Summary: 4 Keys from the book of Nehemiah on how to get out of a rut. The Jews had stalled on building the walls around their city for 87 years. 4 Keys he employed: 1. Water the Ground, 2. See with fresh eyes, 3. A promise to fight by, 4. Tokens of God's favor

Getting Out of A Rut

PPT 1 Message Title

Today we are going to use the story of the book of Nehemiah to talk about getting out of a Rut.

If you remember the Jews had started worshipping idols, God punished them by having the Babylonians overrun them and take most of them to Babylon as slaves. They destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish temple which Solomon had built in the process. Then the Assyrians took over...

70 Years goes by and God arranges by miraculous means for many of them to return to Israel and restore true worship.

They rebuilt the temple, but in general the city remained in ruins, the main reason for that was they never rebuilt the walls that would have afforded them the protection they needed to prosper as a nation.

Here is the rub, and the reason for today's message, they had gotten comfortable and accepted the ruined city as the way their lives would always be. 87 years had gone by, and nothing changed. God sends a man named Nehemiah and walls that had been in ruin, symbolic of the spirit and effort of the people, were miraculously rebuilt in 52 days. God had freed them from an 87 year long rut.

So how did that happen? Are there any principles we can use and apply to ourselves and others we care about? Let's read a small portion of the book of Nehemiah;

PPT 2-3 Text

Nehemiah 1:1 The memoirs of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. It was the month of Kislev in the twentieth year. At the time I was in the palace complex at Susa.

Nehemiah 1:2 Hanani, one of my brothers, had just arrived from Judah with some fellow Jews. I asked them about the conditions among the Jews there who had survived the exile, and about Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 1:3 They told me, "The exile survivors who are left there in the province are in bad shape. Conditions are appalling. The wall of Jerusalem is still rubble; the city gates are still cinders."

Nehemiah 1:4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. I mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God-of-Heaven.

This will be our launch pad for today's sermon on how to get out of a rut.

Let me begin with a question. How are you doing spiritually? Are you growing? Are you daily being challenged by God? Does the word of God still burn in your heart and move you to change? Have you plateaued? Did you know you can be in a rut on a plateau, just as easily as in a valley?

There are principles here in the book of Nehemiah we can apply to break free from a rut.

PPT 4 text

Here they are:

1. Water the ground

2. See with Fresh Eyes

3. A promise to fight by

4. Confirming tokens of God's favor

1. Water the ground.

PPT 9 text

Nehemiah 1:4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. I mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God-of-Heaven.

A couple years ago I was visiting a niece who lived in Florida, and in her yard she pointed out to me a large tree that had recently fallen down. Because she lived in Florida I asked if a hurricane or large storm had caused the tree to fall. She told me that wasn't the reason, what caused it was several days of intense rain so softened the ground that a slight wind was able to easily push it over. The tree fell over easily because the ground was saturated.

Hurricanes can snap trees in half, but most that fall over are because of a combination of rain and wind. The more rain, the easier it is to knock a strongly rooted tree over. Are you seeing a spiritual lesson here? Nehemiah will be used of God to get his nation out of an 87 year rut. That is a strongly rooted tree. Chapter 1:4 says he fasted and prayed, we learn from chapter 2:1 that he did that for about 4 months. the whole time he is watering the ground with prayers and fasting. So that by the time he got to Jerusalem the tree of inaction was ready to be knocked down.

My wife and I were recently on vacation in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and I noticed something very interesting. It rained almost every day, but it was just a sprinkle here and there. A couple of times there was a short outburst of heavy rain, but it only lasted a few minutes. The grass around the complex we were staying at was brown for lack of rain. It wasn't that there wasn't any rain, it was that there wasn't enough consistent rain. In Luke 18 Jesus taught a parable that men out to pray and not faint. In Galations 6:8 it says that we will reap if we do not faint. Consistency of the prayer (rain) is the key to toppling strongly rooted trees. A little deluge now and then won't get the job done.

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