- Slides: 24
Nehemiah God’s ( יה וה ) Plan Renewal God’s Plan for Renewal Prayer ה Compassion ו Sacrifice ה Leadership י Purity Chapter 4 & 5: Strategy & Solidarity, Courage & Compassion
Roaring Lions Seeking Someone to Devour Describe a time where you felt that you in God’s will, being faithful and obedient and “enemies” confronted you, problems arose, and/or obstracles appeared? Who were your “enemies”? Had God forgotten you? Had He turned is back? What did you do? How did you respond? Name some of God’s men and women who faced trials while striving to follow God.
Be vigilant, cautious & stand firm in the faith “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. ” “Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world. ” 1 Peter 5: 8 -9 (AMP)
Calling on Jesus and the Holy Spirit… Marian Johnson Chadwick, owner of a Frisco, Texas jewelry store, was helping a customer when an armed robber walked in. He demanded that Chadwick and client Kathy Vereen hit the floor, but Chadwick had other ideas. . . Instead of complying with the armed intruder's wishes, the owner of Extravagant Necessities decided to bust out some scripture on him. "In the name of Jesus, I command you to get out of my store, " she announced to the assailant. "You are bound by the Holy Spirit and you are leaving. " The bad guy -- either fearing God's wrath or worried that he has a crazy lady on his hands -- attempts to resume his robbery. But after realizing it's futile, he reluctantly backs out of the store. "He could have shot Kathy, " Vereen told CBS. "He told her to get on the floor, but she said no. He could have grabbed anything, but he was totally arrested by the Holy Spirit. The power of God filled the store and it just pushed him back. " http: //www. youtube. com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=ci. Ta 0 Mrfy 0 g
Villains attempt to discourage the workers… But it so happened, when Sanballat (the Klingon) heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish; stones that are burned? " Now Tobiah the Ammonite (the Romulan) was beside him, and he said, "Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall. " Neh. 4: 1 -3 Sanballat: Governor of Samaria: the mountainous, central region of ancient Palestine (what is the area in the vicinity of the West Bank); of the Cananites. Non-Hebrews who worshiped Assyrian gods and adopted cultic practices
And More Villains… Tobiah: Governor of Ammonites: The Ammonite people originated from the incestuous event between Lot and his daughters following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Both daughters had children and the Moabites and Ammonites were descendents of the unions. These two people groups worshiped Baal and hired their prophet Balaam to curse the Israelites by enticing them with prostitutes and unclean food sacrificed to idols.
And Even More Villains… People of Ashdod: Ashdod is mentioned among the principal Philistine cities. After capturing the Ark of the covenant from the Israelites, the Philistines took it to Ashdod and placed it in the temple of Dagon. Geshem: Arab Military Commander; believed to be the king of Kedar Arabia: Kedar was an Arabian kingdom, and at this time Arabian rule (under the Persians) stretched to the borders of Egypt. Arabs are descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael. With Ishmael being the son of a Sarah’s hand-maiden, Hagar. An angel prophesied to Hagar that Ishmael would “live in hostility toward all his brothers”
Discouragement is a Mighty Weapon Like most attacks of discouragement, there is a trace of truth in the words of the enemy. As builders, the Jews were feeble. They would not complete it in a day. They didn't have the best materials to work with. A lying, discouraging attack will often have some truth in it, but it will neglect the great truth: God was with them and has promised to see them through. Discouragement is such a powerful weapon because it’s somewhat the opposite of faith. Where faith believes God and His love and promises, discouragement looks for and believes the worst and tends to pretty much forget about who God is and what He’s promised to do.
This is God’s Rebuilding Work! “he [the fox] will break down their stone wall. ” Neh. 4: 3 Tobiah made a huge mistake. He called the wall their stone wall; it wasn't their wall at all, but God's - he was criticizing God's wall, God's work. Critics who bring nothing but discouragement often miss what God is doing; because they don't like the wall, they can't believe it is God's work. In the same way, the church is God's church; Jesus loves His bride. One should always be careful about the way you talk about Jesus' bride. Because Nehemiah and the workers did in fact have legal protection from the king (proven by the letters mentioned in Nehemiah 2: 7), Sanballat and Tobiah had no authority to actually stop the work. All they could do was to discourage the Jews into stopping.
Confronting Discouragement With Prayer “Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach 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. ” Neh 4: 4 -5 Nehemiah's response was a great example. He didn't debate, he didn't form a committee, he didn't even deal with the two enemies directly. Instead, he took it to God in prayer. For Nehemiah, prayer was a first resource, not a last resort. Nehemiah then asked God to battle their enemies for them. He depended on God to fight the battle. God gave him a work to do, and he would not be distracted from it.
