Summary: going to talk this morning on discouragement (the leukemia of the soul).

INTRO: A man joined a monastery, and to join this monastery you can only say two words in ten years. After ten years was up he came in the monsignor’s office and said, “Bed hard.” He went back and served another ten years of silence and came to the monsignor’s office and said, “Food cold.” Went back to the monsignor’s office after 30 years and said, “I quit.” Monsignor said, “Good, you’ve done nothing but complain since you got here.”

-Ever feel like saying, “I quit, I’m giving up, I’ve had enough”?

I’m going to talk this morning on discouragement (the leukemia of the soul).

-Definition: to deprive of courage or confidence.

Q: Anyone feel like this? It’s a universal disease, it can be a recurring thing.

-It’s also highly contagious. If you get around discouraged people you can get it. The good news – it’s curable.

TITLE: How to Deal with the Giant of Discouragement

TEXT: Nehemiah 4:10-12

I. Background. The nation of Israel had fallen from its glory days under the rule of Solomon.

A. Kingdom divided after his death, northern kingdom and southern kingdom.

1. Northern kingdom – destroyed by the Assyrians and the ten tribes of Israel taken away captive never to be seen again.

2. Southern kingdom – the last two remaining tribes were taken over around 130 years later by the Babylonian Empire. The great temple was destroyed, everything laid waste, people taken captive.

B. While in captivity God begins to stir hearts to go back to their homeland.

1. Called the Second Exodus, Jews went back to Jerusalem under the leadership of three men.

-Company A left first with their commanding officer, Zerubbabel, about 8 years later.

-Company B left Babylon with Ezra as commander.

a. Company A and B rebuilt the temple of God.

-Company C was led by Nehemiah 90 years later, meaning the temple of God was without protection for 90 years until God led Nehemiah to undertake the task of rebuilding the walls.

b. So Nehemiah leads the people in rebuilding of the walls because without walls around the city and temple they would be open to attack.

-There was great enthusiasm at the beginning but as they reached the halfway point discouragement set in.

Look at this morning reasons for discouragement and how to take on this giant of discouragement.

II. Causes of discouragement – the 4 F’s of discouragement.

A. Fatigue. V. 10, the strength of the laborers is giving out.

1. The laborers were at the halfway point in rebuilding of the wall (v. 6).

2. You ever begin a project and you’re extremely excited and you begin then about halfway you feel like giving up because you have nothing left.

3. Society has come up with a term called mid-life crisis.

a. The professionals tell us most everyone goes through it.

b. When you’re in your mid-life crisis you start to believe all the statistical evidence. It goes something like this.

-200 million people in America

84 million are over 60 years old

leaves 116 million to do the work

-75 million are under 20 years old

leaves 41 million to do the work

-22 million are employed by the federal government

leaves 19 million to do the work

-4 million are in armed forces

leaves 15 million to do the work

-14.8 million are state and city employees

leaves 200 thousand to do the work

-188 thousand are in hospitals/mental institutions

leaves 12 thousand to do the work

-11,998 are in jails or prisons

leaves 2 people to do the work

-And you are not pulling your weight

so that leaves me to do all the work

Point: Fatigue can give you a false view and will lead to giant of discouragement if you’re not careful.

B. 2nd thing that lead you to discouragement – frustration.

1. In spite of all their hard work what was there to show for it? A puny wall and there is still all this rubble.

-All they could really see was this rubble.

2. It was all those little insignificant things that we focus on when we are frustrated.

-It’s not the height of the mountain that stopped the climber, it was the pebble in his shoe.

3. It’s amazing how those little stones can cause so many problems if we allow them.

Ex. Our first major fight when we were first married was where the TV was going to sit.

C. 3rd thing that will cause discouragement is – failure. V. 10, “We cannot rebuild the wall.”

1. You start something you can’t finish. How does that make you feel? Like a failure.

Q: How do you see your setbacks, do you see them as obstacles you can’t overcome, or do you see them as opportunities?

a. A stepping stone to draw closer to God.

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