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Overview of Book of Nehemiah Banner

Book of Nehemiah: Rebuilding Our Faith

The Bible Teacher's Commentary

Paul J. Bucknell

Strength & Direction for Life
Nehemiah 9:1-38

Intersecting Paths of Grace
Nehemiah 9:19-25

God Guides My Life

Guidance Neh 9:1-38 | Intersections Neh 9:1-8 | Cry Out 9:9-15 |
God Guides Neh 9:19-25 | Warnings Neh 9:26-31 | Preparations 9:32-38 | Video

Nehemiah Theme | Nehemiah Outline and Index| Nehemiah Historical Background

Description : God Guides My Life, is an exposition of Nehemiah 9:19-25 and the third scene part of Intersecting Paths of Grace, describing how God provides His powerful and gracious work in a person's life.

This third second scene (see first, second) reveals how God does everything to help us succeed, even when we are not that perfect or ideal candidates.

C) Where are we going? (Nehemiah 9:19-25)

God guides and helps me to accomplish His work

Third, we find in verses 19-25 the report on how Jehovah led the Israelites through the wilderness and into the Promised Land against all sorts of enemies.

Crossing or intersection pathsMany are seeking God’s will. He has His will but more often than not we are seeking our will rather than His.

In most cases we have diminished His will as, ‘Okay, I’ll still go to church if you get me that good job.’

Let’s step back and see God’s great purposes for those who dare trust Him.

19 “Thou, in Thy great compassion, Didst not forsake them in the wilderness; The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day, To guide them on their way, Nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go. 20 “And Thou didst give Thy good Spirit to instruct them, Thy manna Thou didst not withhold from their mouth, And Thou didst give them water for their thirst. 21“Indeed, forty years Thou didst provide for them in the wilderness and they were not in want; Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell.

22 “Thou didst also give them kingdoms and peoples, And Thou didst allot them to them as a boundary. And they took possession of the land of Sihon the king of Heshbon, And the land of Og the king of Bashan. 23 “And Thou didst make their sons numerous as the stars of heaven, And Thou didst bring them into the land Which Thou hadst told their fathers to enter and possess. 24 “So their sons entered and possessed the land. And Thou didst subdue before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, And Thou didst give them into their hand, with their kings, and the peoples of the land, To do with them as they desired. 25 “And they captured fortified cities and a fertile land. They took possession of houses full of every good thing, Hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves, Fruit trees in abundance. So they ate, were filled, and grew fat, And reveled in Thy great goodness" (Nehemiah 9:19-25).

God Patiently Works with His people (Nehemiah 9:19-21)

God’s compassion is not just lingering in small doses about but abounding in its nature and work. Notice how 9:19 says how the Lord ‘in Thy great compassion, did not forsake them in the wilderness.’ He then mentions how the Lord could easily have turned things against them.

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Jehovah could have moved the pillar of cloud so that it no long guided them during the day or He could have simply shut down the special pillar of fire by night. The Lord continued to miraculously provide water and manna for that generation that did not believe Him.

Their clothes did not wear out; their feet didn’t swell. It is amazing how God continued to work in their lives. We need to remember that God had greater plans in mind than make it comfortable for those that did not believe. He was already coaching the new generation (their children) to trust Him and work beside Him.


We might find a number of ongoing graces God still brings to our lives even though we have left Him and pursued the world. He is enticing you to return to Him. This is not time to revile Him but to return to the Lord, the source of peace and joy. We sadly see this same thing happen in our generation. We live off the hard work of the generations before us while we revile God, adopt ungodly morals and curse God. We might find a level of security for a while, but meanwhile God is raising up a new generation to accomplish His work.

Looking for Those Open to His Work (Nehemiah 9:22-25)

Although the former generation was not faithful, this does not disqualify you. If your parents put excess value on things of the world, you do not need to follow them into the pit. They have their problems. Seek the Lord and find His purpose for your life as sufficient.

When we look carefully at 9:22-24, three short verses, we find that the author numerous times repeats one phrase, “Thou didst...” This becomes a statement of how God intervened in history.