And the Beat Goes On…Even Louder! “So we built the wall, and all [of it] was joined together to half its height, for the people had a heart and mind to work. ” Neh. 4: 6 (AMP) God answered the prayer by giving them all a mind to work (determination & positive thanking) and a heart to continue (passion & commitment). A mind to work and a heart to press on are gifts from God, and no significant job will ever be accomplished until people come together in prayer, faith and a steadfast spirit to work. CRITICS DEMORALIZE. LEADERS ENCOURAGE.
Exciting But Dangerous: Much Had Been Done… But Much Was Left To Do What tactics are used by Satan to foil our work and slow God’s work? § Satan wants to make us feel defeated, or passive, or self-focused, or discouraged. § Satan wants to be puffed up with pride over “our” accomplishments where we let down our guard, take our eyes off God and place them on ourselves. “Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion [and stir up trouble]. ” Neh. 3: 3 -5
…if you’re road is too smooth, you might better check your route! The work of God makes the enemy of our souls angry. Satan must often rage against the progress being made by God's people in touching a lost world for Jesus Christ. It's not bad to make the devil angry. The wall was built to protect against the attacks of violence, however it seemed that the very building of the wall may prompt an attack to come However, we notice that they didn't attack they just talked about it. Sanballat and Tobiah were hoping that the threat of attack would be enough. Satan uses the same strategy of fear against us, and if we are paralyzed by a threat the threat has worked - even when nothing actually happens against us. A confused people will never move forward and fulfill God's work. They are usually confused because they are distracted by the enemies tricks instead of focusing on God and His promises.
BUT, WE PRAYED TO GOD… “Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night. . ” Neh. 4: 9 What did the people do? 1. Prayed to God! 2. Created a plan and implemented it. What do you think of this approach? When we see an area of our Christian life that needs particular attention, it isn't enough to just pray. Our prayers do not replace our actions; they make our actions effective for God's work.
Old Sin Nature & Old Satan Keep Distracting Us “Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall. ” Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work. ” Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us. ” Neh 4: 10 -12 What’s going on here? § Tired & easily overwhelmed § They have heard the threats of their enemies § Fellow church members have spread more doubts & fear
LET US NEVER FORGET! “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. ” Isaiah 55: 8 “What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side? ]” Rom. 8: 31 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. ” 1 Corinthians 1: 25 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. ” Deuteronomy 29: 29 “For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” Jeremiah 29: 11
A Message Sent: Day & Night Nehemiah sent a message to the people of God saying, "We are committed. This is going to succeed, because God is with us, and will enable us to overcome every obstacle. " It sent a message to the enemies saying, "You will not succeed. God's work is going on, and will not be stopped. We will make whatever sacrifices necessary to see it done - weary days, sleepless nights, it doesn't matter. " It sent a message to God: "We trust in You, and our faith is a living faith - a faith of actions, not just words. We love and trust You, LORD. "
Nehemiah Organizes A Defense Plan “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, 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. " Neh 4: 13 -14 What is Nehemiah’s New Defense Strategy? § Organized by families § Defended the lower parts and openings § Created teams: builders & defenders § Reminded the people of their Great & Awesome God § Reminded them they are to fight for their families
Nehemiah Organizes A Defense Plan “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. " Neh 4: 15 How did the enemies respond once they saw the defenses of the people of God? What did the enemies want from the people of God? Was the victory defending against the attack or getting on with the work? When we are under spiritual attack are we to just endure the storm attack or endure the attack and continuing the progress and work for the LORD?
Nehemiah Organizes A Defense Plan “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. " Neh 4: 16 -18 Some of the people did the work of defending and some did the work of building. The workers had a sword at their side and a trowel in their hands to get the work done. The Word & The Bowl
Nehemiah Organizes A Defense Plan “Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day. ” Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water. " Neh 4: 19 -23 § All the people worked & played a role § They took shelter when the risk was greatest § They developed a system to gather & unite the people § They remained vigilant and ready § They took turns and supported each other § They took their “swords” with them everywhere they went
The Shofar “Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” A shofar is an instrument made from the horn of a ram or other kosher animal. It was used in ancient Israel to call people together and on Rosh Hashanah, marking the beginning of the New Year, signifying both need to wake up to the call to repentance. The ram's horn serves to remind the pious how Abraham, offering his son Isaac in sacrifice, was reprieved when God decided that Abraham could sacrifice a ram instead. The bend in the shofar is supposed to represent how a human heart, in true repentance, bends before the Lord. http: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=XXw 3 Lgm. GUI 8
The Last Trumpet Call “Immediately after the distress of those days “ ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. ” Matthew 24: 29 -31 A trumpet will announce the return of Christ and the calling forth of His children for our assembly in Heaven.
The Return of Christ & Gathering of the Saints “Take notice! I tell you a mystery (a secret truth, an event decreed by the hidden purpose or counsel of God). We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall be changed (transformed) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the [sound of the] last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [in Christ] will be raised imperishable (free and immune from decay), and we shall be changed (transformed). . ” 1 Corinthians 15: 51 -52 http: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=j 8 t 1 r 2 DSxsg