STUDIES FROM THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH
Nehemiah chapter 4 is mainly about the time of building and the main emphasis is the opposition from the Samaritans led by Sanballat and Tobiah. These became the instrument Satan used to discourage the Jews.
I. THE NATURE OF OUR ENEMY.
When God gives you a mission or task, you become the target of the Devil and he will do whatever he can to get your attention from following God’s will for your life.
Chapter 4: 1-3 ““Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews. 2And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?” 3Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!”
THE THREE KINDS OF ENEMIES.
These can be real enemies. They can be competitors, they can be neighbors but they can also be relatives.
b. Physical situations or circumstances
Sickness, accidents, a difficult economy etc.
2. Internal enemies
i. Team members trying to pursue personal visions or personal gains
ii. Allowing team members who are not walking in integrity to stay on the team just because they are gifted
b. Physical sicknesses
c. Succumbing to temptations.
Solomon and the many concubines
King David and Bathsheba
This may be yourself;
Ø When you allow sin to dwell in your life.
Ø When you decide to live carelessly.
Ø When you are in wrong places, for example, David instead of being in prayer he was out on top of his house and ended up looking at a naked woman.
Ø Young ladies why do you have to go visit your fiancée at night.
Ø Businessman why do you keep 100 million shillings in your houses.
This may be disunity in your team. This may be having a person who is not walking with the Lord as part of your ministry leadership team. That is an enemy within.
3. Spiritual enemies
Demons are active. Satan still sends attacks on people. Witchcraft is very real. The history of Gaba is that kind of story, the place was full of witchcraft, lots of shrines, some of the places where we work are surrounded by demonic forces that we need to wedge war against them.
WHY? The enemy is not only your enemy but also the enemy of your vision and your mission.
He wants to distract you so that you fail
II. DISCOURAGEMENT THE ENEMY’S WEAPON OF WAR.
3. He attempts physical attacks.
4. He uses situations to bring discouragement.
Verse 10: “10In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.”
WORDS: DEMEANING WORDS, NEGATIVE WORDS, WORDS THAT BRING DOUBT, WORDS THAT ROB YOU OF YOUR FAITH.
REMINDERS: Reminds of your past sinful life, creates in you doubt about the forgiveness of God. A spirit of condemnation. Past failed projects.
STEALS YOUR HOPE:
Ø A man who loses hope is in the worst case of all.
Ø People without hope are those that commit suicide, they are that involves in promiscuous behaviors.
Ø If a child who loses hope does not even have the energy to study, he/she thinks he is a failure.
Ø People who lose hope can easily become addicted to alcohol and drugs.
I BELIEVE YOU REALIZE THE BATTLE HERE IS IN THE MIND.
v Have you heard what Jesus says? “I have come that they may have life and have it in abundancy”.
v Hear what the Bible says about Abraham: “against all hope he still hoped in God”.
v Jesus wants to replace your discouragement with his encouragement. He wants to inspire courage.
III. IT TAKES A STRONG LEADER TO MOVE THE VISION FORWARD.
Visions to happen, they require strong leaders.
Look at how Nehemiah led:
1. Vs.4 He mobilized prayer
2. He kept the people on task despite the threats.
3. He strategically organized a fighting to be on standby as the building continued.
4. He stood, He spoke up, and he encouraged the people. He said in vs.14. don’t be afraid. Remember the Lord.
EVERY THING RISES AND FALLS ON LEADERSHIP. FOR ANY WORK TO GO ON WE NEED LEADERS.
We need courageous visionary leaders.
Ø They inspire courage
Ø Re-focus people back to the task
Ø They remind people of the promises of God
Ø They help to minimize the size of the enemy in the minds of the people and they give people a bigger picture of the God they serve.
Hear what Nehemiah said: Chpt 2:17 “Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.”
Verse 20: “Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.”
Chapter 4: 14 “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
GREAT LEADERS INSPIRE HOPE AND THEY INSPIRE FAITH IN THE PEOPLE.
What kind of leader are you?
This nation needs such leaders, our church needs such leaders, our ministries need such leaders, we need fathers who can speak hope into our kids, teachers who inspired our kids coming from a tough environment to tell them there is God in heaven who believes in them, who has a future for them.
Ø They are strategists who think ahead, and mobilize people get the work going. They do not lead by chance, they think through issues.
Verse “19And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. 20In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us”
What kind of leader are you? If you are not a leader yet, what kind of leader are you following.
Ø Great leaders are part of the fighting team. They do not send people to go where they are not ready to go.
Verse 23: “23So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand.[15”
Nehemiah kept the people on task. Do not let the enemy drive off the task. Even when you are fearful please keep working on the vision even when discouraged keep your face up.
If you are a leader, that is what God has called you to do, gather your courage and faith and by God’s grace stand up and lead.
IV. TO SEE THE VISION WE MUST FIGHT SPIRITUAL BATTLES
Remember the devil’s desire to put you down, he hates your family, he hates your health, he hates your business, he hates your big vision.
Do not be ignorant. Do not be naïve. Don’t take things for granted. Cover the bases.
1. Physical fighting
They physically fought. They used real spears and swords, they kept a night watch. That is why we pray but also lock our doors, that is why we pray but also go to the hospital when we get sick.
In the same way minimize challenges by being careful. Get to know the Word of God and do what the word says. Be obedient to God then you will be covered by God.
Eph 6: 10-18.
TRUTH ( live for God), righteousness ( right standing with God, know your right as a child of God, do not cower down), The Gospel of Peace ( do not be ashamed of standing up for Jesus, stand up for what you believe, let people know you are Christian), Shield of Faith ( trust God, believe God).
2. Fighting through prayer.
Verse 4: “4Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. 5Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders.”
Verse 9: “9And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.”
Nehemiah prayed when he heard about Jerusalem and God gave him a vision.
He prayed for opportunity and God opened the heart of the king.
And now when the enemies threatened them he led the people to prayer. What you got through prayer you will maintain through prayer. If you are to go anywhere in God, it is going to be by prayer.
The wall had to be built, but the enemies of the Jews and the enemies of God were up in arms. They fought with words, threats and with attacks.
Prayer is the greatest weapon that God gave us to us.
Pray when you feel like it and pray when you do not.
Pray when you are fearful and pray when you are discouraged. Pray that God will give you courage and pray that he will give you stamina.
THE WALL MUST BE BUILT.
Are you willing to pay the cost?
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to win?