Summary: The story of Nehemiah is an example to us for how we can overcome discouragement and distractions in our lives.
JOURNEY THROUGH THE O.T. #7: PERSEVERANCE AND PASSION
• I have good news for you this morning – the Gospel is good news!
• The good news is that we can defeat discouragement! We all get discouraged and feel like quitting – we lose our motivation, confidence and optimism.
• How do you know if discouragement is about to happen in your life?
• #1 way – you’re at the halfway point, the point of no return. (Marriage, job, transition)
1. NEHEMIAH – A MAN OF PRAYER AND CARE FOR PEOPLE:
“1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, 2 that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, "The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire." 4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:1-4).
• Nehemiah was the King’s cupbearer – a servant – who risked his life for the King.
• His story starts with prayer and care – for people.
• This chapter contains a great model prayer – very similar to the Lord’s prayer.
• In Chapter 2, Nehemiah is before the King and God gives him favour to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city.
2. NEHEMIAH – A MAN WITH A HEART TO REBUILD BROKEN WALLS:
“Then I said to them, "You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach." And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king's words that he had spoken to me. So they said, "Let us rise up and build." Then they set their hands to this good work.” (Neh. 2:17-18).
• Nehemiah had a heart to rebuild what was broken.
• In Chapter 3, we see the rebuilding begin: “Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord” (Neh. 3:5).
• In the work of building the Kingdom of God, there will always be slackers!
3. NEHEMIAH – A MAN WHO OVERCAME DISCOURAGEMENT:
“Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they are doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a day if they offer enough sacrifices? Look at those charred stones they are pulling out of the rubbish and using again!” (Neh. 4:1-2, NLT).
• Sanballat was their enemy who wanted to discourage the Jews and get them to fail
“At last the wall was completed to half its original height around the entire city, for the people had worked very hard. But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall were being repaired, they became furious. They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and to bring about confusion there.” (v.6-8).
• When we get busy building the kingdom of God, the enemy will bring discouragement.
“But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves. Then the people of Judah began to complain that the workers were becoming tired. There was so much rubble to be moved that we could never get it done by ourselves. Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, “Before they know what’s happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work.” The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!” (v.9-12).
• They were discouraged – losing courage. From enemies and friends!
• ILLUSTRATION: “Knock knock. Hey you guys, we’ve been hanging around the negative people, they told us they were going to come and kill you.” (3x).
• You need to be careful what kind of people you hang around with – are they negative?
• But you need to recognize when you’re discouraged so you can deal with it.