Watch the new weekly Bible series from CUFI UK
Welcome to the new weekly Bible series from Christians United for Israel UK. In ‘Lessons from Nehemiah’ CUFI’s Alastair Kirk shares teachings that will strengthen your stand with Israel and encourage you in your own personal walk with God.
Over the series we will draw upon the inspiration of Nehemiah and the return of the Jewish people back to their historic homeland; we’ll see God’s heart for Jerusalem reflected in the obedience of this servant of the Lord; we’ll consider the importance of defending Judeo-Christian values, the dangerous trends of anti-Semitism, the importance of Israel’s peace and security, whilst at the same time building up our own faith during these challenging times.
‘The Burden for Jerusalem’
Lessons from Nehemiah #1
God gave Nehemiah a burden for Jerusalem that led him to inquire of its condition and have compassion for its people, causing him to weep for the city. We too will develop a burden for Jerusalem when we understand God’s heart for His city.
‘Foundations for Restoration’
Lessons from Nehemiah #2
After hearing the plight of Jerusalem, Nehemiah’s powerful prayer before the Lord is a reminder of some of the keys to experiencing true restoration. We look at his passionate exacting of His ‘great and awesome God’, His recognition of the need for His people to repent of their sins, and the reminder of the relationship with Him through His Covenant and mercy.
‘Faithfulness in Prayer’
Lessons from Nehemiah #3
Standing before the king, Nehemiah’s spontaneous ‘quick-fire’ prayer was simply a reflection of a man already invested in praying for the burden for Jerusalem. We look at the privilege and powerful weapon of approaching the throne of God in prayer at any moment, plus what this means in faithfully praying for Israel.
“For the well-being of Israel”
Lessons from Nehemiah #4
Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem not to conquer but to rebuild. Rebuilding was not only rightfully and legally permitted with consent from King Artaxerxes, but it was necessary to defend Jews living in the capital of their ancestral homeland. However it was met by two figures who couldn’t stand that Nehemiah wanted to rebuild “for the well-being” of the Jews there.
CUFI’s Alastair Kirk explains how this reaction in Nehemiah 2 is disturbingly similar to the immediate response to the rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948 and why today Israel continues to make it its mission to rebuild.
Let’s rise up and build
Lessons from Nehemiah #5
Nehemiah inspired workers to rise up and build Zion after pointing to the problem, sharing the vision and testifying of God’s goodness and provision. When we choose to obey the Bible and what God says about Israel, figuratively speaking we also become labourers ‘building up Zion’. CUFI’s Alastair Kirk shares how we can do this in practice, but also how the Lord Himself will ‘build up Zion’ and is at the heart of Israel’s story, past, present and future!
Defending a Godly Heritage
Lessons from Nehemiah #6
Nehemiah told opponents Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem that they had “no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem” (Neh 2:20). Their value of Jerusalem was demonstrated by allowing the city to lie in disrepair. They opposed Nehemiah’s rebuilding project only because their hatred for Jews was far greater than their love for Jerusalem. Whereas for Nehemiah, protecting Jerusalem was also protecting the Biblical heritage of the Jewish people.
In this episode, CUFI’s Alastair Kirk draws from this example, sharing what is meant by a godly heritage, the importance of Judeo-Christian values, why they need defending today more than ever, and how this links with our support for Jerusalem.
Then the priests rose up – The call for Godly leaders
Lessons from Nehemiah #7
At a critical moment, the priests “rose up” and led the way in rebuilding. The example of these God-fearing leaders was a catalyst for change. Whilst some treat Jerusalem as just another political issue, standing with Israel is in fact a Biblical commission and requires a Biblical response.
In the same manner, we need God-fearing leaders in the Church who are prepared to obey the voice of God and lead by example concerning Israel. In this video, CUFI’s Alastair Kirk points to the legacy of Christian Zionism in the UK when support for a Jewish state in their ancestral homeland was preached from pulpits before it gained support in Parliament. Today, Britain’s stand with Israel begins with the Church and we once again need Christian leaders with courage to stand for the truth.
‘Tell it to the next generation’
Lessons from Nehemiah #8
Nehemiah understood that if Jerusalem was to be restored, workers must be allowed to repair the sections in front of their own houses. He recognised that no society could survive without families being enabled to build-up and protect their own household, according to their God-given commission. Not only were families potentially a target for attack by the enemy, but they were the building blocks of a thriving Jewish society in Jerusalem.
In this episode, CUFI’s Alastair Kirk explains how building begins at the front of your house. Pointing to the Jewish tradition of placing the Mezuzah on the doorpost of the family home, we learn how the Scripture scroll inside holds the key to God’s commission for family and passing on His truth to the next generation.
Love Zion’s Gates, Part 1
Lessons from Nehemiah #9
The Bible says that the Lord loves the gates of Zion (Ps 87:2). In this episode, we begin a tour of the ten ancient gates of Jerusalem as recorded in Nehemiah chapter 3. CUFI’s Alastair Kirk shares their historical importance in the restoration project as well as the insightful spiritual truths they represent. We begin with the Sheep Gate and its fascinating link with priestly sacrifice at the Temple for Israel’s salvation, its application through the lens of the New Testament and its powerful picture of God’s grace.
