Rebels or Rebuilders?

Study Guide

As Nehemiah prepares himself and the people of Jerusalem for the work ahead, he knows they will face conflict. However, they remain dedicated to the important work of rebuilding the fallen walls of Jerusalem. Just as those walls are an identifying characteristic of the Israelites, so must we as God’s people provide a marker of God’s presence on earth.
  1. When Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem, he is careful to gather firsthand information. How does this principle apply to us as both Christians and leaders? Have you ever acted on secondhand information (as a leader, in a relationship, etc.)? What was the result?

  2. As God’s people, we are “living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple” (1 Peter 2:5). We should be easily identifiable as people who are close to God. Who is someone in your life that fits this description? Why is that so? What needs to change in your life to make you more identifiable as belonging to God?

  3. Those following Nehemiah obey God even when they don’t know the extent of what will be involved. When was a time you obeyed God without having all the information, and what was the fruit? When was a time you failed to obey God, and what was the fruit?

  4. The Scriptures are clear that those who follow Jesus will face conflict. Have you ever been accused of doing something bad when you were attempting to do something good? How did that affect you? How can you prepare for such conflict?

  5. Trusting God is integral to the Christian faith. Jesus trusted the Father at the end of his earthly life because he had trusted him all along the way. What are some areas where you struggle to trust God with difficult things (work, parenting, finances, etc.)? How can you move towards giving those areas to him to build a life that is a culmination of trusting him?

Key Points
  • When Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem, he takes time to gather firsthand information about the situation. He is patient to wait, learn, and discern the nuances of the circumstance before he casts vision for the work ahead.

  • Jerusalem’s wall is significant not because of what it excludes, but because of how it functions to identify God’s place among his people.

  • In our current time and culture, believers function as the wall and temple of God. As God’s people, we are the gateway for others to find God since he lives within us. We should therefore live in such a way that we are easily identified as God’s people.

  • Nehemiah is able to connect the dots between the truths in the Scripture and what is happening in the world around him. Likewise, we should be alert and aware of what God is doing around us and how it connects to his Word.

  • The Israelites in Jerusalem are willing to obey God and follow Nehemiah, and their work will expose their flaws. We must also be willing to serve and give our lives away—for only when we get exposed will we actually grow in faith and maturity.

  • Jesus’ trust at the end of his earthly life was a result of an entire lifetime of trusting God. We cannot think that we can walk through life not trusting God with difficult things and then be able to trust him in that final moment.

Other Scripture References

Scripture: Nehemiah 2:11-20

Topics: Conflict, Identity, Scripture, Trust