When the Best News is Bad News, Go and See!



  • Important dates:
  • Jerusalem Falls/Exile Begins 586 BCE
  • Cyrus says, " Rebuild Temple" 539 BCE
  • Temple actually rebuilt 520 BCE
  • Nehemiah shows up to a jacked up city 445 BCE

1. Get Graceful Bad News

Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” Nehemiah 1:2-3 (NIV)

2. Pray like you broke it. Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. Nehemiah 1:5-6 (NIV)

3. Allow it to affect your daily life (take risks)…


  • Get in trouble at work
  • Ask for a demotion and an extended paid vacation

In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.” Nehemiah 2:1-5 (NIV)

4. Go and See

I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on. Nehemiah 2:11-12 (NIV)

so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate. The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work. Nehemiah 2:15-16 (NIV)

5. Change your pronouns/ Inspire a new 'us'…. Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. Nehemiah 2:17-18 (NIV)

Responding: Where are we?

1. Get Graceful Bad News

2. Pray like you broke it.

3. Allow it to affect your daily life (take risks).

4. Go and See

5. Change your pronouns/ inspire a new 'us'.