Love Zion’s Gates, Part 2
Lessons from Nehemiah #10
We continue our walk around Jerusalem at the Fish Gate and Old Gate. CUFI’s Alastair Kirk describes the sights of sounds of these two gates during Bible times and the important spiritual lessons they represent. We experience the Fish Gate with its links to the Sea of Galilee and coastal city of Tyre and its connection with the fishermen Jesus called to follow Him as His disciples.
Secondly, we consider the Old Gate where the city’s wise elders congregated and its association with godly wisdom and knowledge. In a world that has largely compromised Bible truth, we will reflect how wisdom still “cries out” at the city gates (Prov 8:3) in a timely message for today.
Love Zion’s Gates, Part 3
Lessons from Nehemiah #11
In this episode we consider the Valley Gate and Dung Gate. Opposite the Valley Gate in ancient Jerusalem was the ‘Valley of Hinnom’, a notorious location that became synonymous with ‘hell on earth’. CUFI’s Alastair Kirk explains how the Bible reveals this valley’s dark secrets and why it is associated with evil. We will also learn how it relates to the adjacent Dung Gate. But in a message of great hope, the comforting words from Psalm 23, “though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” is given new light. Despite our ‘valley experiences’, we never have to walk alone.
Love Zion’s Gates, Part 4
Lessons from Nehemiah #12
In this episode, we find refreshment at the Fountain Gate and Water Gate. CUFI’s Alastair Kirk explains how these two gates are related to the Gihon Spring, Hezekiah’s Tunnel and Pool of Siloam, which became strategically important to ancient Jerusalem’s defence and sustenance, but also served as a spiritual reminder of the source of Living Water and fountain of life. We also discover why the Water Gate was the scene for a dramatic revival of the Bible in Nehemiah 8, in which formerly exiled Jews heard the Torah read and explained for the first time, igniting a wonderful thirst for the Word of Life and new revelation of God’s commands.
Love Zion’s Gates, Part 5
Lessons from Nehemiah #13
In this episode we conclude our tour of Jerusalem’s gates with the Horse Gate, East Gate and Inspection Gate.
CUFI’s Alastair Kirk shares how these three gates speak of ‘great expectation’. We consider the Horse Gate and its royal assignment in warfare. We consider the East Gate, subsequently replaced by the Eastern Gate (also known as Golden Gate or Gate of Mercy), and discover why it is the most talked about and speculated gates in world history and how it represents great hope for both Jews and Christians.
Finally, the Inspection Gate, also known as Miphkad Gate meaning ‘appointment, gathering’, reminds us of the gathering of the nations for judgement, whilst evoking each of us to personally examine ourselves – an appropriate conclusion to the gates of Nehemiah and their poignant reminders in the walk of faith.
The Three Stages of Anti-Semitism
Lessons from Nehemiah #14
Nehemiah chapter 4 reveals a stark warning about the dangerous trends of anti-Semitism. Identifying three phases of Jew-hatred in this chapter, CUFI’s Alastair Kirk uncovers a pattern that is remarkably recognisable throughout history and even today. Escalating in severity, they provide us with the warning signs that must not be ignored. We also consider why standing Israel is vital if we truly mean ‘never again’.
Overcoming the Enemy’s Lies
Lessons from Nehemiah #15
In this episode, we observe how the denigrating words of Sanballat were unexpectedly echoed by Judah. CUFI’s Alastair Kirk explains this one aspect of spiritual warfare in which destructive words of the enemy are given life and legitimacy if we receive and repeat them.
In the video, we make a proclamation of God’s truth over Israel, refusing to be led by the enemy’s narrative concerning the Jewish state. Similarly in our personal walk, we consider how we must receive the Words of Life that the Lord has ordained for each of us, choosing to be defined by what God says about us rather than by the script of the enemy.
Overcoming Fear of the Enemy
Lessons from Nehemiah #16
Alastair Kirk explains how Nehemiah’s opponents attempted to instil a spirit of fear among the Jewish people in the same way that the enemies of Israel try to do today. Their goal was to weaken them to the point of defeat. But God promises to ‘strengthen the hand’ of His people. This is our prayer for Israel today. Meanwhile, we’re also reminded that the weapons of our warfare are mighty for pulling down strongholds. Through faith we will overcome any stronghold of fear in our lives.
Watchmen on the Walls
Lessons from Nehemiah #17
Alastair Kirk shares the powerful meaning behind the term ‘Watchmen on the Walls’ and the important role they have in defending Israel. But how do we respond when ‘the enemy is in our midst’? Drawing upon Nehemiah’s example of discernment over compromise, we apply his command to the workers, “wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”
A Nation Restored
Lessons from Nehemiah #18
The walls of Jerusalem are complete and the Jewish people return to dwell in the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and his descendants. Alastair Kirk explains how a type of prophetic picture emerges in Nehemiah as the enemy nations surrounding Jerusalem are humbled at the admission that this was God’s doing and not man’s.
We close our series with the returned captives not only being physically restored to their land, but spiritually restored to Jehovah. Upon hearing the Law of God taught for the first time and recognising their need to get back to Him, a revelation of God’s covenant and faithfulness to His people leads to a true and meaningful restoration.
“And the land that You gave to our fathers…here we are, servants in it!” (Neh 9)