Summary: In this sermon you will find encouragement and strength to continue when trials are present.
Over the past few weeks I have shared several messages from the book of Nehemiah. One week we looked at Nehemiah 1. In that message, “Rising Above The Rubble”, we saw how Jerusalem lay in shambles and Nehemiah lead an effort to rise above the rubble of defeat. In the next message, “From Sadness to Singing”, we saw how God transformed the people’s sadness into singing. However, along the way they faced challenges. We also face challenges from time to time. In those times we need strength to continue. That is the picture of life. We need the divine strength to continue when times get tough. This message will encourage you in your work for God. This message will encourage you in your emotional life. This message will encourage you in your marital life. This message will encourage you in your leisure life. From time to time we all need encouragement and strength to continue.
A mother watched her son begin to lose energy as the week went on. By the end of the week he’d lost his desire to get out of bed. She heard the alarm go off through his bedroom door. Apparently he just kept punching the little snooze button on the top. Finally, after 3 or 4 extra rings she walked in and said, ’Son, it’s time to get up.’ He peeked out from under the covers, ’Can you give me a good reason to get up?’ She said, ’Yes. First, it’s Sunday - time for church. Second, you’re 43 years old and you know better. Third, you’re the pastor and they expect you to be there.’ WE ALL NEED ENCOURAGEMENT!
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Daniel Harman)
We are going to concentrate our thoughts on Nehemiah 4. Before we go there I would like to draw your attention to chapter 3. Chapter 3 shows a beautiful picture of God’s people working together. It is a picture of cooperation, coordination, and unity among God’s people. It shows a picture of God’s people working together for the glory of God. Notice Eliashi’s effort in verse 1, the men of Jericho in verse 2, the sons of Hassenaah in verse 3, a man named Meremoth in verse 4, and this pattern continues through chapter 4. This chapter lists a chain of human workers working together for God’s glory. Chapter 3 portrays the good times. The people were having fun and everything was on a positive note. However, the events in chapter 4 arrive. The situation is different. The first phrase in chapter 4 is “it so happened.” In life things happen. That is when we need strength to continue.
Look at chapter 4 and the trials they faced.
• They faced ridicule (4:2-3). Notice especially verse 3. Tobiah said “if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall.”
• They faced confusion (4:8). Their enemies sought to create confusion among them.
• They faced discouragement (4:10,12). Notice especially verse 10 “the strength of the laborers is failing.”
• They faced fear (4:14). In verse 14 Nehemiah encourages the people to not be afraid.
Ridicule, confusion, discouragement, and fear…did they not need strength to continue moving forward? Can we not learn something from them? Let me share some jewels I found in this chapter. I want to show you four sources of strength.