Last week I sent out the first lesson on our study of Nehemiah. There were a lot of questions and it must have felt like drinking water out of a fire hydrant. One wise brother recommended that I assign the questions according to the day of the week, to help us move through them a little easier. That was a good recommendation and that's what I have done for today's lesson. And, just as a reminder, after you have had a chance to reflect on these questions alone, why not talk about these questions, and your thoughts, with others.
Have a great week.
Your brother in Christ,
Lesson 2: Nehemiah 2:1-8
Questions for Reflection
Wednesday: Read Nehemiah 2:1-8. Four months has passed since Nehemiah 1:1. Based on what you learned last week (1:4) and from this week’s reading (2:7-8), what had Nehemiah been doing in preparation for his request(s) of the king? A cupbearer to the king was a high office and gave the office holder regular access to the king. From the verses in this lesson, what kind of relationship do you think Nehemiah had with the king? What are some reasons for your answer?
Thursday: Nehemiah claimed he had never been sad in the king’s presence before. Now he finds himself in unfamiliar territory. Why had his countenance changed before the king? The king noticed the change. Why do you think Nehemiah became afraid when his sadness had been recognized by the king?
Friday: How does Nehemiah address the king as he begins his response (2:3)? Why did he answer in this way? As he continues he doesn’t name Jerusalem but appeals to his ancestral connections to his homeland. Why do you think Nehemiah made his appeal to the king in such a way?
Saturday: The king realized a request was coming. Nehemiah prayed (to himself, presumably) as he got ready to make his request to the king. Have you ever faced similar circumstances? Perhaps you were talking to someone going through a great trial. Or, maybe, you were about to have a very difficult conversation with someone. Have you ever prayed silently to yourself for the other person or yourself, even while continuing the conversation? Can you give an example of such a time? How did God move in and through you in that situation?
Sunday: What are the things Nehemiah asked for in 2:5-8? What are some words you would use to describe Nehemiah’s requests of the king? What are some of the things you admire about Nehemiah’s response?
Monday: What can you take from this exchange between Nehemiah and the king and apply in your own life? What would that look like, practically? To what or whom does Nehemiah attribute the success of his requests before the king? Why is it important he did so?
Tuesday: Walking Points - Someone once approached a great theological scholar and said to him, “Five hours on your knees is of greater value than five hours in front of your books.” The scholar responded, “Ah, but five hours on my knees before my books is even better.” What do you think the scholar meant? How does that relate to what you have learned from Nehemiah? What area do you tend to emphasize more in your life, prayer or preparation (study)? Why do you think we need both prayer and preparation? What are two or three places in your life where you should either add prayer or preparation? How do you spend time with the King of kings?