INTRODUCTION: Following over 60 years in Babylonian captivity God moves on the heart of the ruler of Babylon, King Cyrus of Persia, to issue an edict stating that willing Jews can return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and the city.
A man named Ezra takes leadership and after opposition the work is completed around 515 BC.
After the temple had been rebuilt the Jewish community there was dispirited and defenseless against its non-Jewish neighbors.
This is where we pick up in the Book of Nehemiah in your Bible.
Nehemiah was still in Persia serving the King. Hanani one of his friends comes with others from Judah and Nehemiah ask them how are the Jews doing in Jerusalem who had returned there from captivity and he asked about Jerusalem.
Nehemiah 1:3 (nlt)- “They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
They were in great distress and reproach. THEY WERE BROKEN BECAUSE THE WALL WAS BROKEN AND THE CITY GATES BURNED.
The “gates” of the city were significant because to control the gates of ones enemies was to conquer their city.
City gates were part of the protection against invaders.
Rulers met and counsel was given at the city gates. Important business transactions took place at the city gates. Court was convened at the city gates and public announcements were made.
The City Walls represented the strength of the people and also the God they served.
A city with broken walls represented a defeated people. and rebuilding those walls was an important sign to the enemies of Israel.
Psalms 122 (nlt)- “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” And now here we are, standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a well-built city; its seamless walls cannot be breached. All the tribes of Israel—the Lord’s people—make their pilgrimage here. They come to give thanks to the name of the Lord, as the law requires of Israel. Here stand the thrones where judgment is given,
the thrones of the dynasty of David. Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper. O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.”
This was the place people join together to worship God!
But in the Book of Nehemiah we find the gates burning and the city wall destroyed!
AND WE DISCOVER THAT NEHEMIAH IS BROKEN BECAUSE OF THE BROKEN!
My friends there are so many broken people in our world. Broken Christians, broken people who do not know Christ. WE LIVE IN A BROKEN WORLD!
Broken marriages. Broken because of divorce. Broken finances. Broken relationships with children. Broken lives because of sin. Broken because of addiction. Broken because of abuse. Broken because disappointments. Broken because of abandonment. Broken churches.
BUT HERE’S WHAT I LOVE ABOUT NEHEMIAH. HE WAS A REBUILDER OF THE BROKEN!
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A REBUILDER OF THE BROKEN?
Matthew 9:36 (nlt)- “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Compassion- It’s more along the lines of being so moved by something that you feel it deep in your stomach.
Nehemiah 1:4 (nlt)“When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.”
Do we have compassion for the broken today?
Nehemiah was broken for the broken! Compassion flooded his heart for the hurting in Jerusalem.
True compassion demands a response!
COMPASSION WILL CAUSE YOU TO _____________BECAUSE YOU HAVE A CAUSE!
- Call On God
Nehemiah 1:5 (nkjv)- “And I said: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God,..”
Nehemiah 1:6 (nkjv)- “please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants,”
Nehemiah is capturing the heart of God! He’s hearing the call of God so he’s calling on God!
WHAT HASN’T MOVED YOU TO PRAYER HASN’T MOVED YOU YET!
COMPASSION WILL CAUSE YOU TO CALL ON GOD BECAUSE YOU HAVE A CAUSE!
b. Take Responsibility
Nehemiah 1:11 (nkjv)- “O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
For I was the king’s cupbearer.”
God I’m taking responsibility! Grant me mercy Father! Prosper me Father!
Nehemiah didn’t just pray that things would get better for those in Jerusalem. An out of sight out of mind prayer.
COMPASSION WILL CAUSE YOU TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY BECAUSE YOU HAVE A CAUSE.
c. Move Out of Your Comfort Zone
Nehemiah was the King’s cupbearer. He brought the King his wine and tested his wine to make sure it wasn’t poisonous.
Nehemiah had a comfortable life living in the palace serving the King. BUT IT DOESN’T STOP THERE.
Nehemiah had never appeared before the King sad. A cupbearer was to never show his emotions before the King. TO VIOLATE THAT WAS PUNISHABLE BY DEATH.
Nehemiah 2:2 (nkjv)- “Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.”
So I became dreadfully afraid,”
Nehemiah was moved out of his comfort zone as he stood before the King and presented his request to the King!
Nehemiah left a fortified city to go to a city with broken walls and burned gates!
HE TOOK A RISK!
COMPASSION WILL CAUSE YOU TO MOVE OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE BECAUSE YOU HAVE A CAUSE.
CONCLUSION: Maybe you’re here today and your thought is “How can I ever be a rebuilder of the broken because I’m broken myself.
HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS. THERE’S SOEONE WHO HAS COMPASSION ON YOU. HIS COMPASSION CAUSED HIM TO CAPTURE THE HEART OF HIS FATHER AND HE TOOK RESPONSIBILITY AND MOVED OUT OF HIS COMFORT ZONE.
HIS NAME IS JESUS.
Luke 4:18-19 (tlb)- ““The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.”
WHAT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT SAYING TO YOU TODAY?
Do you know Him! Have put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior. He rebuilds broken people.
Maybe at one time your heart burned with compassion for something. But that fire has been diminished for one reason or another.
TODAY WE’RE GOING TO PRAY THAT GOD REKINDLE THAT FIRE OF COMPASSION.