Summary: Message 9 in our exposition of Nehemiah celebrating the completed wall project.
Chico Alliance Church
I. REBUILDING THE WALLS 1-7
A. Recognizing the needs through inquiry
B. Responding to needs through intense intercession
C. Resolving needs through planning and perseverance
D. Resisting opposition through prayer and perseverance
1. Resisting devaluation of authority and heritage
a) Declare your position in Christ
b) Deny participation of the enemy
2. Resisting Ridicule
a) Pray in the will of god
b) Press on in the work of God
3. Resisting Intimidation 7-9
a) Pray to God
b) Post a guard
4. Resisting Threats and fear 10-20
a) Develop family fighting skills vs 13
b) Deal with fear by encouragement vs 14
(1) We have an awesome God
(2) We have an awesome responsibility
c) Determine to carry on the great work vs 15
d) Discover the balance between battling and building 16-18
e) Devise a spiritual "911" system 19-20
5. Resisting Internal Strife 5:1-19
a) Consider our emotions
b) Consult with oneself
c) Confront the wrong
d) Call for specific commitment 10b-12
(1) Cease the offense
(2) Compensate the exploitation
e) Concentrate on accountability to God vs 13
f) Continue a good example 14-19
Many of us remember certain milestones of achievement in our life.
High School graduation
All of us have worked hard at projects where we wondered if we would ever finish. We fought obstacles, failed, restarted and often fretted but when we finally finished the venture, we experienced for a moment great joy and sense of achievement. Nehemiah has withstood opposition to the rebuilding project all along the way and now comes to the final stretch. He is about to complete a very difficult project in an amazingly short period of time; a project that some would not have even dared to attempt in the first place. Yet there still remains more opposition to weather as Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem continue their varied assaults. There seems to be several key points throughout a project where we come under greater opposition.
At the beginning
Half way through
Just before completion
Just after completion
All the wall is now finished, only the gates and doors remain. Stage one of Nehemiah's project is near completion and Sanballat throws three more fast balls in an attempt to strike out Nehemiah.
6. Resisting Persistent distraction 6:1-4
a) The Problem
Whereas before Sanballat attacked the people, now he focuses on the leadership itself -- Nehemiah in particular.
Sanballat tries to distract Nehemiah from the wall by calling him away to meet them about 25 miles Northwest of Jerusalem in a kind of no-man's land. This was not an effort on Sanballat's part to make peace. Nehemiah knew and it became know later that they were seeking to do harm. What was there to talk about? The fact had already been made clear that these enemies would be allowed to have no part in this work. The design was to deceive and draw Nehemiah away from his prime directive from the Lord. Sanballat was persistent. Four different times Sanballat tried to get Nehemiah distracted from his priority. Often times we do well until the temptation goes on and on.
b) The Principle
Proper priorities prevent persistent distraction
"I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.
Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?"
We need to learn to say, "NO!" Yes we need to be available to the distress of people but we need to be more attentive to the direction of God. WE need to be sensitive to the problems of people but we need to be more subject to the priorities of God. Satan tries to block the best by getting us engrossed in the good. There are many good things in this life but we can't do them all. We must learn to operate our life by priorities given us by God.
We must learn to resist Satan's attempts to get us to meet him in the desert for a distracting chat.
All of us operate around a set of priorities which are a reflection of what we value or feel is most important in life.
These may or may not be conscious or verbalized in our mind but we have them. These priorities will determine where we will expend our limited energy and resources. If my ultimate priority is to be happy, I will expend the greater portion of my time an energy seeking happiness. If my priority is family, it will be reflected in the kind of time I spend with my family. We will find time and energy for whatever we see as valuable. If self-comfort is my priority, then I will spend my energy getting comfortable. If we were to spend significant time with a particular person, we would soon be able to discern their priorities where they invested their God given resources.