A Culture in Moral Crisis

A Culture in Moral Crisis

A Study of Nehemiah

Dr. Jim Denison

Nehemiah 1:5-7

The Book of Nehemiah opens and closes with prayer. This is the first of 12 instances of prayer recorded in the Book of Nehemiah, and the most crucial. If God does not answer this prayer, the story of the Hebrew nation ends.

Recognize God’s holiness

Verse 5: Then I said: “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands….”

“Lord” translates YHWH. This is God’s name for himself (Exodus 3.14), a name so holy that no Jew would dare speak it. The scribes who copied Scripture placed the vowels for a different name (Adonai) below the consonants for this name (YHWH), to remind their readers that they were not to pronounce this most sacred of all words.

“God of heaven.” This was a common address by the Persians to their gods, and was used by Cyrus the Great in liberating the Jews. But the Hebrews knew that these heathen gods were idols on the earth; this was the Lord of heaven. This title is found four times in Nehemiah and three times in Daniel.