22 "Thou didst also give them kingdoms and peoples; Thou didst allot them to them as a boundary. And they took possession of the land of Sihon the king of Heshbon, And the land of Og the king of Bashan. 23“And Thou didst make their sons numerous as the stars of heaven, And Thou didst bring them into the land Which Thou hadst told their fathers to enter and possess. So their sons entered and possessed the land. 24 And Thou didst subdue before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, And Thou didst give them into their hand, with their kings, and the peoples of the land."

Six times in three verses the prayer records God’s extraordinary willingness to grace them. Many people are looking for free goodies. Just go to a store when big bargains are offered. People rush in to get them.

God, however, has his greater purposes that He is accomplishing. We must never forget this greater perspective. When people do not have or lose this perspective, it is just at this point people begin to live for what they have gotten and forget the Giver.

God was leading His people into the Promised Land to judge the wicked there and to establish a holy people for Himself. The problem in the Book of Joshua is never whether they could take the land but whether they would be sufficiently disciplined to stay focused on finishing the work God had given them to do.

This same thing happens in our modern world. God saves people and tremendously works in lives. People, in response, work hard to please God. They become comfortable with their lives and God becomes part of their fringe life rather than their heart life. They forget God and become more attached to what they have been given rather than the One who graciously gives them these things.

We must be careful not to mistakenly conclude that the Lord doesn’t want us to have these good things. God was the One who gave the Israelite these may good things. We happen to live in a society where He gives us these things. But our society is quickly unraveling because of our foolishness. Our country is greatly in debt. We need to stop living covetous lives where we buy more than what we have.

God guides and helps us to accomplish His work.


Search your own heart. Is there anything that you have valued over the Lord? Friends, possessions, tech equipment, wealth, education? The Western world has largely grown cold to the Lord because it has lost the ability to enjoy things. They have been fascinated with the gift and forgotten the Giver. They have lost the sense of dedication and look for comfort and ease. We must again remember the purpose for which God saved us lest we perish with those things we live for.

Summary of Nehemiah 1:1-25 (Three scenes where we see God intervening in the lives of His people)

Nehemiah 9 shows us three ways in which God graciously intervened in the course of the earth to renew our minds on how God gets involved in our lives.

This story, after all, is ‘His story’, a history of God’s people. Each of us can find people we know and even ourselves in this history. After all, God has encountered our lives, has He not? Many of the ways He works is similar though the situations sometimes quite different.

Let me propose that the strength of our spiritual lives and our ability to stand against the influences of the world are greatly related to how much we can see ourselves in the way God has been kindly intercepting the events on earth with His love and grace in Christ Jesus.

Redemptive plan in history

This diagram (See more) combines our personal life and history in with all of God’s redemptive work through the earth’s history. The arrow does not mean that this interruptive work of God will continue on in earth. No, no. It will soon cease with a soon coming judgment.

The point of the arrow means to show how what God does now involve Himself in history and in our lives. Even today is another day in which God is looking for the faithful through whom He can work. Our name might not be Abram, but George, Rebekah or John.

God is writing His own History book through all the ways that He has intervened in the affairs of various individuals like you with His grace. There are no doubt many other people who did not respond, but we can be those like Abram who desire above all else to see His work done here on earth for it will have an everlasting impact known into eternity.


Our youngest daughter recently into my study, took my letter opener and ripped upon a letter. Usually she brings the mail to my desk and asks me whether she can open it. I often say fine. She then takes the letter opener and opens it for me. I asked her this time, “Aren’t you going to ask me whether you can open it?” She says, “No! It is miine.”

True enough her name was on the envelope. It was from her grandma. Each of us need to understand God’s will is just like this. It is personal, for me. I am to open it and respond to it. I can trust God to take care of all my needs while working out His will.

God is working out these tremendous plans for each believer, not just for those who have gone to seminary, but for the average folks like Abraham, those in business or in education. It simply takes that faithfulness, that is, a sense of commitment to do what the Lord wants without fearing what is needed.

Really, it is all about discovering what God is doing and seeing our part in it. For someone timid like me, that sounds so secure. I do not need to be the brains or come up with all the resources.

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Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted: (C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988

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