Ezra had brought two groups of people back to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Now it’s Nehemiah’s turn. He will come and rebuild the walls.
Just as with Ezra, when it’s time for Nehemiah to return, God gives him favor with the king. This time it’s Artaxerxes, who is the stepson of Esther. (She probably had opportunities to speak to him concerning her people, giving him a soft place in his heart for them).
And, as Nehemiah says, the “good hand of my God was on me.”(2:8)
So Nehemiah takes the letter from the king, and makes the trip to Jerusalem. The local officials are angered, but they have to obey the king.
Notice some of Nehemiah’s wisdom. He waits for the right moment to tell others about what he is doing. (Most of us would have immediately told everyone who would listen). He goes out by night, alone, and rides around the walls, examining the damage and making his plans.
Just as with Ezra, the local officials mock them, but Nehemiah isn’t moved by it.
He declares, “The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build.”
Nehemiah has a confidence in his God – and he will succeed.
This is the game-changer. This is what it’s all about!
All that we have been reading, and will continue to read, about the descendants of Abraham and God’s dealings with them, have led us to this moment. It took a long time, didn’t it? Centuries of Egypt, the wilderness, up and down kings, Babylonian captivity, the return of a remnant to rebuild, then Jesus.
So since God’s perfect Lamb has been slain, taking our sin, a way has been made by the Lord for us to walk in a whole new life. A whole new realm, even.
On the day of Pentecost, God’s Holy Spirit came from Heaven like a mighty wind, filling them with Himself. No longer would men be cut off from God, if they didn’t choose to be. He would actually come to live inside of them. He would make His abode in them.
This is more significant than anyone can imagine.
So the disciples were obedient to Jesus. They stayed in the upper room, praying, with one mind, and He showed up. Nothing like they had expected. Who ever said anything about tongues?
But that’s what happened to them. They began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
After this experience, Peter gets up and with boldness declares to the spectators what had just happened. Going into the scripture, he reminds them that Joel had prophesied about this very thing happening.
Wait a minute, that’s Peter! He’s the one who was too afraid to admit that he knew Jesus. How could he stand up there and speak with boldness? He could do that because the Holy Spirit had empowered him to be a witness – just like Jesus said he would.
What a change in personality and confidence!
Throughout the book of Acts we will see dramatic demonstrations of the Holy Spirit, and His power. We will see healings, miracles, more people coming to receive Jesus.
We will see the birth of God’s church. It’s a new day!