Summary: It serves us well to go to God and ask Him, “What’s the reason I’m facing this particular problem?” If you are spiritually sensitive, you’ll find that sometimes, God has engineered the problem you are facing to correct you – to discipline you – to get yo

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Have you ever wondered, “What’s the point of problems? Why do I find myself in mess after mess after mess?” God uses troubles…

… to protect us.

Maybe you’re headed in a wrong direction or find yourself in a place you shouldn’t be in. God will arrange some trouble to come to remove us danger.

A few nights ago, the Giants and Angels were playing in SF. With J.T Snow and David Bell on base, Kenny Lofton his a triple to right center. Darren Baker, son of manager Dusty Baker, went out to grab Lofton’s bat as the Giants runners rounded the bases. He was in a dangerous spot right at home plate as these big men are running at full speed. On his way across home plate, Snow, with Bell fast on his trail, scooped up Darren by his jacket and carried him off the field. Removed for protective purposes. God uses troubles to protect us.

… to inspect us.

We’ve talked about this before. Imagine yourself as a pot, a glass container, a vase. Troubles come and push us over. What is on the inside ends up on the outside. What’s supposed to come out is love, joy, and peace. What often comes out is resentment, anger, and worry. God uses troubles to inspect us.

… to correct us.

It’s this last point that we’re concerned with today. It serves us well to go to God and ask Him, “What’s the reason I’m facing this particular problem?” If you are spiritually sensitive, you’ll find that sometimes, God has engineered the problem you are facing to correct you – to discipline you – to get you back in line with where He wants you to be. And that might just be true for you today!

When your distress is discipline

Series: Here’s Hope: Rebuilding a broken world

Text: Nehemiah 9, 10, p.

The people of God now have security. The walls have been rebuilt around their city. They are now well-led and organized. They’ve even had a wonderful spiritual experience – a great worship service – after the walls were rebuilt. God was honored and they were encouraged. Yet things still aren’t quite right…

36 Behold, we are slaves today, and as to the land which You gave to our fathers to eat of its fruit and its bounty, behold, we are slaves in it.

37 Its abundant produce is for the kings whom You have set over us because of our sins; they also rule over our bodies and over our cattle as they please, so we are in great distress.

Nehemiah 9:36-37

Distress = trouble, affliction, adversity

They sensed that the distress they were experiencing was really discipline from the hand of God. From time to time, that will be our experience, too. We’ll have this sense that the tough times we’re going through is because we’re not living the way God really wants us to live. He’s seeking to get our attention through distress. What do you do? How do you handle it?

When your distress is discipline…

1. … show your sorrow. vv. 9:1-3

One of our greatest challenges is to own up to our own sins, and the sins of our family and really come clean before God. Confession of our wrongs is vital in our relationship to God.

Are you going through a stressful time? It’s easy to blame everyone else for it. Have you demonstrated a brokenness, a humility, a repentance? Notice what these people did…

1 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt upon them.

2 The descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.

3 While they stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the LORD their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God.

Nehemiah 9:1-3

Last week, we saw the people of God celebrating – they threw a God-glorifying party. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” But after only a few days, feasting gave place to fasting; joy became humiliation.

Listen, rejoicing in the Lord and wearing sackcloth must both be a part of our experience. Throwing a party and fasting – denying ourselves – must both happen. There’s a time to laugh and a time to mourn.

Some of us are comfortable with one and not the other. But we must remember, it is the humble and contrite heart that God does not despise. God will never plant the seed of His life upon the soil of a hard, unbroken spirit.

When your distress is discipline, show your sorrow.

2. … eliminate your excuses. vv. 9:32-34

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