Nehemiah 4, How To Respond To Attacks Against Your Work For God
1. Ignore Mockery With Prayer, And Keep Working (v1-6)
2. Defend Against Threats With Prayer And Practical Wisdom, And Keep Working (v7-18)
3. Recover From Discouragement With Fellowship, And Keep Working (v10-23)
Nehemiah 4, How To Respond To Attacks Against Your Work For God
Nehemiah 4, How To Respond To Attacks Against Your Work For God
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As we look at Nehemiah Chapter 4 this evening, I have titled the message how to respond to attacks against your work for God.
How to respond to attacks. Now Nehemiah here is about the Lord's business. He is in progress of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
It was the answer to his prayer and he came from Babylon to come from Persia to come.
And to do this work God was with him in it it was the fulfillment of the things that he had been praying about.
And yet, in the midst of it he finds real opposition.
To the work now, a quick look at the timeline before we get into some of those details.
Here is a look at the timeline of some of the Old Testament history there.
Going back from the time of Joshua into the judges to the times of the Kings and in first and second chronicles we kind of went through that timeline again, walking through the kings of Judah up until their destruction because of their rebellion against God, Babylon.
Came conquered Judah and Jerusalem took them all away captive.
There was that 70 year period of captivity we saw briefly the book of Ezra in our reading, and we touched on it last week.
And so that was the return.
After this gap of time, they returned to Jerusalem with the specific purpose of rebuilding the temple.
And Ezra wasn't part of that initial crew, but Zerubbabel was the leader of the campaign, and he led about 50,000 people back to work.
On that there was a good amount of.
Time that was involved and a lot of work and effort and some important lessons to be considered there in that rebuilding.
But then there's another gap of time in that gap of time.
We'll look at the book of Esther in a little bit, and so she kind of falls in that time frame.
But then a little bit later, Nehemiah comes on the scene.
Ezra comes a little bit before him.
But Nehemiah goes back not to rebuild the temple.
The temple has been rebuilt.
It's been completed for about 20 years by this time, but Nehemiah hears about the walls of Jerusalem still being broken down, and the people of Jerusalem still being in a desperate St.
And so he prays.
God gives him an opportunity before the King of Persia.
And the king of Persia sends.
Him back to rebuild the.
But as we look at Chapter 4 tonight, we see that in the rebuilding of this wall there is opposition.
There is attacks and attempts to derail and destroy the work that God had called him to, and I don't know if this took Nehemiah by surprise.
My guess is that it did not.
But sometimes you and I can be quite surprised when we find resistance and opposition to things that we know God has called us to that sometimes we have this sense of call.
We have this sense of direction from the Lord.
We know God wants us to do this and then are just kind of expecting.
Everything then to go smoothly and for there to not be problems and issues.
And we kind of have this idea.
That because God told us to do it because God's in it that it's just going to be easy and not going to be much difficulty along with it.
And even though we know better than to think that or to expect that, at least for myself, I could say, you know, I find that there is still that tendency to be caught.
Off guard and surprised when there is challenges, pushback and opposition as I head down the path that I know God has set me.
And it's something for us to be aware of that that God does allow for battles and opposition even on the things that God desires.
In that where we're in the center of God's will, right in the middle of God's plan, doing exactly the things that God wants us to do, there can be attacks.
And opposition and real threats that come against us.
The apostle Paul told the Corinthians.
In second Corinthians chapter 2.
That we are not ignorant of Satan's devices that there was a issue of potential for them to be taken advantage of or for Satan to take advantage of them because of their lack of forgiveness for the brother who had sinned and then repented. And he says, look, we don't want Satan to take advantage of us.
We're not ignorant of his devices and he's really calling the Corinthians to be more strategic than there be.
I mean to employ better tactics than they're employing that that in their resistance to forgive this guy and receive him back, like there was an issue there.
But apart from the the issue of that guy and his forgiveness or repentance and all of that, he's saying, look, you're you're not being very strategic about your behavior.
Here you're not understanding that the enemy is looking for ways to take advantage of us and and we have to be aware of his tactics.
We're not ignorant of his tactics and and we have to be on guard and be strategic about the way that we behave.
We've to protect ourselves against those kinds of vulnerabilities.
There is going to be attacks against you every time you seek to do something good for God.
Whenever you desire to, let's say step up your Bible reading time and you know maybe it's been kind of languishing.
It's been neglected and and you have this desire in your heart, the Lord stirring up this recommitment and and kind of revival in regards to the things of the.
3rd, I would suggest that you need to be strategic and understand that as you do that you should do that as God prompts you and moves your heart.
But you also need to understand there's going to be attacks from the enemy that come with that.
Maybe God is stirring up something different.
He's really speaking to you about times of prayer in your prayer life, and maybe some specific people to pray for things to pray for.
