemn commitment than are named in chapter 10. The Lord honors that!
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Time in Christ’s service requires time out for revival.”
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
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E-mail: Ronald Purkey