More than most talks, I’ve had huge feedback from engaging Nehemiah 4, as part of our ‘Rebuilding’ sermon series at church. I ended up digging around themes of discouragement and opposition. For when we choose to build, we surely choose a battle! Its just like CH Spurgeon when he said:- “God had one Son without sin but He never had a son without trial.”
Opposition is real for you and me: just as when we come to chapter 4 things get even more complicated for Nehemiah.
Nehemiah is leading the charge to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, just like each of us is about effort toward the growth and wellbeing our lives, relationships, career, business or family. Nine different types of attack come against Nehemiah in the chapters between Nehemiah 4-6, yet Nehemiah remained ‘steadfast and unmovable’, going on to led the people to finish the work in an impressive fifty-two days!
Fatigue, fear and frustration really mark this part of the exilic record and are such an encouragement as God speaks to our struggle, with example and encouragement.
Hold this with how Brené Brown writes in Daring Greatly. “Remembering that shame is the fear of disconnection – the fear that we’re unlovable and that we don’t belong – makes it easy to see why so many people in midlife over focus on their children’s lives, work sixty hours a week, or turn to affairs, addiction, and disengagement. We start to unravel. The expectations and messages that fuel shame keep us from fully realizing who we are as people… As I look back on what I’ve learned about shame, gender, and worthiness, the greatest lesson is this: If we’re going to find a way out of shame and back to each other, vulnerability is the path and courage is the light. To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”
The first cure is to request God’s help. Seek God’s way in it all. The pattern of prayer for Nehemiah is foundational to all He was about. I have much to learn here…….how about you?
The second cure is to reorganize your priorities. Verse 13 reflects a plan, with lots of practicalities that grow the confidence of the people and deter the opponents of God.
And the final thing I suguest if you want to defeat discouragement:- remember who God is! Nehemiah rallied his people through verse 14: “…Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome…”
“Don’t be afraid, God is great” is our confidence for all times and situations.