Ways to pray.
Times to pray and and you know God has put this on your heart and so it's going to be a good thing and it's going to be something that God wants and God is going to be pleased with it.
And and yet.
As you endeavor to do it as you.
Step into that I would.
Encourage you to be aware.
Doing exactly what God wants you to do, you are likely going to experience some real attacks.
There's going to be some opposition and resistance even as you set out to do the very thing that God put upon your heart.
Maybe there's a mission trip opportunity, such as a trip to Bakersfield or a trip to Mexico, or a trip to somewhere else.
Maybe it's a move to Texas or something like that that you know God worked it out.
He's given the confirmations, he's set the path ahead of you and and it's clear and maybe even kind of ran from it and resisted until the Lord just made it abundantly clear.
This is what he wants from you now as you step forward.
Get into it.
Don't be ignorant of the enemies devices and be expecting everything to just go completely without issue there.
There is going to be some attacks.
There's going to be some opposition and and there needs to be a little bit of preparation and some some tactical.
You know approaches on our side in in.
Answering those attacks.
Not just in dodging them, but but in dealing with them in a way that shuts them down and is effective at moving beyond those attacks that will come.
Perhaps there is going to be an opportunity in front.
Of you to.
Serve in some capacity.
Perhaps you know you've been given an invitation to serve in a particular way, or there's a particular need in the body of Christ or in the community around you.
God has brought some confirmation.
He's done some stirring up in your heart and maybe you're reluctant to do it.
Or maybe you're excited to do it.
But as you step forward to.
Do the thing.
And fill the role that God has given to you and you know God given you that role and he's.
Called you to it.
There's going to be attacks.
Perhaps God, given you a role within the home and he's been speaking to you about that and how to fulfill that.
How to be the spouse that God wants you to be?
How to be the.
Parents that God wants you to be.
And as you respond, as you start to move in that direction of doing what it is that God wants you to do, there's going to be attacks against you.
How do we respond to those attacks?
Well, Nehemiah here provides for us a really great example.
To see the opposition to the.
Thing that he knew God.
Had called him too, there's.
Real danger here. Real threats.
And the way that he responds to them provides really some tools for us to respond to similar attacks in our life as well.
Pastor Warren Wisby says the enemy wants you to think.
That your work is not important, that you are too weak to do it, and that if you finish it, it will not last.
In other words, he wants you to believe that it is not worth it at all, so you might as well quit.
The enemy is on a mission to convince you to quit.
Understand that the.
Enemy cannot stop what God wants to do.
But God does allow the enemy to attack, so that if you respond to the attack poorly and quit well, then God allows you to miss out on that direction on that path on that work that he is calling you to, and so the enemy's mission is to get.
You to quit on your own 'cause he can't take away God calling from you.
That mission trip that role within the home, that ministry opportunity, that prayer life, that time in the word that God.
Wants you he?
Can't take any of that away.
But if he can convince you to give up on your own.
Then he will accomplish the same thing, and so that's his mission to try to get you to think less of the opportunity.
Your work is not that important.
You know, it's interesting how, perhaps on Sunday you can be like man, time and the word is so important.
Oh yes, I need to and I'm going to be devoted to my relationship with God and I'm gonna just wow.
And then Monday morning it's like.
You know it's not.
That important, if I miss one day, it's not that big of a deal, it's this is a tactic of the enemy to get us to belittle what God has set before us.
Or he'll try to convince us we're too weak and you see this unfold.
Here in the chapter.
It's not important.
It's too weak.
Even if you get through it, it doesn't last.
It's not going to be super meaningful, so you might as well just give up.
Why put in the effort?
Why go through the the hurt and pain of you know faithfulness that is.
Tired, you might as well give up on the outset if you've ever felt any of those things you've experienced.
Some of the attacks of the enemy, and so how do we respond?
Well, Nehemiah is going to walk us through some examples here.
We're going to start in verses one through 6 for point number, one to consider nehemiah's example, and how?
To respond to the attacks that come against.
Us as we.
Do the work that God has called us to point number one.
Ignore mockery with prayer.
And keep working.
Ignore mockery with prayer and keep working, jumping into verse one again, it says, but it so happened when Sanballat heard that they or that we were rebuilding the wall.
That he was.
Furious and very indignant and mocked.
Nehemiah is back in town.
He's starting the work of building, rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
But not everybody is a fan of the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem and the work that God wants.
To do there and so here is sanballat.
This enemy really of the work of God.
And the enemy of Israel.
He was upset.
Furious and very indignant, it says.
When he heard that they were rebuilding the wall.
When when he got this news it riled him up and he was furious.
But what's interesting is that he came and expressed that fury and indignation in a very particular way.
Sanballat as an enemy of the work of God is being strategic and tactical in his approach.
He doesn't just come to them and.
