Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cures for Discouragement - Nehemiah 4

Yesterday we learned that the vision God had given Nehemiah seemed to be crumbling before him.  But Nehemiah did not stand around with his face in his hands. He went to God in prayer concerning this matter.  God gave Nehemiah the plan of action that was needed.

He Unified the People Around the Same Goal - 4:13,14b Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14b Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses."

During the times of rebuilding families were separated. But now with the scare of attack, Nehemiah positioned the families together and gave them a common goal of "Preservation."

He Directed their Attention to the Lord 4:14 And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses."  They were focusing on the debris, the clutter, and the enemy rather than God.  We give our attention to what we feel is important.  And what we believe is important is what we will focus on.  Nehemiah asks the people to remember how God has worked for them in the past.

He Encouraged them to Maintain a Balance - 4:15-18 And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah. Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me. In the midst of repositioning the families and speaking to the people, the work had ceased.  At times it is good to step away from that which is discouraging us, and come back to it later.  Nehemiah recognizing the fears of attack, asked the people to work and watch at the same time.  They carried weapons while they worked.  The work was much harder but it brought a needed balance within the people.  There is such a thing as becoming consumed by our work and unbalanced in our lives.

He Provided a Rallying Point - 4:19-20 Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, "The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. "Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us."  The city wall was approximately 1400 yards in length (14 football fields) and 100-400 yards wide at points.  If an attack was made the trumpet was blown and everyone rallied to that position. There's a principle here..."DON'T FIGHT ALONE!"  It provided that means of security the people were lacking. Once again, Nehemiah reminded them that God would fight for them.

He Occupied them in a Ministry to Others - 4:21-22 So we labored in the work, and half of the men held the spears from daybreak until the stars appeared. At the same time I also said to the people, "Let each man and his servant stay at night in Jerusalem, that they may be our guard by night and a working party by day."  Nehemiah knew that the people would increase in confidence faith, and morale, if they served one another rather than self.  When someone is depending upon us, we work in a greater fashion.  I feel my strongest when I am serving others!

These are not steps of remedy that will cure all discouragement in your life.  But we can apply this lesson from God's Word, by saying this....In times of discouragement I need to look to God, not for simple answers or simple solutions, but for strength to endure and conquer the moment.

Scripture to Claim:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.  John 16:33 ESV 

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