1 – “ Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor. The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God. I also persevered in the work on this wall, and we acquired no land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work. Moreover, there were at my table 150 men, Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. Now what was prepared at my expense for each day was one ox and six choice sheep and birds, and every ten days all kinds of wine in abundance. Yet for all this I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the service was too heavy on this people. Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.” (Nehemiah 5:14-19, ESV)
RAF: It is incumbent upon leadership to be careful not to overburden the people. Especially not to tax them for personal gain.
2 – “And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the samemanner.” (Nehemiah 6:4, ESV)
RAF: If temptation cannot succeed by the mere issue it proposes, it will try to win the day by repeated appeals – hoping to wear you down. Stay firm.
3 – “For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.” (Nehemiah 6:9, ESV)
RAF: To fear anybody or anything other than God, is a very great snare. It will always paralyze us from God’s work.
4 – “But I said, “Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in.” And I understood and saw that God had not sent him, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me a bad name in order to taunt me.” (Nehemiah 6:11-13, ESV)
RAF: In leadership, schemes such as these, and men such as these will occasion events such as these. Be intimidated by no one. No one. Serve God. Oh Father, let my heart so rest in you as to refuse all the attempts of men to dissuade us from your work in any way.
5 – “They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.” (Nehemiah 8:8, ESV)
RAF: This is the first end and rule of all true Biblical ministry: Make known what God has said as clearly as possible. You can do no greater thing.
6 – “ And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”” (Nehemiah 8:9-10, ESV)
RAF: It is not unusual that in times of repentance or return from backsliding and sin, that those now returning find the greatness of their sin a discouragement. But this is not to be so. We need to encourage them that in having their eyes opened once again to the real depths of their sin, they must also lay hold upon the Savior who is greater than all our sin. Christian, are you overwhelmed at your failure? Know for certain, wherever sin has abounded, grace has super- abounded. Sin is great. But our God is always greater, higher, infinite.
7 – “Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly.” (Nehemiah 9:33, ESV)
RAF: Heavenly Father – how I need to be reminded of this truth over and over. This is always the case. You always deal righteously with us. You are always faithful. It is I, we, who have acted wickedly. Your righteousness is always to be proclaimed.
8 – Esther – the entire book. It is often noted the name of God is completely absent from this book. And it is true. But His fingerprints are all over it. It bears this unusual characteristic that we might know that whether God is overtly recognized or names, or not – He is still God. He is still ruling and reigning over all. He is still upon His throne. We can trust Him even when we do not see Him.