Say I'm really angry that you guys are doing this.
He doesn't just come out and reveal the very thing that's happening internally, right?
Instead he comes up.
With a strategy.
And he mocks the Jews.
And basically the idea is if I can.
Make fun of them enough.
Convince them to quit by my laughing at them.
That will be more effective than me just coming and telling them I'm very angry with you.
If I go and tell them I'm very angry with them, then they're not going to be.
Quick to put down their tools and just go back home but but if I laugh at them if I mock them if I scorn them.
And get them to.
Think little of their work and themselves.
My mission will be accomplished sanballat would say, and so so he's being very tactical.
He's employing great strategy.
He's not just exploding because he's angry.
He's taking that anger.
He's channeling, and he's saying, OK, now what's going to be?
The most effective way.
To get these guys.
To stop building the wall.
We see some of the mockery in verse two.
He spoke notice before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and so he has a little bit of a platform.
It's not just one guy, he brings out his whole crew.
As well as.
The Army of Sumerian.
We don't know exactly what his connection to the army of Samaria is, but but you can imagine there's work going on at the wall, right?
And and Sanballat brings a crowd and starts doing a stand up routine mocking the Jewish people behind him who are working on this wall.
Got the laugh track.
You know, set with his brethren and the army of Samaria, and they're just laughing and scorning and ridiculing the Jewish people.
What are these feeble Jews doing?
These guys are weak.
They've been sitting here with, you know, broken down rubble for 100 years.
Just you know, barely back in the land and they rebuilt the temple, but they haven't done anything since then.
They're they're just weak, they're just vulnerable.
They have no strength.
There's only a few of them.
There's so much.
More of us.
What are these weak feeble guys doing?
Will they fortify themselves?
Will they ha?
Ha, you know that's such a ridiculous thought.
That's such a silly thought that they could fortify themselves and protect themselves.
They they're in such a dangerous position.
There is no way they can protect themselves that they can't finish this wall.
Are they going to offer sacrifices and now God's just going to do some miracle and you know, put up the wall for them overnight. Will they complete it in a day?
No, look at this wall.
It has all there's so much work to be done and it's a long process that they're surely going to be wiped out or give up or run out of resources.
Long before they ever finished this project.
Will they revive the stones at the from the heaps of rubbish?
These stones that have been burned that they've got a bunch of worthless materials.
They're feeble, their materials are feeble, they're never gonna finish this, and he's.
Sharing these things.
To stir up a laugh.
To stir up scorn out loud, getting a bunch of people to laugh at Nehemiah.
And those who are working on the wall.
And then he has a little.
Bit of a sidekick.
Sanballat opens the show and then Tobia closes it to buy.
It comes on the scene in verse three to buy.
The ammonite was beside.
Him and he said.
Whatever they build, if even.
A fox goes up on it.
He will break down their stone wall.
We have a fox here around the area.
Every once in a while we get a glimpse of him and I meant to grab a picture 'cause I took a picture of him on the back wall right next to the the pet place and I I watched the fox like run across the parking lot and then jump onto the wall.
Would have been a perfect picture for tonight's service, but I totally spaced on it and forgot it so.
Right now, but.
The Fox jumped on the wall and the wall.
Didn't crumble here, right?
It's a solid block wall.
Now, foxes aren't known for breaking down block walls.
They are lightweight animals.
They're not large animals.
It's not like a hippopotamus, right?
A hippopotamus went on that wall.
It would break you down, you know, like well, that wouldn't be that, but it big of a surprise, right?
Uh, Fox you're talking about, you know, £10.
Not not half.
Not super destructive, but but a fox.
If it jumps on the wall, Tobias says, even even a little fox, just little prancing around jumping would destroy the work that they've done.
Their best efforts are just going to crumble so easily.
And so they're mocking Israel, they're mocking those who are rebuilding.
And it's an effective tool of the enemy.
Again, be aware.
Expecting this to be a tactic that the enemy might use against you.
There's a saying there are many people who stand bravely.
When they're shot at with bullets.
In the face of laughter.
Many people stand.
Bravely they can.
They can be shot out, they can be.
Hurt they can, but a little.
Bit of scoring a little bit of mockery and and it is a completely different story.
Cause me to think about Goliath.
You remember when Goliath came out against?
The nation of.
Israel. What was the tactic?
Intimidation was one of them.
We'll talk about that.
But mockery, he he mocked Israel.
He mocked the God of Israel.
He mocked all of the soldiers of Israel and and when David the one guy brave enough to go out against him and the one who had faith enough in God to go out and feast Goliath, what did Goliath do?
It's an effective tool.
Many times that the enemy will use to try to get us to give up.
And when it comes to mockery, we need.
To not listen to it to not.
Let it take hold.
But instead what we see Nehemiah do is to ignore it and he goes to God in prayer.
