I fear that we often miss many great blessings by assuming too much. Many would likely assume that there would be little benefit or application for the modern church from a study in Nehemiah. After all, it is in the Old Testament, they were Jews and we are Gentiles, those were the days of the law and we are now under grace, right? Yes all of that is true, but if that is the approach that we take to much of the Old Testament, we will miss much that God has preserved for us.
You must be careful when studying the Old Testament, particularly in regard to prophecy, because there are promises and prophecies that are specific to the nation of Israel and you may find yourself seeking to apply things to the church that God never intended. However, we can not allow that to keep us from the wealth of truth that the Old Testament reveals. Careful study and preparation will prevent misinterpretation. Much of what we read in the Old Testament may have no personal application for our lives, but there is an abundance of practical application. Nehemiah is one such book. The Lord had led Nehemiah from the comforts of the palace in Sushan to return to Jerusalem in an effort to rebuild the walls that were torn down and in a desperate state of disrepair. Much can be gleaned from Nehemiah and those who labored with him. We can also learn much about dealing with the opposition of the enemy.
I suppose the thing that has spoken to me most thus far is the state of brokenness that Nehemiah felt for the condition of Jerusalem and the spiritual state of Judah as a whole.
That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.  And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.  And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,  And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:  Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.  We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.
If you study the history associated with Nehemiah you will discover that Ezra also worked in Jerusalem during that time and he shared the same burden that Nehemiah did.
And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.  Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.  And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God.  And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.
I don't know how you respond to these verses, but I will admit that they have deeply challenged me in my walk with the Lord. It seems as if there is little burden in our land today. Most are busy and content living their lives and feel little, if any, concern for those around them or the condition of our land. Surely we need a burden like Nehemiah and Ezra possessed. We need to see our curent situation for what it truly is and literally develop a brokenness for the needs of our day. We need to sense the urgency of the time and seek the Lord in revival. That is the only hope for the desperate needs of our day. We don't see physical walls torn down, but there are many spiritual walls that are in ruin and desperatley need restored. This will never happen until we open our eyes to the truth of where we are and develop a burden for these needs.
I am sure God directed me to study the powerful book of Nehemiah. If it doesn't benefit anyone else at Fellowship, it has already brought a new perspective to me. I am beginning to sense a newfound burden and I am greatful for that. Had I ignored the guidance of the Lord I would have never discovered one of the real treasures within His Word. Take the time to read God's Word and let it speak to you. You never know, you too might find yourself with a newfound burden and sense of direction.