Summary: Background for Nehemiah series, motivating the decimated. In this message we talk about the morale of the Jews who long ago had hung up their harps and how Nehemiah had to some how motivate them to build again.
You Don't Have the Right to Remain Silent
PPT 1 - Series slide
Last week we began our series on the book of Nehemiah, "Rebuilding and Restoring," by reading the first four verses of chapter 1 and noting that the people living in Jerusalem were living in great reproach and distress behind broken down walls.
Our first message was concerned with what it meant to be living behind broken walls. I spoke of two walls in particular that we need to be diligent the enemy doesn't damage, the walls of "Sacred Space," and the walls of our convictions. Don't let the devil crowd God out of your life with things and activities. Protect your "GOD" time, and beware of letting your convictions slip.
PPT 2 - Proverbs 25:28 with pic
Pr 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
The destruction of Jerusalem and its walls was a visible picture of the nations spiritual condition. It was if God was saying to them, The destruction of Jerusalem and its walls was so that what you now see on the outside, is what I was seeing on the inside."
Today we are still just laying the foundation for our study in Nehemia, and I want to talk about the morale of the people Nehemiah would have to be motivating.
PPT 3 - Text Ps 137:1-4
Ps 137:1 ¶ By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down and wept, When we remembered Zion.
Ps 137:2 Upon the willows in the midst of it We hung our harps.
Ps 137:3 For there our captors demanded of us songs, And our tormentors mirth, [saying], "Sing us one of the songs of Zion."
Ps 137:4 How can we sing the LORD'S song In a foreign land?
The background for the book of Nehemiah is found in the biblical books of Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Haggai, Ezra, Esther and Zechariah.
Jeremiah painted the picture of where they were as a nation, and the judgment that was coming.
Ezekiel and Daniel prophesied to the people in the captivity. Haggai and Zechariah prophesied to the people who returned from Babylon and encouraged them in the rebuilding of the temple. Ezra encouraged the returnees to follow the law of God, lest God judge them again. Esther, like Daniel and Nehemiah is the story of a Jew who rose to high rank in a foreign land. Lastly, we have this little gem in the book of Psalms that speaks of the morale of the Jews in captivity. It paints for us a picture of a devastated people.
So today we are going to talk about the daunting task Nehemiah was about to face. I am not talking about construction issues, the building of walls is no big deal. I am talking about people who have been in a rut for almost 90 years. They had been back for 90 years and though they had rebuilt the temple the city remained in ruins. Everyone was into one thing: self.
Haggai the prophet speaks to this issue, challenging them that they have sown much and reaped little. Why? Because they lived in paneled houses while the house of God was in disrepair. He further said, they were putting their earnings into pockets with holes in them, because they weren't honoring the Lord in their giving. In like manner as long as the cities walls remained in ruins they would only prosper so much. Can you imagine what our country would be like without borders? That was Israel, and the task seemed so daunting no one did anything about it. The people who hung up their harps, still, 90 years later hadn't picked them up.
How do you motivate the decimated? When people have stagnation, the greatest battle they have is not the opposition or the great mountain, but the battle within themselves.
How do you bring back to life, people who have given up, and are living on life support?
How do you bring back a marriage that is on life support, living behind broken down walls of communication and intimacy? Nehemiah is the person God gave this task to. He succeeded, which gives us hope about all the broken walls and broken people around us.
I have an encouraging word:
Daniel 9: 25 the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
God's kingdom will advance even though we will lose ground in the political realm, financial realm, and in the realm of religious liberties. This prophecy from Daniel tells that the city would be rebuilt despite the fact of troublesome time. The kingdom of God advances regardless of the economy.
So how do you motivate the decimated?
1. First of all you need a person who believes dry bones can live again.