Nehemiah 9 Outline
– The Israelites fasted, confessed their sins and worship God (Nehemiah 9:1-5)
– Ezra recounted the history of the Israelites up to the time of exile (Nehemiah 9:6-37)
– The people made a binding agreement (Nehemiah 9:38)
Nehemiah 9 Summary
On the 24th day of the 7th month, the Israelites assembled in one place. They fasted, wore sackcloth and put dust on their heads. The Israelites had separated themselves from the foreigners. They spent one quarter of the day confessing their sins, another quarter in confessing their sins and worshiping God. The Levites were standing on the stairs calling loudly. Another group of Levites instructed the people to stand up and praised God.
Ezra praised God. God is the one who made the heavens, stars, earth, sea and everything in them. Then, Ezra started to recount the history of the Israelites from the time of Abraham until the time they were captured by the enemies and went into exile. God set up a covenant with Abraham that he will give his descendants the promised land. Later, God fulfilled his promise and he sent Moses to lead them out of Egypt. God performed many miracles through Moses. Moses divided the sea so there is a dry land for the Israelites to cross over to other side. While in the desert, God send manna from heaven and gave water from rock to the Israelites.
The Israelites disobeyed God by casting a golden calf idol when Moses had been away on Mount Sinai for a very long period. Moses was on Mount Sinai to receive the laws from God. Because of the rebelliousness of the Israelites, God did not led them to the land of Canaan quickly. Instead, he made them circled around the desert so that they wandered in the desert for 40 years. In the 40 years, God had taken care of their need by providing them manna and water. The clothes and shoes they wore did not become worn out.
Joshua led the Israelites into conquering the cities of Canaan and lands were allotted to different tribes of Israel. After Joshua and his generations had passed away, the people started to sin. They worshiped idols of the foreign nations and God handed them over to the enemies. When they realized they had sinned and turned back to God, God raised up a judge to deliver them from the enemies. After the period of judges, kings started to rule Israel. The first king was Saul but he disobeyed God so God gave the kingship to David.
Later, a rebellion occurred between King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, the son of King David and Israel was divided into two. The northern region is called Israel and the southern region is called Judah. King Rehoboam became king of Judah and King Jeroboam became the king of Israel.
The Israelites did not faithfully obey God so God send enemy armies to attack them. After the exile which lasted for 70 days, God brought a remnant back to Israel. The Israelites were allowed to return to Jerusalem but they are under the dominion of the king of Persia. Whatever fruits in the land they harvest will go to the king.
Later, the people made an agreement and put seals on it.
Nehemiah 9 Bible Study
1. Humbling yourselves before God
The Israelites humbled themselves before God by fasting, wearing sackcloth, putting dust on their heads and confessing their sins (Proverbs 22:4; James 4:10). The Holy Spirit can work in a person and bring him to a humble state so that he can repent before God (John 14:26).
2. Making confessions of your sins
The people confessed to God that they had sinned and asked him for forgiveness. They confessed that they are sinners and that their ancestors were sinners as well. Sin is disobeying God’s commandment. The commandments of God can be found in the Bible. As we understand God’s commandments more, we will realized more about the sins we have committed in the past. When you realize your sins, you must confess it to God and repent from it. If you purposely repeat the mistake again after confessing it, the blood of Jesus Christ will not be able to wash it away. We must first feel broken before we can confess our sins to God (James 5:16).
3. God is never tired of forgiving us
The Israelites initially was a blessed nation but they were captured by the enemies later. Whenever they sinned and turned away from God, God handed them over to the enemies. But when they turned back to God, God delivered them from the hands of the enemies. The cycle keeps on repeating to show that God is merciful and he will always forgive us when we come to him with a repentant heart (1 John 1:9).