Check out verse four and five here, or a God for we are despised.
Turn their approach on their own heads and give them as plunder to a land of captivity.
Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before you.
For they have provoked you to anger before the builders.
They've provoked God to anger before the builders, so sanballat and tobiah have two audiences, the audience that they brought, and then those who are building the wall.
And they're mocking. They're scorning.
Nehemiah doesn't try to go and answer and say, hey, we're not feeble, or even if we are feeble God strong and in our weakness his strength is made perfect.
You know he doesn't, he doesn't.
Try to answer.
All of the mocking.
Each point of the scorning.
Sets it aside and says God, look at this mess.
Look at all this laughter and scorn that they're doing this despising.
That's happening God.
You deal with that and then verse six so.
We built the wall.
And the entire wall was joined together up to.
Half its height.
For the people had a mind to work.
The people had a mind to work, so they pressed on.
They continued working and they were able to connect the wall.
It wasn't full height, half the height, but but now it's all connected the whole city of Jerusalem has the wall intact.
Up to half its height.
So they ignore the mockery.
They take that.
To the Lord.
In prayer and then they just keep.
Working they set their mind on the work that God.
Had set them to.
And as a result they start to achieve results.
They're hitting some milestones.
The full length is connected.
Now it's all attached together and starting to be secured because they did not.
Take the mockery.
To heart, but instead they took the mockery to prayer and allowed the Lord to deal with that.
In teaching on this passage, Pastor Damian Kyle said what percentage of the body of Christ?
Is simply taking out from ever taking their first step of faith in Christian service.
They are met right at the door by the devil who says you're going to do what?
And it is said through some parents.
Or it is said through some family member or some schoolmates, or some coworker or someone in the body of Christ.
Or I would maybe add on to that and say even said internally in our own minds or hearts.
Is an effective tool of the enemy, and that that oftentimes.
It might even be someone who means well.
But when you have a clear sense of what God has called you to do.
It is very often going to sound silly and ridiculous.
I mean, part of the reality is.
The Jewish people were indeed feeble.
That's why when Nehemiah heard, the word started praying and said, God, you know, will you send me over there to secure them to?
To build the wall.
So that they won't be so feeble and so vulnerable and and to help rebuild what once was there in Jerusalem.
Some of the mocking that we will experience has.
Seeds of truth in it.
We are feeble.
But God has a way of using the feeble.
And so we need to ignore mockery when we have a strong sense of this is what God has called me to.
And if you don't have a sense of what God has called you to, then you know that's a different.
Message for a different time.
You need to seek the Lord and and hear from him what what God do.
You want me involved in?
What do you want me focus on?
What do you want me building for your Kingdom and that that should be something that we all have as a mission for us that we are building the Kingdom of God.
And sometimes that's really focused on our personal devotional life, Bible reading and prayer.
Sometimes it's steps of faith or mission trips, sometimes it's serving in some capacity or filling some role within the body of Christ or within the home.
But as we seek to do that.
The very thing that God called us to do.
There's gonna be some mockery and some of it might come from your spouse and some of it might come from the mirror and some of it might come from a neighbor or a different family member that.
Let's say you're.
Gonna go where and.
Do what that that doesn't make any sense and and some of it's gonna be out right?
You know the devil's work and desiring to bring destruction? Some of it is going to come from a place of you know meaning well, and some of it is just going to come. Like I said from the mirror that internally we.
Will mock will scorn.
Our own, something you didn't hear from God.
God doesn't want you to do that.
You might as well give up now and that again, that's the the the thing that the enemy wants to accomplish.
And so when the enemy mocks, laughs, scorns?
When when those kinds of things come against you as you said about to do what?
God put upon your heart.
Don't try to answer all the points, don't try.
To you know.
Give a rebuttal for all the different ways that the mocking and scorning is happening, just just turn it all over to the Lord.
And get to the work that God has actually.
Called you to Pastor where noisy says if we spend time pondering the enemies words, we will give Satan the foothold from which he can launch another attack closer to home.
The best thing to do is to pray and commit the whole thing to the Lord.
And then get back to your.
Work, anything that keeps you from doing what God has called you to do.
Will only help the enemy.
And that that.
Last line, there is really powerful.
Anything that keeps you from doing what God has called you to do will only help.
The enemy it's not too hard for us to.
Be mocked to have some kind of scorn or derision happening towards us and and then we just relive that we just live in that loop of a repeating that thing over and over and over again, and thinking about how we could answer it, or thinking about you know what we should say back or.
Just ignore it.
And get to doing the thing that God has actually called you to do.
Well, we're gonna look at another example from Nehemiah here. As we go on into verses 7 through 18. Here's point. #2 defend against threats with prayer and practical wisdom.
And then keep working versus 7 through 9 says this.
Now it happened when Sanballat Tobiah the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ash Dietz heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very pain.
