Summary: In Nehemiah chapter 4 we see that through all the opposition that the builders of the walls faced, they could depend on God to be their safety net.
Our Safety Net
Nehemiah 4: 1-15
Intro: How many of you watched this week as Felix Baumgartner jumped out of a balloon that was 24 ¼ miles up. This guy goes up and parachutes almost from outer space. While this is nowhere close to the edge of our atmosphere, (320 miles) it’s a looooooong way up. The video shows this guy jumping and for a while he went into an uncontrollable spin. Can you imagine the thoughts that were going through his mind when he started to spin uncontrollably? I don’t know much about parachuting but my guess is that you can’t deploy your chute when you are in a spin like that. I know if I were in his shoes, I would have wished for some kind of safety net at the bottom. Maybe a huge net that stretches for miles and miles so that if anything went wrong or I made a mistake, the safety net would be there to catch me. The net would provide security and inspiration knowing that if things don’t go as I had planned something was there for me to depend on. A safety net.
. Back in the 1930’s they built the Golden Gate Bridge. This bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time. The bridge was to be built in two phases. During the first phase 23 workers fell and were killed in the waters below the bridge. After the first phase or half was completed they looked and said we need to make some changes. We have had 23 people die by falling off the bridge. We need to do something about people’s safety. You know what they did? They built the largest net ever made and anywhere men were working, the net was stretched out under them to catch them if they fell. During the second phase, ten men fell while working but the net caught them and saved their lives. One of the things that made me realize how important a safety net is was that they finished the work in ¾ of the time that it took to build the first phase. When asked how they accomplished this they said that the men could work faster because they had no fear. They had a safety net under them that assured them that no matter what happened, there was something there to catch them if they made a mistake and fell.
. Now what has all of that got to do with our scripture this morning in Nehemiah.
. If you remember back a couple of weeks we see that Nehemiah has rallied the troops as they say.
. He has organized all the people that live in Jerusalem and some that live outside the city into a cohesive unit with a goal.
. We see teamwork abounding. Everyone working for a common Goal.
. Guess what happens when you finally get things going the way you need them to go.
. Discouragement and Opposition from others start to appear.
. That’s what is happening in our story this morning.
. Discouragement and Opposition.
. What we see though is that the Jewish people who have committed to what God has called them to do find that they have a safety net that they can depend on in times of discouragement and opposition.
. Lets read our scripture: Nehemiah 4: 1- 15
. 1Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews,
2saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices?
Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?”
3Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!”
4Then I prayed, “Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land!
5Do not ignore their guilt. Do not blot out their sins, for they have provoked you to anger here in front of the builders.”
6At last the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city, for the people had worked with enthusiasm.
7But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious.
8They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion.
9But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.