AudioEvangelism.com - Practical Lessons From Nehemiah (Part 3) Practical Lessons From Nehemiah (Part 3)
Our next practical lesson from Nehemiah is this:

9. DON'T WASTE TIME OR ENERGY TRYING TO PLEASE IMPOSSIBLE PEOPLE.
Nehemiah 6:1-3 - "Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, 'Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.' But they thought to do me harm. So I sent messengers to them, saying, 'I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?'"

The enemies were probably looking for some sort of compromise, now that they have failed to stop the rebuilding of the wall. Nehemiah has no time or interest bothering with them, though he answers tactfully (cf. Col. 4:6). There are some today whom we will deal with in life who do not have the Lord's interests at heart and are exceedingly difficult to please. Be kind to them, but don't get sidetracked from a good work trying to appease them.

10. IN EVERY GENUINE REVIVAL, THE WORD OF GOD IS ALWAYS IN THE FOREFRONT.
Nehemiah 8:1-3 - "Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law."

The Bible is understandable. These Jews listened to God's word being read for several hours (perhaps 3 or 4)! Why is it that they could be attentive for hours while some today can hardly bear 30 minutes of preaching? Is the problem with the Scriptures or with the listeners? "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"(Matt. 13:9).

11. THE FUNCTION OF A BIBLE TEACHER IS TO HELP OTHERS UNDERSTAND GOD'S WORD.
Nehemiah 8:8 - "So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading."

The function of a Bible teacher is not to entertain or pass time; we have plenty of ways to be entertained and pass time already. The function of a Bible teacher is to help educate minds in God's word that they might live better lives for the Lord. So simple, yet so often neglected today!

12. UNDERSTANDING & OBEYING GOD'S WORD BRINGS JOY.
Nehemiah 8:12 - "And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them."

Initially, the people were disturbed by what they heard read from God's word (i.e., all the things they hadn't been obeying, no doubt), but that day was one set apart for holiness, joy, and sharing--not mourning. The people were penitent and they understood the Scriptures (some likely for the first time), and that was (and is) something to rejoice over. The time would soon be proper for confession of sins and mourning (cf. Neh. 9).

13. RESTORATION IS A CONTINUAL PROCESS.
If we wanted to devote the space to reading much of Nehemiah 13, we would see the reforms that Nehemiah had to keep making among the people. Though they started down the right path initially by understanding and submitting to God's word, Nehemiah left Jerusalem for a time and the people backslid in various ways (e.g., corruption at the temple, a failure to give properly, manifold Sabbath violations, marriage to pagans, etc.). Here we see a classic example of the fact that even when you get going on the right path, it is easy to falter without continual guidance from God's word (cf. I Cor. 10:12; Rom. 12:1,2)!

14. OUR DESIRE SHOULD BE FOR GOD'S FAVOR, NOT MAN'S.
Nehemiah 13:31 - "...Remember me, O my God, for good!"

Nehemiah was living to please God, not men, and the wise will follow his lead today (cf. Gal. 1:10). He knew he was not perfect, and he didn't claim such. He begged God to remember him for the good he had accomplished in His service.