Angry and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion.
Nevertheless, we made our prayer to our God.
And because of them, we set a watch against them day and night.
So they ignore the mocking.
They keep working.
They're starting to gain some traction.
They're getting some success.
The wall is being completed, the gaps are being filled.
Sanballat and Tobiah hear about it.
They they get more angry.
And so now there's more gathered the Arabs, the ammonites, the astrocytes.
These are people on all sides of.
Jerusalem on all sides of Israel.
And they all work together.
All of these nations stronger than Israel, stronger than the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
And they are forming a great conspiracy.
We're going to attack Jerusalem.
We're going to create confusion.
We're going to disrupt and put a stop to this work.
Of the walls.
And so this conspiracy was in the works.
They have the power they have the force.
The military might to execute this conspiracy to to bring it to pass.
Except for what we what we.
Read in verse 9.
Nevertheless, we meet our prayer to our God.
Lord, there is this united attack against us.
There is this very real threat now.
It's not just a couple guys with their audience laughtrack that that are kind of mocking and scorning us, but now the the people around us, the enemies of Jerusalem, are gathered together.
They're ready to attack.
They want to create confusion.
There's a real threat here.
We're in real danger.
But I find it interesting in verse 9 nevertheless.
But you know what happens when nations conspire?
God laughs in the first point we see the enemy laughing, right?
This time the enemy says, oh, whoa, we're not laughing now we're angry and we're going to do something about it.
And we're going to gather together and we're going to stop the plan of God 'cause we're strong and we're going to gather together and join arms and and together you know they can't.
And God laughs.
When nations conspire, God laughs.
Percy and all of them conspired together first night.
Nevertheless, we made our prayer to our God.
Did not allow.
The fear, the overwhelming you know military might that the enemy had to intimidate him.
Instead, he did what he did in the first point.
He took that to the Lord Lord, you've called me to this.
You brought me here.
You answered my prayer.
This is your work that's happening, and so God we are making our prayer.
There's a very real threat against us right here.
And so, Lord, we're praying to you.
Handing it over to you because we pray to you, this threat that is real.
Is not effective.
It's interesting how he prayed as well as acted.
Verse 9 continues to say, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night, and so Nehemiah here employs some practical wisdom.
He doesn't just.
Pray and say all right everybody just go home at the end of the day and enjoy a good night's rest.
'cause I prayed even though there's this army around us, I prayed so we don't.
Have to be worrying about this army.
We can just.
Go to bed and.
Pretend like nothing is happening 'cause I prayed.
He prays, but he also takes some very practical steps, and that is first of all, to set a watch.
There's some more practical steps we'll see as we continue on.
In the verses below.
But he sets a watch against them D.
He prays and he acts.
He prays and he watches.
He trusts God and behaves wisely.
It's a good example for us, and so again, defend against threats with prayer and practical wisdom.
As we seek to.
Perform the call that God is given to us.
There's going to be opposition that is not just laughing and scorning.
That's not just sticks and stones.
But that is actual weapons.
Real threats where there is actual danger that we face, and maybe that is physical danger.
Or maybe it's financial danger.
Or maybe it's some other kind of danger, but but those things will happen and the enemy will seek to use intimidation the enemy.
We will seek to build up and mount up the opposition against us too.
Again, cause us to fear.
And to quit and so.
Sanballat and Tobiah gathered together the Arabs, the ammonites, and the ash adicts
So that all around they are surrounded that there is this oppression and this threat all around.
Jesus told us.
To not be afraid of those who.
Can kill the body.
Because after that they have no more that they can do.
But he says, here's who you should fear.
Fear him who after he has killed, has powered a cast into hell.
Yes, I say to you, fear him.
What he's saying there is that we are to fear God more than anybody else more than any army or any threat that comes against us.
And when we have that understanding, this is what God has called me to you.
This is the mission that God has given to me.
This is the path he's called me to walk.
The enemy will seek to use intimidation and threats and.
Very real danger.
Cause us to quit to give up too.
Stand down and not go forward with what God has called us to and God would say, listen.
You fear me more than anything else.
Listen to me first and even in the face of opposition or difficulty or danger you do what I've called you to do.
Listen, obedience to God and faithfulness to God is worth it, even if it costs us our very life and I'm not suggesting that we be.
Reckless and you know, just abandoned reason or practicality or wisdom.
That's not what Nehemiah did.
He set a guard.
He employed wisdom.
But at the same time you refused to let fear.
Whether or not he would obey God.
It was a real threat.
There was real danger.
The intimidation was strong, but.
He gave that over to the Lord.
He took some wise steps.
And he said, all right now we need to continue to work.
Let's read a few more verses here.
Verse 11 through 15, it says, and our adversaries they will neither know nor see anything until we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.
