Summary: When God originates, He orchestrates. God will grant us the strength we need to finish His work. Expect challenges when doing God's will. Choose to look at problems with eyes of faith, not fear.

Nehemiah 2:11-20 Overcoming All Odds ES 30Jan11 2072

What God originates, He orchestrates.

• It started off with a burden, and a desire to do something. Nehemiah shared this with God.

• God puts the pieces in place (so to speak) and Nehemiah got what he needed.

The will of God never leads you to where His grace cannot keep you.

The will of God will never take you

where the grace of God cannot keep you,

where the arms of God cannot support you,

where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,

where the power of God cannot endow you.

The will of God will never take you

where the Spirit of God cannot work through you,

where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,

where the army of God cannot protect you,

where the hands of God cannot mould you.

The will of God will never take you

where the love of God cannot enfold you,

where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,

where the peace of God cannot calm your heart,

where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.

The will of God will never take you

where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears,

where the Word of God cannot feed you,

where the miracles of God cannot be done for you,

where the Omnipresence of God cannot find you. ~ Author Unknown

When God puts something in your heart to do, He goes to work behind the scenes to ensure that it happens.

• It’s not up to us to figure out how to pull it off. Our job is simply to do what we know to do, and then wait for God.

• Do what we can do, and leave the rest to God. God moves the heart of Kings and open doors.

Think back with me for minute.

• Did Moses have to come up with a plan to get the Israelites across the Red Sea?

• Was it young David’s responsibility to figure out how to get King Saul out of the way, so he could have the throne of Israel, since God has already anointed him?

• When Jesus told the apostles to feed the 5000, did they have to figure out how to make five loaves and two fish go that far?

No! How the plan of God would be accomplished was not really up to them.

• They just did what they knew to do, a step at a time and never lost sight of the vision.

• Nehemiah took that step, and then another, and did what he could possibly do.

This is faith – faith is not seeing the destination, but trusting that God will show up when you take a step forward, and then the next, and the next.

• If you can see the end from where you are, chances are you are walking by sight. If you stay where you are until you are sure of the end, you will not move at all.

• Nehemiah prayed and trusted God, and did what he could possibly do. Finally he took off from Susa and made the long trip to Jerusalem. Let us read Neh 2:9-20.

Expect Challenges When Doing God’s Will

There are problems to solve; there are difficulties to overcome, EVEN when you are doing God’s will.

• God’s work is hard work. It does not mean that since it is God’s will, everything will be smooth and easy.

• It does not mean also that if we face difficulties, then the work must not be God’s will.

Ministry is challenging. It is a spiritual warfare we are engaged in.

• Eph 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

• We are called to put on the full armour of God and engage in battle against His enemy.

• God did not promise to do the work FOR us but WITH us. We have to LABOUR with Him.

Even after many prayers, even after God’s opening many doors, and providing the resources, Nehemiah had to work, very hard.

• He faces a very daunting task. It was something he had not done before. He had no experience, except God’s leading and His provision.

• He faced challenges on 3 sides – get the wall up (physical), unite the people to work on it (people problem, social), and defend against enemies from without (military).

- - - - - -

Just the journey itself to Jerusalem (from Susa) took him 2 months, travelling 1,500km. That probably explains why he took 3 days to rest (v.11).

• He had to inspect the walls by night, fully aware of oppositions that were present in the vicinity.

• Again you see him doing his homework. How can you start work without knowing the ground conditions? You see here, a godly person is a diligent person.

Take the look at this – a map of the wall of Jerusalem.

• Nehemiah started on the West side, the Valley Gate, moved south to the Dung Gate and Fountain Gate. Then moving up the Eastern side and back.

• There were 10 gates and 4 towers, covering a distance of about 2.6km.

- - - - - -

After examining the walls, Nehemiah had to share his plan with the people.

• Chances are nobody is going to be nearly as excited as you are, so he needs to motivate them, especially after one failed attempt at rebuilding the wall.

• The earlier group that returned did try to rebuild the wall but the oppositions succeeded in stopping it (recorded in Ezra 4).

