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Summary: This is the 5th sermon in the series "Rebuilding". When you are rebuilding, there will be struggles.

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Series: Rebuilding [#5]

ENDURING THE STRUGGLES OF REBUILDING

Nehemiah 4:1-23

Introduction:

I heard an old preacher say, “The Bible tells us to love our neighbors and to love our enemies, probably because they are generally the same people.” In the case of the Jews rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, this was certainly true. In this chapter we find that the people of Jerusalem are surrounded by hostile enemies on all four sides coming at them from all four directions- It is their neighbors who do their best to discourage them from continuing the work that God has called them to.

How we deal with problems says more about our character than most anything else. If you want to know what a person is really like, watch them when things go wrong; when they are imposed upon; when they are made to wait; when someone cuts them off in traffic; when they are tired and achy.

Nehemiah 4:1-3 (NIV)

“When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble- burned as they are?” Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building- even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”

In order to endure the struggles of rebuilding, you must recognize…

1. The sources of discouragement.

A source of discouragement is…

 Trash talking.

Sanballat is ticked off. He is a governor of a nearby territory who no doubt feared the potential of a strong Jerusalem emerging as a threat to his territory. Now it is obvious that these Jews are serious about the project, and Sanballat is upset about it; and so he resorts to trash talk.

If you want to trash talk someone, put down their…

 Qualities. “What are those feeble Jews doing?”

If you want to trash talk someone, put down their…

 Ambitions. “Will they restore their wall?”

If you want to trash talk someone, put down their…

 Optimism. “Will they offer sacrifices?”

If you want to trash talk someone, try to tear down their…

 Enthusiasm. “Will they finish in a day?”

If you want to trash talk someone, try to tear down their…

 Confidence. “Can they bring stones back to life?”

Nehemiah 4:7-8 (NIV)

“But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.”

A source of discouragement is…

 Threats.

These knuckleheads determine to go beyond ridicule; they make a show of force. We’re not sure if this was real or just a bluff. We don’t know if they were actually making plans of attack or if they were just talking. We do know that from every direction, the people in Jerusalem could look and see enemies.


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