So it was when the Jews who dwelt near them came that they told us.
10 times from whatever place you turn they will be upon us.
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.
And I looked at a rose 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 brother and your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.
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 too.
Here we see a few things happening.
This threat is going on but but there's also the the misinformation campaign that's happening.
The rumor wars in verse 12 that Jews who dwelt outside of Jerusalem would have to be around these different groups of people that are camped out against.
And so as they come into work for the day.
They're saying liks listen, there's there's people all over, and whatever place we turn like we're surrounded, they've got us and and so they're coming in and it says they told us 10 times.
The the people are coming to work there.
For 10 times they're saying listen guys, we're in trouble.
They're all around us, and with there's no escaping this, they are going to be upon us.
Whatever place we try to run or turn, they're going to be right upon us and and so there is these.
Threats being made.
Even internally, these rumors being passed around intended to.
Bring fear to strike fear.
To threaten the people and get them to quit.
But again, Nehemiah is very practical.
Verse 13 therefore, I positioned men.
I set up defences.
I positioned men against the the lower parts.
Of the wall and the openings.
I gathered people with their families so that they would be able to protect their families and not be distracted and worried about their families.
So I so I gathered them together and gave them the weapons that they needed.
He took some very practical steps.
And he calls the people to rely upon the Lord.
In verse 14, he says, don't be.
Afraid of them remember the Lord?
Remember the Lord great and awesome and fights for your brethren, even if it comes to battle.
Even if you have to fight, remember that God is great and awesome, even though we're outnumbered and outgunned and outmatched.
For your brethren, for your sons, for your daughters, for your wise, for your houses.
You might have to take some very real practical steps, and swing a sword.
You might have to fight, but don't forget.
God is great and awesome.
And he's with you.
And as the people prepared themselves in this way and took these practical steps.
The enemy heard of it and.
We find out that their threats were all pretty much toothless threats.
They're like, oh, they found out about.
It oh, they weren't scared by it.
They didn't stop working.
There was no.
Real battle that they were prepared to fight.
But they were posturing, they were pretending they were.
Seeking to intimidate to get the people to quit.
We continue to see the practical things that Nehemiah did, 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.
We're 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 hand 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.
Verse 16 through 18 is very interesting to me, because here in the rebuilding of the wall.
In answering this threat Nehemiah.
You might be able to say it this way.
Reduces the amount of hands involved in the building.
Down to 25%.
Half the people are not even building anymore.
They're standing behind the guys who are building keeping.
So this isn't just the guard that is kind of like posted here and there to have visibility.
But they're on.
A higher state of readiness, and they're actually.
Prepared for bad.
So half of my servants worked in construction while the other half held the Spears, held the armor held, held the weapons.
So half the people are taken out, but then he goes on to say verse 17.
Those who carried burdens.
Loaded themselves in such a way so that they could work with one hand at construction and with the other hand they held a weapon.
Now I have a hard time picturing how they could do this right?
Can you imagine?
I mean, I'm thinking about the rebuilding of this place right?
And the the moving about of lumber and and trying to do some of that carrying a heavy boulder.
You know one handed and trying to chisel it out, but but you're one handed.
It would really slow down the progress.
Half the people.
Aren't working anymore, they're just standing ready for.
And of those who are working.
Many of them are working in such a way they're designing their.
Workflow in such a way that they can work just one handed.
So that the other hand is holding a weapon.
Again, this is all very practical in Nehemiah response.
It's practical wisdom that he's employing, but.
But the work has been seriously impacted, right?
But the work is continuing.
The work is continuing.
You know, I think that.
There are times where we.
Feel like man, this is only like 25% of what was happening. What could be happening?
Like why are?
We even doing this 25%.
There could be such.
So much more.
There was so much more before and and now.
It's so reduced.
But it's appropriate.
Against these threats that come.
And this might take a lot of different shapes in our lives, but.
You know, if.
Perhaps a financial issue is looming, and there's a financial threat.
Now, perhaps it's the practical and wise thing to get a second job and it reduces your ability to move forward on the thing that God has called you to but.
But in order to answer that threat, it's.
The the wise thing to do the practical thing to do.
That doesn't mean to get out of it completely and to give up completely.
Even if it's just 25% press on and carry on with the thing that got his culture to you.
But but understand like you, you might not be dealing with the ideal situation all of the time. There might be times where you can only do 25% of what you used to do.
And maybe that's because of health.
Maybe that's because of schedules.
Maybe that's because of you know these kinds of threats are things that.
Come against us.
We're going to face those times where.
The amount of work that can be.
Done is seriously reduced.
Don't let it.
Bring the work to a halt completely.
You know what God called you to do.
And the enemy wants to bring those threats so that you're overloaded with the work you're overloaded with the defence that has to be mounted and and the idea is to intimidate you to quit or to discourage you to quit, because in order to keep up with this defence, there's so much less.
