Last week, I began a brand new sermon series from the second half of the book of Nehemiah that I have entitled, “Returning to What Matters Most.” The book of Nehemiah begins by telling us that Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes. In 445 B.C., he heard troubling news from one of his countrymen about the conditions of the city of Jerusalem. For many years, the walls and gates of the city had been in shambles. The exiles who had begun returning were living in shame and reproach. Nehemiah became burdened and sensed the call of God upon his life to make the long journey to Jerusalem and launch a massive rebuilding project. The project would not be easy, and he would face his share of criticism and opposition. He had to overcome great adversity and conflict. When it was all said and done, the work was completed in just 52 days and the enemy perceived that it was a supernatural work of God.
The first half of the book of Nehemiah pertains to rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem; the second half deals with a revival of worship among the citizens living behind it. What good is a rebuilt city if the spiritual fervor and devotion of the people is lacking? God is more interested in being glorified in the lives of His people than He is mere brick and mortar. By the time we get to chapter 7, there was somewhat of a spiritual vacuum in the city. The wall had been built and the people were living in their own dwellings, and chapter 7 records the organizational structure of the city that Nehemiah had put into place. Chapter 7 reveals how the people had become well organized, well defended, and well governed. You can have organization and still be hollow. Something was still lacking, and chapter 8 addresses it.
Within these final chapters of Nehemiah, I believe that we find a blueprint for revival and spiritual awakening. Organization will only get you so far. The people of God are known for the presence of God in their midst and the power of God in their lives.
What Jerusalem needed was a revival!
Join us at Green Street this Sunday as we begin looking at the necessary components for a God-sent revival in the hearts and lives of God’s people.