Summary: To finnish the work we need to overcome discouragement, overcome fear and always be ready to resist the enemy.
ENEMIES FROM OUTSIDE
A few years ago I was invited to play basketball at the Union centre in Chicago. We were just an average bunch of guys trying to get some excercise. As we were warming up a guy came up and asked if his team could play against us. We said sure. They ended up being the farm team of the Chicago bulls. All of them were professional athletes and HUGE. We were no match for them. Have you ever faced an impossible foe. Were you ever in a situation like that where you knew you couldn’t win?
Nehemiah 4:7 When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. 10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall." 11 Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work." 12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us." 13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." 15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work. 16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me. 19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!"
The peoples which were living in and around Jerusalem were not concerned with Israel so long as they went about their own business. They were a conquered people. As long as Jerusalem remained a heap of rubble, it was no real threat. However, when they started getting together and began to rebuild the wall then their enemies took note of what was happening and they became a target.
The devil does not mind so much what we do divided and behind closed doors. He doesn’t resist the church that stays with the status quo. It is when the church unites it’s people and decides to make a difference in it’s community and the world that the devil begins to take notice. This is when he comes against it.
I have often said when facing severe resistance in an area of ministry that it must be a worthwhile direction since the devil is trying so hard to stop it. So how is the church to come against the devil when he attacks?
1. Overcoming Discouragement (10-12) – keeps us from finnishing
The Devil had a garage sale and offered all the tools of his trade to anyone who would pay their price. They were spread out on the table and each one labeled. Hatred, malice, envy, despair, sickness, sensuality -- all the weapons that everyone knows so well. But off to one side lay a harmless looking wood-shaped instrument marked "discouragement." It was old and worn looking but it was priced far above all the rest. When asked the reason why, the Devil replied, "Because I can use this one so much more easily than the others. No one knows that it belongs to me, so with it I can open doors that are tightly bolted against the others. Once I get inside I can use any tool that suits me best."