That can be done.
These are some of the tactics that the enemy will use against you in anything that God has called you to.
Raising kids serving in some way steps of faith.
Prayer Bible study walking with God.
We will face.
These kinds of tactics from the enemy, and sometimes it's going to be like we're just one handed.
Just barely contributing to that thing that God has called us to.
But we need to be persistent and faithful.
Defend against threats with prayer.
Lord, you hear their threats.
You know what they're doing, you're laughing at their conspiracies.
Help me to take some practical wisdom.
Show me some practical steps to take.
To not be foolish in the face of this real threat.
And whatever it takes, even if it's only a little bit at a time, help me to keep working.
That the thing that you've called me too.
Well, finishing it up, the Third Point to consider in looking at nehemiah's example how to respond to attacks against your work for God #3 recover from discouragement with fellowship.
And keep working.
Recover from discouragement with fellowship, verse 10 says.
Then Judah said the strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we're not able to build the wall here in the middle of the chapter.
We kind of jumped over this verse earlier, but but you find that the people of Judah really discouraged they're tired.
They're working hard, but they're under a great threat.
And so very little is getting accomplished.
The strength of the laborers is failing.
We have been working.
Defending ourselves standing guard continually.
We're losing strength.
We're not gaining strength.
And there's so much work to do, there's so much rubbish there's so much junk in the.
Way there's so that the.
Work even to build the wall we can't.
Just start building.
The wall, because there's all this rubbish that we have to clear away first.
It's just like so overwhelming what it is that lies before us.
And so they're feeling discouraged.
They're facing discouragement in the midst of this work, and and so in that way the enemies tactics are starting to take effect, right?
They're threats that they're starting to produce the results that the enemy wants to produce, and they're they're facing.
Real discouragement and not only that, but within their midst they have discourager's among them.
Again, verse 12.
So it was when the Jews who dwelt near them came.
They told us 10 times from whatever place you turned they will.
Be upon us.
Sometimes discouragement comes from the brethren from within the camp, like I'm already feeling tired and there's so much to do and it's so overwhelming.
And then my brother comes around and says, oh man, this is terrible.
There's so much work to do and and we're under a real threat.
And if we try to get away, we're not going to get away like they're right here upon us.
Sometimes this discouragement we face is.
Seriously tempting us?
To give up.
On what God has called us.
You can consider the example of Israel at the edge of the promised land.
They're at Kadish Barnea on the border.
To enter in.
But what happened?
Ten of the spies become discourager's. They come back and say, oh, there's so much rubbish.
We can't even build the wall.
Well, that's not actually.
What they said?
That's what they said here, right?
They said, well, there's giants in the land there's no way we can defeat them.
You know we're.
Going to just be.
Destroyed if we enter into the promised land discourager's and and the nation listened to the discourager's, they took that message to heart, and so they missed out. That whole generation missed out on.
What God was calling them too.
They had a clear sense of what God had called them too.
They had a clear path before them.
They were on that path.
They were there was good.
Things in store for them.
But they missed out on it because they took that discouragement.
To heart, sometimes discouragement comes.
From within the camp, pastor Warren Wisby says in over 40 years of ministry, I've learned that in the Lord's work discourages are often doubters and compromise errors.
There is usually something wrong in their spiritual walk. They frequently lack faith in God's word for one thing, and they are primarily interested in their own plans and.
We don't often.
That our brothers and sisters around us.
Might be caught up in doubt and compromise.
And their own plans and purposes.
But we should understand.
Sometimes discouragement is going to come from.
The people around us within the body of Christ.
And sometimes that's because they're not in pursuit.
With their whole heart of the things of God, sometimes it's because.
They really want.
To live a compromised life, they really want to focus on their own ideas and pursuits and what they want.
And so there's going to be discouragement that we face and discourages who come around us.
How does Nehemiah respond to this jump to verse 19?
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.
Verse 20 whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet rallied to us there.
Our God will fight for us.
So facing discouragement.
The people are tired.
Nehemiah recognizes we all feel alone in this and we're overwhelmed by the work.
He recognizes the issue.
He doesn't shy away and pretend like there's no problem.
The work is great.
There is a lot of work to do.
It's extensive and we are spread out.
We're spread thin.
So what does he do?
Let's figure out a way to bring us closer.
To one another.
He finds the solution with the trumpet.
When you hear the trumpet.
Everybody rally to the sound of the trumpet, everybody gathered together.
And so yes, we're spread out.
We're kind of spread thin but but we're nearby we can we can be at each other.
's back in a moment's notice and our God will fight for us, so it's not just you know the others around us, but God is with us.
But we're not alone, he's saying, let's let's figure out a way so that we don't have to feel so lonely in the midst of this discouragement.
To know that at.