• Once bitten, twice shy. “We tried that before and it didn’t work! We’ve gotten use to this, quite content with the way things are.”

Nehemiah says in 2:17 “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”

• The problem is often obvious, but over time people do not recognize it anymore.

• So Nehemiah had to motivate them. He shared his testimony of what God had done for him - 2:18 “I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me.”

• Now is the right time, God has set the stage for us. He had worked to bring everything together. We’ve got to start working on it. And the people responded.

We need to have Nehemiahs around - people who are in bad situations and yet not despair, struggling in difficulties yet not discouraged; people who have hope in God.

• We need such people. Are you a Nehemiah?

• It’s good to stick around such people; you are always inspired and hopeful.

• Nehemiah has hope in God. He said to those opposing him, “The God of heaven will give us success…” (2:20)

He wasn’t discouraged even though the task was daunting.

• Why was he so confident? He knows it is God’s will. It is God's desire for Jerusalem to be rebuilt. He said in 2:12 "I did not tell any one what my God was putting into my mind to do for Jerusalem".

• Be sure of what God wants, and you will not be worried or fearful of what men can do. If God is for you, no one who is against you can succeed.

- - - - - -

This was the 3rd challenge that Nehemiah had to contend with – his enemies.

• After inspecting the wall, motivating the people, he has to contend with the oppositions.

• I love how Nehemiah deals with these bad guys - he doesn’t really pay attention to them. He kind-of ignore them.

• He says, "The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it." (2:20)

• Rebuilding the wall is God’s work, we are His servants, and you have no part in it.

Nehemiah directs his comrades’ focus to God - our success is not in our hands.

• "Our dependence is not going to be our abilities, the resources, or our wisdom. If ever we succeed, it is God who grants it. Even if you oppose it, God's purpose will be done.”

= = = = = =

Actually, this was a good opportunity for Nehemiah to boast about his good plan, his capabilities and wisdom (there is no doubt he has).

• "Look! I brought down the resources, got the King’s approval, I’ve got all these escorts with me, I have this great plan on how the walls can be rebuilt, blah, blah blah…"

• Yet Nehemiah said God will grant us success! He is not only fully dependent on God, but is humble before Him. No wonder God used him greatly!

Against all odds, Nehemiah succeeded because this was God’s work and God was in it.

• Don’t fear difficulties. Choose to look at them with eyes of faith, and not fear.

Xiao Min, the farmer girl in China who composed many short choruses, like 最知心的朋友

Like to share one less sung but really simple song that I like - 因着耶稣爱的缘故









As the children of Israel were getting ready to enter the Promised Land, Moses sent out 12 spies to check it out.

• 10 of the spies came back and said that conquering the Land would be too tough.

• 2 of the spies looked at the land through eyes of faith and said they could conquer the land with God’s help.

• But the children of Israel chose to believe the first set of spies and their pessimistic outlook.

God gave them a test, and they failed miserably.

• Instead of making it into the Promised Land, they spent years wandering around the desert.

• We don’t want to fail that kind of test. Because these 10 leaders chose to look through eyes of fear, they lost an opportunity that God had prepared for them.

• They delayed their destiny for another 40 years.

It can happen to us, too. You’ve probably got a challenge in front of you right now, something too big for you to handle on your own.

• You have a choice: Will you choose to look at your life – and your ministry – your career - through eyes of faith or eyes of fear?

• Eyes of faith focus on God; eyes of fear focus on the circumstances, the problems.

• If Nehemiah had looked through eyes of fear, all he saw were ruins, discouragement, and oppositions in the land.

• If he looked at the same situation through eyes of faith, he would see a big God doing a great task through him.

Which eyes are you looking through today?

• We want to learn to see through eyes of faith, and trust God every step of the way.

• We are going to pray and do His work. We will not bow down to the difficulties and problems we face.

• We are going to work WITH God and finish the task He has for us, and glory His Name!

Right after the service, we’ll break into our groups and in 10mins, let us intercede for one another and ask the Lord to grant us faith and help us overcome our challenges.

• Share a challenge, a difficulty you are facing, and pray in your groups afterwards.