Summary: Instead of fighting with your family, fight for your family.
Fight for Your Family
Rev. Brian Bill
I want to clear up some confusion from last week, especially in the first service. If you were here, you’ll remember that I had two volunteers draw some dots on the white board. The first individual put 40 dots on the board; while the second one drew 3,000 dots (actually I’m sure Ken Fulkerson was nowhere close to this number). I didn’t realize that I forgot to explain the dots until after the service when a number of people came up to me and asked, “What’s up with the dots?” I must have had a brain freeze so let me tell you what the deal is with the dots. Here’s what I meant to say: “The 40 dots represent the 40 hours a year that our Sunday School and Promiseland ministry has with your child. To put this in perspective, the average fourth grader spends nearly 400 hours a year playing video games and studying math. Do you know what the 3,000 dots represent? That’s how many hours an average parent has with his or her child in a given year.”
As we wrap up our sermon series called, “Faith Begins at Home,” we’re going to change the regular order of service so I thought I should tell you ahead of time where we’re headed, just in case I get confused again. We’re going to incorporate four different elements:
* Preaching. Please turn in your Bibles to Nehemiah 4.
* Praying. As important as preaching is, we must also pray together.
* Praising. When we’re finished with praying, we’ll turn to a time of praising God through song.
* Proclaiming. And, since this is the Sunday before Thanksgiving, you will have the opportunity to publicly proclaim that which you’re thankful for.
Pastor Jeff Nichols refers to a book by Gary Oliver called, Raising Kids to Love Jesus, in which he quotes from a U.S. Government Peace Corps manual for volunteers who work in the Amazon jungle. Among other things, this manual explains what to do in case they are attacked by an anaconda, the largest snake in the world. An anaconda can grow up to 35 feet long and weigh between 300 and 400 pounds. What would you do? The answer might surprise you…
1. If you’re attacked by an anaconda, do not run. The snake is faster than you are.
2. Lie flat on the ground. Put your arms tight against your sides, your legs tight against one another.
3. Tuck your chin in.
4. The snake will come and begin to nudge and climb over your body.
5. Do not panic.
6. After the snake has examined you, it will begin to swallow you from the feet end-always the feet end. Permit the snake to swallow your feet and ankles. Do not panic.
7. The snake will now begin to suck your legs into its body. You must lie perfectly still. This will take a long time.
8. When the snake has reached your knees, slowly, and with as little movement as possible, reach down, take your knife and very gently slide it into the side of the snake’s mouth between the edge of its mouth and your leg. Then suddenly rip upwards, severing the snake’s head.
9. Be sure you have your knife.
10. Be sure your knife is sharp.
Friends, there are many snakes out there threatening to split your family and devour your children. May I remind you in Genesis 3:1 that Satan is called the serpent and it says of him: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.” Satan is sinister and is intent on swallowing you. Some of his names from the Bible include Adversary, Accuser, Tempter, Murderer, the god of this world and a Thief. Make no mistake about it – Satan is focused on families today and is doing everything he can to cause friction, fractures, and failure. He’s going after your kids and therefore you and I must fight for our families, using the weapons found in the Word of God for “still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe.”
Here’s what I want us to learn today: Instead of fighting with your family, start fighting for your family. Let’s tweak it a bit to make it more personal: Instead of fighting with my family, I will fight for my family. Let’s say it together. We’ll repeat it several times this morning. Let’s say it again: Instead of fighting with my family, I will fight for my family.
Before we get to our text, I need to give some really brief background. God’s people have been held in captivity in a foreign land for 70 years. In three different stages they’re allowed to migrate back to Jerusalem. Nehemiah leads the third group and his focus is on the walls around the city because they are in ruins. His job is to mobilize the people in a building campaign. In chapter one Nehemiah prays and God answers, in chapter two God moved Nehemiah from the prosperity of Persia to the desolation of Jerusalem. In chapter three, we’re introduced to the wall workers and we see that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Because everyone was working hard, the construction project was really zipping along. But when we come to chapter 4, things start to get more complicated for Nehemiah.