9 But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.10 Then the people of Judah began to complain, “The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.”11 Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, “Before they know what’s happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work.”12 The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!” 13 So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows.14 Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”15 When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall. 16 But from then on, only half my men worked while the other half stood guard with spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. The leaders stationed themselves behind the people of Judah17 who were building the wall. The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. 18 All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm.19 Then I explained to the nobles and officials and all the people, “The work is very spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us!”
After looking at the internal and external causes of doubt and discouragement Nehemiah now reveals the:
God’s Word doesn’t just deal with the disease of doubt and discouragement it shows us how to defeat doubt and discouragement. You don’t have to cope with discouragement because there is a cure. First Nehemiah reminds us to:
- Request God’s Help vs 4-5, 9
Discouragement distracts so how does Nehemiah regain focus, where did Nehemiah go with his problem? He took his problem and wrapped it in prayer. Nehemiah didn’t give lectures to the workers, organize raiding parties against the enemies, or create propaganda campaigns to put a different spin on things. He didn’t work he worshipped, the antidote to worry is worship. Worry give priority to the problems worship gives praise to the Provider. It’s here that we come to the building block of FAITH. What are you going to fall back on in the frustrating and fearful times, your work or His? When people talked against him, he didn’t talk back, he talk to God.
- Reorganize your life and priorities- v.13
They didn’t just pray they also prepared. Nehemiah had already organized the people in chapter 3 and they had finished half of their task. Now, a new situation had come about that required a change in organization. Nehemiah didn’t give up on the goal, he just reorganized the people and put them in their proper places. If the enemies were going to attack, they would most likely do so at the weakest places. So, Nehemiah put guards at all the vulnerable spots. This served two purposes, it discouraged the enemy and it encouraged the people. When we’re discouraged, one of the things we can do is to reorganize our priorities. You can look at your life and you can adopt a change in approach instead of becoming so discouraged that you quit. Do you have a problem in your marriage? If so, don’t bail on your spouse! Change your approach. Adopt a new attitude. Get some help. Do you have a problem in your walk with God? Don’t stop following Jesus! Reorganize your schedule so you can meet with Him on a regular basis. Don’t be overcome by discouragement. Do something about it!
- Rely on others vs 13
Verse 13 says, “I stationed the people to stand guard by families.” Notice that Nehemiah grouped them by families. We need each other and throughout the bible, we hear the phrase “one another”. We’re told to “love one another”, “encourage one another”, “serve one another”, “pray for one another.” We need the support of our families to keep from getting discouraged. Are you discouraged, do you need to reconnect with a body of believers where you can get in a small group? Discouragement causes us to want to disconnect but relationship rejuvenate because relationship deals with the real problem:
Fatigue – Relationship brings rest – Someone to lend a hand.
Frustration – Relationship brings satisfaction – Someone who understood
Failure – Relationship brings success – Someone to lift us up when we faltered
Fear – Relationship brings Security – Had each other’s back
- Remember who God is vs 14
How do we overcome the opposition, by remembering and returning to our Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent Father. Stop focusing on your fears and start focusing on the Father. Are you going to give priority to the problems or to His power and presence? The truth is problems don’t diminish God’s power, they just provide a pallet on which God’s power can be plainly seen. The people complained about all the rubble, but wasn’t the rubble there in the beginning? At the start of the project they were focused on God and His glory, the purpose and the priority not the problem. Now, they are rubble-focused instead of Father focused. It’s easy to become fatigue focused, frustration focused, failure focused, fear focused instead of Father focused. Remembering who is in charge recharges us.
- Return to God’s Work Vs 15
Satan wants to sidetrack you so he can sideline you. The question is are you going to spend your energy worrying or working? Serving God is difficult and when we get discouraged it’s easy to want to walk away from the work. Peter walked away and tried to go back to fishing. Christ called him to return and reengage in God’s work. Where in your life have you walked away from the wall? God’s call is for us to return and recommit.
- Rally Together vs 14-20
It’s a team approach where we are willing to serve and support each other. The reason the church is struggling is because we are bashing each other instead of backing each other. Now I want you to Notice the people had to call out for help, if you are struggling tell someone don’t suffer silently. What Nehemiah did was remind them to focus on the real fight, the fight for their families. Are you fighting for your families or against them? God didn’t call us to be worriers He called us to be warriors.