Summary: Message 6 in our exposition of Nehemiah. This message follows Nehemiah's ability to motivate the people to work in the face of severe opposition.
CHICO ALLIANCE CHURCH
"A Heart to Work"
We have been following Nehemiah's Journal that records the process followed in rebuilding the walls and restoring the worship in Jerusalem. Following nearly 70 years of discipline, the city of God had been laid waste by the Babylonians. God now begins the promised restoration through an ordinary man who understood the effectiveness of the prayers of a righteous and faithful servant. The journal began with a visit from Nehemiah's brother from Jerusalem. Nehemiah inquired concerning the welfare of the people and the city. Upon hearing that the people were devastated and the gates and walls destroyed, Nehemiah immediately responded. Nehemiah responded with deep concern for the plight of the people. Nehemiah responded with extended intense intercession.
Nehemiah remained faithful while waiting upon God to move.
Nehemiah rallied the people to arise and build.
After a private inspection of the situation, Nehemiah inspired the people to get the walls up.
1st Recognize the seriousness of the situation.
2nd Refocus on the goal.
3rd Realize God's hand
Walls of protection built by hearing and heeding the word.
Life of faith which is developed by hearing the word.
I. REBUILDING WALLS
A. Recognizing needs through inquiry
B. Responding to needs through passion and prayer
C. Resolving needs through prayer and planning
D. Resisting outside opposition through perseverance
1. Scheme # 1 Questioning Authority
As soon as the people are inspired to arise and build, the opposition is stirred to arise and block. Sanballet the Hornite and Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem the Arab were very upset that the people had been rallied to build.
These guys had a enjoyed a great deal of influence and stood to loose that influence by the rebuilding of the walls.
Their opposition will progress from mild mocking to malicious murder. It seems that whenever we are inspired to strengthen our walls, Satan is stirred to stop us at any price. Perhaps we can find some parallels to the schemes of Sanballet and company and discover some helpful hints in responding to those schemes. Sanballet's first attempt to derail the work detail began with a simple questioning of their position or authority.
NOTE -- None of these men have any official authority over Nehemiah.
Nehemiah is there by order and permission of the ruling king of Persia Artaxerxes as well as more importantly by directive of the king of the universe. Whenever one has no official authority, they must resort to indirect tactics.
Remember, Satan has no official authority over the Christian. We have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness in to the kingdom of Christ. Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world. Because of that fact, he seeks to intimidate his way into our affairs.
"What is this thing you are doing?"
"Are you rebelling against the king?"
In essence they are questioning the right of Nehemiah to do what he was doing.
When someone doesn't like you getting in their way or usurping their perceived authority they will general say, "What do you think you are doing?"
They are challenging your authority and compelling theirs. Satan tries the same tactic. The first thing he asks is, "What do you think you are doing?" He comes to question our action and motives. He works at getting us to be intimidated by his authority. He may be prince of the air but we have been given charge over the earth and will rule. God has given us authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy.
How should we combat such attacks? Observe Nehemiah's response.
(1) Declared his position
"The God of heaven will give us success."
As opposed to the idols and gods of the earth. The all powerful God of the universe is on our side and is operating here. We build by His direction and by his power. Notice his focus and his confidence. Due to extended communication. God is in this. We are operating under His direction. Because of that we will arise and build.
We will carry on the work. Nehemiah is not the only one with this sort of response to opposition.
David to Goliath -- I come in the name of the army of the living God!
We will continue the work -- BUT
(2) Denied the enemies participation
"You have no portion, right, or memorial in Jerusalem"
When the enemy comes at you questioning your authority we are to respond by first declaring our position in Christ and then by denying his participation or interference. That is what it means to resist the devil. When Nehemiah declared his intention to arise and build as servants of God and deny any participation by the enemy that is exactly what they did. Nehemiah summarizes the initial progress of the work and the workers in chapter three.