A sound of a trumpet at a moment's notice. We have all the help that we need, and everyone will rally to us.
When there is a moment of need, our God will fight for us.
He rallies the troops, he figures out a way to fellowship.
To bring the people close and listen.
Sometimes we as.
Believers isolate ourselves to our own detriment.
And it is true.
We are spread out where you know our schedules are crazy.
Our locations are all in various places and there can be a very great loneliness that we might feel.
But at the same time, there's there's ways to sound the trumpet.
There's ways to gather your brethren around you.
To have the support of others around you in the body of Christ and to experience the fellowship.
And our God will fight for us. Verse 21. So we labored in the work and half of the men held the Spears from Daybreak Daybreak until the stars appeared at the same time.
I also said to the people that each man with his servant stay at night in Jerusalem, that they may be our guard by night and working party by day.
You might said, OK, none.
No more of this going out and coming in, going out and coming.
Let's all stay together.
And so you're working.
And then you have your guy who's watching over you and you guys enjoy that fellowship.
Stay close together and you guys who are going in and out and commuting back and forth come in and let.
Let's just let's all stick together.
Let's be in this together.
He draws the people close together. Finally, verse 23. So neither I, my brethren, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, took off our clothes, except that everyone took them off for washing.
So they stayed together to guard each other.
They stayed together to protect each other.
They stayed together to stink together.
You know the same right?
People that stink together.
Stayed together now it's not quite like that, but they washed but but but you see, like they're all in this together.
That's the idea here.
They they joined for it.
They made sure they're all aware and and we're all doing the same thing.
We're all part of this together.
There was a a community that was happening there.
And a lot of times discouragement when we try to face it on our own apart from others around us.
We will be overwhelmed by that discouragement, but.
When we learn to sound the trumpet to gather people around, and even if we.
Have to stick together.
That that fellowship God God has made us to have that dependency to need one another and it is that one another experience that really provides great strength and power for us.
To be able to overcome the discouragement.
That we face that we feel.
That others around us try to impose on us.
It's a powerful.
Tactic of the enemy.
But we don't have to succumb to it with people around us with fellowship.
And with our God who will fight for us, we can stand strong and press forward.
Now in a couple of chapters, there's going to be some more opposition in chapter five chapter.
Six but in the.
Middle of chapter 6.
They'll finish the wall.
It's in record time. It's going to like even though they're only like doing 25% of the work that they were doing before. It's going to be finished.
It's going to be done by God because they did not allow the attacks of the enemy to derail them from what God had called them to do.
Respond to attacks against your work.
Ignore mockery with prayer.
And keep working.
Defend against threats with prayer and practical wisdom, and keep working.
Recover from discouragement with fellowship and.
Keep working, keep working is a consistent theme through this that no matter what is thrown at you keep doing the thing.
That God has called.
You to and I'll finish with this.
One last verse.
First Corinthians chapter 15, verse 58. Therefore, my brethren, my beloved brother, and be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that.
Labor is not in.
Vain in the Lord, there's going to be great resistance and great pressure to abandon the work that God has called you to.
But be steadfast.
Don't be moved 'cause it hurts.
They'll be moved.
'cause there's threats don't be moved 'cause there's discouragement, they'll be moved because there's mockery and laughter and scorn.
Be steadfast, be immovable, and abound in the work of the Lord, even if abounding means only 25% of what you wish you could do what you hope you could do, or what you used to do.
Listen, you know that your labor is not in vain.
In the Lord.
It will pay off.
The Lord will bring forth the reward for your efforts to do the thing that he called you to do.
So ignore that mocking, even if it's your own heart and mind that is providing the mocks.
Defend against threats.
Take real steps that that will protect you and and are necessary.
And even if that reduces what it is that you want to do.
And invite the Lord to.
Protect you while you take those practical steps.
And as you face discouragement, it's bound to happen.
Draw near, bring others around.
You recover from discouragement.
With the Fellowship of the Brethren, that God is placed there next to you, let's pray God, I pray for each one of us.
Lord, you have called us to things you've set missions before us and called us to contribute to your Kingdom and be part of your work and each one of us, Lord, you have a special part four and a unique role that you want.
Us to fulfill.
And so, Lord, may we go forward in that and stand strong in the midst of attacks.
May these lessons from Nehemiah help us to not give up.
The enemy cannot take away.
What you've called us too.
All he can do is try to convince us to give up on it ourselves.
And so Lord help us to see through those attacks, to recognize them as attacks, and to defend ourselves properly.
First, by calling out to you and relying upon you.
Lord, ignoring the laughter and the scorn.
To just press on to keep working.
To not give up no matter what.
And the thing that you've called us to or give us that faithfulness, that persistence, that resilience God.
That we would be steadfast and immovable and abounding in your work.
I pray this in Jesus name.