Rebuilding With Nehemiah, Chapter 9 Day 1

Monday: Feasting Turns to Fasting

Text: On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. (Neh. 1:1)

Neh 9 fasting and prayer

Teach: Fasting isn’t an easy topic to address with people, primarily because we don’t like to go without. But fasting also presupposes the awareness of need or sin, something isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. Here in Nehemiah, the people had been listening to and convicted by God’s plan and purpose as lined out in the Law.

Neh 9 when you fast

Take: Jesus speaks about fasting in the Sermon on the Mount: 16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:16-18). Did you catch the implication? He isn’t commanding fast, he’s not even suggesting it, he’s assuming we will.

Task: Can you think of time when you don’t have or know of a spiritual need? Me either. Pray with me today and ask that God would enlighten us on when and how we should fast.

Sermon Seeds: Nehemiah Prays

SP Nehemiah more than just a wall

In late autumn, in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign,[a] I was at the fortress of Susa. 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.

3 They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”

4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.

Within Nehemiah’s brief account, there are twelve prayers. Prayer bookends the story. One might (and should) determine prayer is important to the process.

I read once that there are many things you can accomplish after you pray, but there should be nothing you do until you pray.

Having that thought this week, as I prepared for the message, has impacted my thinking and my praying.

I wonder what it will do for you.

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