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ASK Leaders May 21

May 21:  Nehemiah Rebuilt the Walls
Bible Passage:
  Nehemiah 1-7
Christ Connection:  Nehemiah helped God’s people fix the walls around their city. The walls protected the people from their enemies.  Jesus protects us from our enemies.
Bottom Line:  I can always return to and follow God.

Leader Study:  Recall the last time you were faced with devastating news or found yourself filled with angst, worry, or fear. How did you respond? Anger and bitterness are common reactions to bad news. We may feel tempted to isolate ourselves from others. Grief is complex, and responses vary greatly. However, according to the Bible, Nehemiah’s response is the best response. We read about Nehemiah’s general response in Nehemiah 1:4. Then in Nehemiah 1:5-11, we discover the specific way that Nehemiah prayed in response to this devastating news. He recognized God’s faithfulness, requested God’s ear, confessed sin, and committed his people to the Lord’s care. Nehemiah began his prayer with a recognition of the faithfulness of God. He indicated his confidence that God had been and would continue to be faithful. He then requested God’s ear. Though Nehemiah was confident that God heard him, he opened and closed his prayer of dependence by begging God to listen to his request. Why did Nehemiah pray this way? Likely, he was further demonstrating his deep conviction that God and God alone is able to work in such a way that would bring about restoration. Nehemiah’s prayer also demonstrates his belief that sin has serious consequences. He confessed his own sin and the sin of his family, recognizing that God was fully aware of their sin, but also that this sin was not to be taken lightly and needed to be dealt with. Finally, he committed his family—the Jewish people—into the hands of this faithful and just God. He trusted God to be faithful to His word and His people. Though Nehemiah didn’t know what the outcome would be, he was confident in his God, that He would remain faithful no matter what. Nehemiah’s response demonstrated a deep love, trust, and confidence in God that is exemplary for each of us. When we face moments of devastation, we can—with deep dependence—turn to God and find comfort.
Small Group Plans
  • Because God is in control of every situation. We can trust and believe that He will be faithful to us.  God proved His faithfulness through Nehemiah’s leadership.
  • When Nehemiah heard about Jerusalem, He confessed His sin to God and repented of the wrong things He and God’s people did.  Then, He lead the people to rebuild the wall.
  • When the wall was completed in 52 days, it proved that God was with them.  This caused great fear among the enemies of God and great hope in the people of God.
  • When we sin, we should tell God that we are sorry for disobeying Him. We can always do what Nehemiah did, confess our sin, repent of our wrongs and follow God.
  • Bottom Line:  I can always return to and follow God.

Discussion Questions
  • Why did Nehemiah respond with sadness when He heard about the walls being down and the gates burned?  He was heartbroken because the people of God were in danger without walls.   He also knew that the walls were a symbol of their broken relationship with Him.
  • What did Nehemiah do when He realized how bad things were in Jerusalem?  He confessed His sin and repented of His wrongs and the wrongs of God’s people.  He did business with God before He began the work to rebuild the wall.  When we do wrong things, we too should turn to God, confess our sins and repent of our actions.
  • What did Nehemiah tell his people when they were being attacked and threatened? [Allow responses.] He told them to trust God. God would protect His people. 
  • How long did it take to repair the wall? [Allow responses.] It only took 52 days to rebuild the wall! That was so fast that the enemies around Jerusalem knew the Jews had God’s help.
  • How does God protect us today?  [Allow responses.] God protects us in ways that we may never see.  He also protects us as we make decisions to obey Him.  Obeying Him protects us from doing wrong and then experiencing the consequences.  God protects us by giving us a loving family.
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