The books of Ezra and Nehemiah continue the story of God's people after the exile in Babylon. The historical events recorded in them are important for us because they were all part of God's plan to prepare the way for the coming of the Savior and preserve a pure people for the setting up of Christ's kingdom.
In an age of experience-centered worship and entertainment-oriented evangelism, these two books direct our thoughts to a holy God who demands reverent worship and uncompromising loyalty from his people. Furthermore, Ezra and Nehemiah call us back to a renewed obedience to God's Word, a fresh realization of the power of prayer, and wholehearted commitment to the work of God in fellowship with the people of God.
“Nehemiah prayed for his suffering kinsmen from Kislev (November–December) 446 until Nisan (March–April) 445, a period of four months, until the opportunity arose for him to approach the king (compare 1:1 with 2:1). Do we have this same kind of commitment as we pray for other Christians?” (Page 107)
“There was prayer and perspiration! Prayer without work is presumption, and work without prayer is self-confidence. We must pray because we accomplish nothing without God’s power, but at the same time we are to labour for God as if everything depended on our efforts.” (Page 129)
“Firstly, he made a complex operation relatively simple by dividing the wall into about forty different sections. Secondly, he had the knack of getting each individual builder to labour enthusiastically and harmoniously with his fellow workers. Thirdly, and more importantly, the erection of the walls was a demonstration of God’s power, which enabled the Jews to press on with their task in the face of many discouragements and hostile opposition.” (Page 117)
“The word ‘servants’ (1:10, 11) implies renewed submission to God. Redemption brings deliverance from sin but also demands obedience to Christ, whose precious blood was the price of our freedom (1 Cor. 6:19–20; 1 Peter 1:18–19).” (Page 107)
“Now his prayers must be accompanied by vigorous activity. God has promised to lead us (Ps. 32:8), but once his will is known we must, like Nehemiah, be ready to follow!” (Page 108)