It will happen again and again.
Before we get to Nehemiah (the final segment) many of us relate to what it feels like to fail. Remember that hour that passed between the second time Peter denied knowing Jesus and the third and final time? It had to feel like an eternity, sitting there in the nighttime firelight, overcome with dread and uncertainty.
There was time to think.
Maybe he thought about some way to still stop this entire process, this thing that was about to happen (that had been his instinct the first time, after all). Maybe he thought about running. Maybe he thought about the next question that would come, and what he would say. Maybe he tried to steel himself and his friendship and revelation of Christ, come what may. Maybe he had the exact words prepared in his mind.
And maybe he knew by then, after those first two denials, the likelihood that he would find his strength now was rather low. A man must have never known a longer hour.
It happens again. Peter denies Christ. The rooster crows, and Jesus looks at Peter, because even though Peter has denied Jesus . . . Jesus has not denied him.
Most of us know what it’s like to live our whole lives in the space of that hour. We hope. We try. We believe we will probably fail. It will happen over and over again—until we find words of truth which spiral, circling round and round us with hope.
We’re here with you tonight for a reason ❤️ You don’t have to live without hope or in chains. Words of truth are freedom. These four segments have helped us raise the bar in our own encouragement, strength, building, and understanding “as a man thinketh, so is he”. We’re better and stronger when we apply these words to our lives.
Share this with a friend is always sad when they get to the last chapter. It’s been eye-opening.
Brother Nobles taught us in his message that we cannot build if we get stuck in an always-needing-to-be-encouraged mindset. If all we can do through this time is keep ourselves and others from being discouraged, we are not using the fullness of what God has given us to use.
Nehemiah Encouraged Himself
Nehemiah starts off saddened by what has happened to the Jews, which shows us he had to overcome getting stuck in his own feelings and encourage himself. He has great compassion, watches out for God’s people, and enforces the rules—but no one is more dead serious than he is about getting the job done.
“And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.” -Nehemiah 1:3-4
While Serving Whine to the King
Nehemiah, a cup-bearer, has a sad countenance one day while serving the king his wine. The king asks what is wrong and Nehemiah explains how his people’s city has become a wasteland. The king asks what he requests from him, so Nehemiah prays. He then asks the king if he can return to his homeland and help rebuild the city. The king approves and sends letters that grant him safe passage and tells the guy that oversees the king’s forest to give him the wood he needs to do the rebuilding, and to build himself a house.
“And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.” -Nehemiah 2:8
So Far So Good
Until two of Israel’s enemies, Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite, get wind of Nehemiah coming to help the Israelites. They are not happy.
Nehemiah stays in Jerusalem for three days and then heads out with a few men to inspect the city’s walls—he does all of this in strict secrecy and is stealthy. He explains to them all how God and the king have both been gracious to him and urges everyone to get on board and rebuild the wall.
Everyone Says: “Let’s Do It
Sanballat ridicules the Jews, and Tobiah claims that they’re doing such a shabby job of it that even a fox could knock down the wall.
Nice Try, Tobiah.
Nehemiah asks God to bring the guilt of these enemies down on them since they taunted His people. Meanwhile, the people manage to rebuild the wall up to half its previous height, working really, really hard, which makes the enemies even angrier when they hear how well the rebuilding and repairs are going.
Now Back to the Action
The people are serious about building the wall, and half the workers hold weapons and guard the site while the other half work. While the enemies plot against them, the people pray and set up a guard 24/7 to keep watch against their enemies. The workers complain about how difficult the building has become and people in other towns warn of the enemies plotting against them.
Nehemiah Reorganizes Things
He stations people in strategic locations around the wall, guarding the reconstruction with weapons and urges the nobles, officials, and everyone else to not to be afraid, to remember God, and to fight to protect their families and homes.
“The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another.” -Nehemiah 4:19
Through this adversarial condition, Nehemiah doesn’t allow discouragement to interfere with getting the job done–no matter how huge the obstacles were in front of him. If he had to wait to be encouraged by someone to get through this condition, many lives would have been lost. He always has a plan as he tells the nobles to come to their aid if the workers blow a trumpet for help, since they’re pretty spread out as they rebuild. Nehemiah orders everyone to spend the night inside Jerusalem so that they’ll be able to repel any nighttime attacks, if needed.
The enemies realize that their plots been foiled, so they don’t attack.
A Wall Built Through Great Adversity
During this time of adversity, we have to continue to build the wall. We are the wall, and we face obstacles and conditions that are trying to disrupt the reconstruction of us building.
We should not come through this condition now, and all we were able to do was . . . stay encouraged a few weeks.
We should come out saying, “We built during this time!”
Our encouragement was strength added to strength.
We encourage, and then we build. If we lay off building the Body of Christ, this carnal nature takes over and stops the building. Nehemiah built through everything. He had to encourage himself to keep building through such troublesome times.
The People Had a Mind to Work
So they built the wall, for the people had a mind to work . . . adding strength to strength.
“So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.” -Nehemiah 4:6
We are the people of God and heirs of God. We are already encouraged! We haven’t lost Him, the truth we were established in, the love of the people of God, or the love of God. We are still doing well.
Do not put your trust in Pharaoh. Thank God right now. That is our shout of victory! Thank him for His mercy, His blessing, and for keeping you and the people of God.
Our thankfulness is the shouting for victory He’s looking for.
Every message, every testimony, every song you hear—let it add strength to your strength.
Let’s build during this time!!!
2 thoughts on “OVERWHELMING ODDS: NEHEMIAH (Part 4 of 4)”
You had me at 1 of 4 and kept me through 4 of 4! I think I will go out and pick a fight so I can WIN. No, I’m not going to do anything like that. But, if a battle comes my way, I’m not sticking my head in the sand because I know that nothing can happen to me that isn’t DIRECTED OR ALLOWED BY GOD! As Bro. Nobles said, “I’m not looking to come out of this thing wounded. I’m looking to come out of this thing strengthened.” ADDING STRENGTH TO STRENGTH…..BUILDING THE WALL…..
Sis Lisa, in my mind’s eye, I could see Elder giving that ole “one two punch” in the air and “kicking his leg up” over his head – and shouting “UP” “UP” “UP” like we have all seen and heard so many times. Then he elbows Jesus and says, “That’s my baby girl!”
Through the battles of internal struggles (King Asa), Encouraging ourselves in the Lord through opposition (King David), Overcoming through all of life’s trials (Apostle Paul), and Building a Restored Church through what seems overwhelming odds (Nehemiah), We have great examples of Victory and Rejoicing all around us! As Bro Nobles reminded us, this is the victory that over cometh the world, even our Faith! We have been, and will be, well taken care of by the Lord! I’m reminded of one the Elder’s favorites, Heb. 13:5-6! We’re Winning saints!