Nehemiah began with repentant prayer and soon the hand of God was upon him. It is much easier to see the effects of own's own sin and the sin of one's fathers when everything held holy lays in waste and it's defensive walls are burnt to the ground; easier when one is serving his captor hand to mouth. Too bad that it often has to come to this before we see our sin and it's consequence. The pattern of revival is always shown to begin with repentance, receiving the hand of God, and then the valor to stand against everything that opposes.
This appears appears to be the wall mainly being restored by these men and it's many featured accessories. It is wonderful how God has put all these men to work by raising one repentant/spirit-filled leader who had won the trust of the king. None of this probably would have happened otherwise.
There is a good amount of information that we are left to assume about Nehemiah. That fact that a Hebrew, any Hebrew, would be trusted as a personal cup bearer in any foreign king's court says a wealth about Nehemiah's character and integrity. The fact that the king would grant such a request to a Hebrew at this particular time says much to the strength of their friendship. The fact that the king would trust Nehemiah's abilities as a leader of this project say's much about his apparent leadership abilities despite him being utilized up to this time as a cup bearer (and to provide him much of the resource?). Add to this the fact that several of the tribal leaders of Judah had enough confidence in Nehemiah to commit themselves and their own limited personal resources to this extremely dangerous and volatile objective, simply put Nehemiah must have been very well known and very well respected even before the hand of God came upon him in this bigger way. The remnant risked being outed in a irreversable way.
There is a notion amongst us that if God wants something done He will do it all for us. Imagine if these people just left all the building or all the protection to God and sat by to watch. The argument could be made that if these people really believed that God wanted this done that it would be against their belief in God's providence to take up arms to protect themselves or to slow the work down by working one handed or to try to build this back up themselves. God often puts us right in the middle of a project, has us do the work, has us face the fears and desperate odds, and by our faithful hands and hearts leads us to His accomplishment.
Not only are they facing an enemy without, they face an enemy within. Jewish lenders are charging contributors an interest rate and having them mortgage there physical holdings against the loan which is a violation of the Mosaic law. To take financial advantage and profit from those attending to God's purpose is an even more debase practice, just as likely to occur today.
This is an interesting perspective of sin that we often would not otherwise consider. We would think of sin as being angry, or cussing at these enemies, seeking to have them killed. Here Nehemiah considers it sin to follow the counsel of a deceitful confidant; to move towards ones own protection at the expense of those who have courageously stood and sacrificed for the cause under your leadership.
More enemies within: several Hebrew leaders and rulers. The odds were certainly stacked against Nehemiah from all directions. Remember back when the king initially granted him this request? Did the king know what Nehemiah was getting into? Most likely. Yet he granted it to him on the basis of some quality that he saw in his cup bearer.
We have privatized our religion a great deal. The sins detailed here are considered the sins of the fathers, a frequency of falling short on a national scale. Today our confessions are strictly personal if any. Sin is reduced down to things we do that harm others and if we don't harm it isn't a sin. We leave ourselves to judge whether our deeds hurt someone and even then it is only relative to the hurt that they have caused us. Not only were these stated sins national, so too were God's mercies.
What are the sins of our fathers now days? No doubt they are very much the same and just as prevalent. They effect us as a nation in ways God cannot overlook. Much like Judah, there are certainly those that do right, a remnant at all times, but they are vastly out numbered and the coarse of the nation is stripped from their hands. We would do well to consider each of their sins.
2012 - pBiblx2 Field Wise Bible System Version 2.0.9d - GPL3