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A city dedicated to God

Ezra reads God's laws at the Watergate.
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After the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt, a special platform was built in a large space by the Watergate. Over 50,000 people gathered to hear Ezra read God’s laws to them. As Ezra read for over three hours there were 13 teachers in the crowd helping people to understand them. – Slide 1
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As people found out how God wanted them to live they began to cry and confess their sin. Ezra said, ‘This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ – Slide 2
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It was the time to encourage people to rebuild the houses in the city and move into them. Firstly, the leaders made their homes in Jerusalem and one in ten of the families living outside the city did the same. Nehemiah put his brother Hanani in charge of the city. Others were put in charge of guarding the gates and giving praise to God in the Temple. – Slide 3
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Now that people had put their lives right with God it was time to dedicate the city with thanks and praise. <br/>People from all around Judah were invited. Nehemiah divided them into two groups who would process around the top of the city walls in different directions. Ezra and one group would go to the right and Nehemiah would lead the other to the left and both would meet up near the Temple. They all sang and gave praise to God and brought gifts to worship Him. – Slide 4
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Nehemiah continued to lead the people for 12 years before returning to the King of Persia. Some time later he returned to find that Eliashib the High Priest had given Tobiah a room in the temple building to store things in. Tobiah was one of those who had opposed the rebuilding. Nehemiah immediately threw Tobiah and his things out of the temple and had the room cleaned. He also stopped merchants coming into the city on the Sabbath day to trade. Then also warned men who were marrying women from heathen backgrounds that they being led away from worshipping God to worship idols. Nehemiah wanted God’s people to love and obey Him with all their hearts. <br/>God wanted to rebuild the city walls but it was more important to rebuild the people’s lives so they became strong and obedient. – Slide 5
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Slide 6