Summary: Some clear guidelines about handling criticism and good, honest self evaluation

Foxes and Feeble Men

 As we stand now we are about 2 weeks away from next year, and about 349 days from the last New Year when we promised that this year would be different and that we would finally accomplish all that we’ve been putting off for the last 10 years.

 So did you? Did you clear out the garage and paint the house and get up every morning at 5 o’clock to jog?

 Today I want to give us a chance to reflect on a year gone by and to evaluate what we did, but also to encourage us about the things we might feel didn’t go as planned.

Nehemiah 4: 1-6

 The criticism and questioning that went on here was typical of what we get as Believers who are building God’s house, His habitation, His space to operate in our lives.

1. What are those feeble people doing?

 Are you focussing on the jar or the treasure? – outsiders see the jar, we feel the treasure.

2 Corinthians 4: 7 tells us that we are jars of clay that contain a great treasure and that the reason is so that we don’t take the glory, so that all good things in our lives are proven to be God’s doing, because what can an old clay jar do compared to great treasures.

 We are weak, we are frail, we are given to sinful lusts and desires, we are tempted and we give in – we are human

 In fact if God didn’t expect us to mess up He would never have sent Jesus to remove from us the wrath we bring on ourselves.

 The world loves to poke fun at Christians – they’re just waiting for us to fall and mess up – it’s like David’s brothers watching him get anointed ahead of them, then speaking down to him, then glorying in the victory he won for them.

 What are these feeble people doing? They’re trusting in a God who never fails; they’re taking refuge in the fortress of their God; they’re hiding in the cleft of the rock; they’re rejoicing in Him in all circumstances; they’re tasting of His goodness and they’re training for reigning because they will reign with Him when He takes them home to the place He’s been preparing for them.

 Paul says ‘ I will boast of the things that show my weakness’ and later he says’ in my weakness my strength is made perfect’

 Yes we’re feeble, but at least we have hope.

 Yes we’re feeble, but we have well of strength to draw from, and a strong tower of help to run into.

2. Will YOU restore the wall?

 Who do you think you are? – I’m glad you asked! (list what we are in Christ)

 We are more than conquerors through Christ

 We are the head and not the tail, we are the called out and set apart ones who are seeking His habitation in our lives.

 We are by nature, by our very DNA, restorers and not destroyers.

 When we worship Him, we are restoring the relationship we had in Eden

 When we show love to each other we are restoring to earth God’s will which is that we love one another

 Will we restore the wall – You bet! –as long as we stay in His will, and ensure that Christ is central to all we do, the Bible tells us that if we are building without Jesus we are building in vain.

3. Do you really believe this stuff? (Will they offer sacrifices?)

 Are you committed to what God has shown you to do?

 I wish for each one of us the relentlessness of Jehu – who was anointed King and told to destroy the line of Ahab – he set about it immediately and didn’t stop until he had done it.

 The world can’t believe the things we give up in His name – good jobs, promising careers, nights at home.

John 20: 30-31 says: ‘Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’

 I believe , and I have life in His name

 There is no other name that can offer life – He is the life-giver and He wants to breathe life into your situation that seems dead – like Elisha placing the dead son of the Shunammite on the bed she had set up for Him – set up God’s resting place in your life and it will give Him a place to breathe life again into that which is written off and dead.

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