Summary: When God presents us with a burden, we can either embrace it or run from it and it all says tons about our character.
Dealing with a Burden
Griffith Baptist Church – 11/8/09
Text: Nehemiah 1
Key verse: Nehemiah 1:4 - 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,
Premise: When God presents us with a burden, we can either embrace it or run from it and it all says tons about our character.
The Order of the books and the years involved are this:
o Esther (478-464 B.C.)
o Ezra (455 B.C.)
o Nehemiah (445 B.C.)
Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer – equivalent to a personal press secretary and valet
Here is what happens in this first chapter:
1. Nehemiah is in the palace in the capital – 1
2. Hanani, a flesh and blood brother of Nehemiah (7:2) and other men had come from Jerusalem and Nehemiah overhears them talking and asks them about two things. - 2
a. The Jews that had been liberated (escaped)
b. The condition of and situation concerning Jerusalem
3. The report – 3
a. The people are in great affliction (misery; calamity) and reproach (disgrace; scorn)
b. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down
c. The gates of the city are burned with fire
4. Nehemiah’s Reaction - 4
5. Nehemiah’s Prayer – 5-11
Here, Nehemiah is presented with the stark reality of his Jerusalem and it hits him like a ton of bricks. This is his burden now.
There are two types of burdens – (1) the burden of sin that weighs us down, and (2) the burden God gives us in our lives pertaining to His will and ministry.
The problem in our lives and churches today is that we have not learned to deal with and carry our burdens.
Today’s church has grown lukewarm and soft because truth has been watered down with mainly those things that build a healthy self image and rarely build the body of Christ: This takes labor, sweat, and sacrifice. Some people just don’t have it in them.
These are Carnal Christian, and carnal Christians are burdenless
o They don’t yearn for God to work through them
o They don’t have a genuine concern for the lost and their condition
o They don’t serve with a whole and submissive heart
The only burdens that they carry are the weights of sin, frustration, anger and selfishness.
The godly carry the burden of pleasing their Lord and submission to His will.
When God says go, they go. When He says stop, they stop.
But what are we told to do in Scripture?
Matthew 11:29-30 – 29Take my yoke upon you . . . 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Mark 8:34 – . . . Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
I know of a guy who saw an ant carrying a piece of straw much larger than he was. The man thought, "How interesting that the little ant can carry something so much larger than himself."
So he watched the ant in fascination. As he watched the ant, the ant came to a crevice in the ground. The crevice was too big for him to go down into and it was to wide to cross. The ant took the straw. Laid the straw down over the crevice. Walked across the straw and then picked up the straw and went on his way. The man thought to himself, "The ant turned his burden into a bridge.
That’s what God wants us to do with our burdens! - Mike Minix
What can we learn from Nehemiah about how to deal with our burdens?
1. When you are burdened, it is personal – 4
A. Pastor E. V. Hill was talking about the racial violence in downtown Watts, in the Los Angeles area. He is as a Baptist Preacher and was caught up in that kind of tension. There was another of the black pastors who had already been killed because of their involvement in this racial tension. E V Hill got a threatening phone call and he was told that if he did not cease his involvement in the racial conflict that he would be killed. They told him that they would put a bomb in his car. The next day when he woke up he noticed his wife was not there. When he looked out into the garage the car was gone. He looked out the window and saw his wife was driving up in the car. When he asked her what she was doing she said, I just wanted to be sure any bomb would not explode on you. She was personally involved in his protection.
B. Nehemiah sat down, wept, mourned, fasted and prayed