Summary: How to overcome opposition in accomplishing God?s work.
Overcoming the Opposition
A. The Fall of God?s People:
1. 722 B.C. - the Northern Kingdom fell forever to the Assyrians.
2. 586 B.C. - the Southern Kingdom fell to the Babylonians.
B. The Restoration of God?s People:
1. 539 B.C. - the Babylonian Empire is conquered by the Medes and the Persians.
2. 538 B.C. - the Decree of Cyrus allows the first group of Jews to return to Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel (See Ezra 1-2).
3. 458 B.C. - (80 years later) the letter of Artaxerxes to Ezra allows the second group of Jews to return to Jerusalem under the leadership of Ezra (See Ezra Chapter 7 and following).
4. 432 B.C. - (26 years later) the letter of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah allows Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem to complete the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple (See Nehemiah).
C. In this Sermon we want to attempt to answer three questions:
1. How can we discern the will of God?
2. How must we prepare ourselves to implement the will of God?
3. How must we react to the opposition to the completion of the will of God?
I. How Can We Discern The Will Of God?
A. Nehemiah had discerned the will of God for Jerusalem:
1. Nehemiah 2:11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. 12 And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God put into my heart to do for Jerusalem; neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.
2. Note: nowhere is there recorded any direct revelation to Nehemiah.
B. Paul says we can discern the will of God:
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
II. How Must We Prepare Ourselves To Implement The Will Of God?
A. The Text:
ASV Nehemiah 1:4-11. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days; and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven, 5 and said, I beseech thee, O Jehovah, the God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and lovingkindness with them that love him and keep his commandments: 6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee at this time, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants while I confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee. Yea, I and my father?s house have sinned: 7 we have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses. 8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye trespass, I will scatter you abroad among the peoples: 9 but if ye return unto me, and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts were in the uttermost part of the heavens, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen, to cause my name to dwell there. 10 Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand. 11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who delight to fear thy name; and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. Now I was cupbearer to the king.