Summary: Sermon 4 in a series entitled, "Under Construction"
When Trouble Comes, Don’t Ask Dr. Phil, Get on Your Knees
I am reminded of an old song entitled, “There’s Never Been a Mountain that the Lord Could Not Move It” another song is “Nothing’s Too Big for My God”. No matter the situation, God can handle it. This passage of God’s Word leads us to the point of understanding how to handle conflict and criticism, and who to turn to in these situations. In the early 1980’s, Charles Stanley wrote a book on how to handle adversity – in that book, he focused on two specific items to be able to handle adversity – 1 – Reading and taking heed to the Holy Scriptures. 2 – Praying to Almighty God.
Nehemiah has proven to us through chapters 1-3 that he knew the proper way to handle each situation – give it to God, let Him do the work, and listen for His command. During his four month time of praying and fasting, he literally took Psalm 46:10 to heart – “Be Still and Know that I am God.” So today, we look at the fourth chapter of this wonderful book and it leads us to the sight of the building of the wall. Of course, problems are on the way – but notice how Nehemiah handles the problem(s).
I. Criticism Reigns within Sanballat and Tobiah
a. Sanballat was quite angry and mad that the Jews had succeeded to this point. The wall was going up and his power was diminishing by the minute.
b. He was not getting his way, so like a two year old, he had to pout.
c. Tobiah, being the trusty sidekick, much like Ed McMahon was to Johnny Carson, had to throw in his two cents worth as well.
• How many of us have Sanballat and Tobiah surrounding us on a daily basis?
o Those who are critical
o Those who are slanderous
o Those who think that they are better than you
o Those who speak before they think
• How do we need to handle these people?
o Do we get into a war of words?
o Do we need to panic and call someone for help?
Who would we need to call? Dr. Phil or Oprah?
Neither one, look what Nehemiah does.
II. Prayer comes from Nehemiah’s heart
a. Nehemiah realized the anger that was aimed at him and the people who were working hard.
b. Realizing that he could do nothing on his own to combat this situation, Nehemiah hit his knees and cried out to God.
i. Some have thought that Nehemiah’s prayer was quite harsh towards his enemies, however this was the main idea of his prayer:
1. Father let them reap according to what they have sewn.
• Every day, people are falsely accused of things. People are cursed at, spit at, mocked at. According to the prayer of Nehemiah – let them receive payment for what they have done to others
• Nehemiah prayed to God because he knew that God was there for Him to call upon. What about you this morning? Is your relationship one that you can call on Jesus?
• Nicole C Mullen wrote these words – “When I Call on Jesus, nothing is impossible, I can mount on wings like Eagles and soar. When I call on Jesus, mountains are ‘gonna fall, Cause He’ll move Heaven and Earth, to come rescue me when I fall”
• Think about it – who are you gonna call on when times are tough, Dr. Phil or the Great Physician?
III. Nehemiah went to work
a. Although trials and tribulations were all around him, Nehemiah encouraged his people to keep on keeping on.
b. When Satan is attacking, keep your eyes focused on Christ and don’t allow Satan to get a stronghold.
i. Give Satan an inch and he’ll become your ruler.
c. Nehemiah didn’t allow the criticism to get him off of God’s plan.
i. He didn’t allow his people to get sidetracked either
1. “They were all of a mind to work”
• What about us?
• When criticism comes, what do we do? Do we try to crawl under a rock and hide? Do we try to cover up things? Do we try to come to a solution on our own? Or do we give our cares to Jesus and press on for the high calling of Christ?
Today, there are folks in this room that are going through a tough time, whether it be at home or at work, times are tough. You have many Sanballats and Tobiahs in your life. However the tough times may be, you can be relieved of these burdens today. You see, Jesus Christ died on the cross, shed His precious blood, resurrected and ascended into Heaven and it sitting on the right hand of God as an intercessor for you and I. Give your all to Him today.
You may realize that you’ve never been saved, today is the day. – Let us pray