Getting Kicked to the Glory of God

January 8, 2014 at 10:51 am | Posted in Nehemiah | 4 Comments
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The Book of Nehemiah demonstrates the greatness of God. God chose Nehemiah to do a great work. He didn’t choose him because of his training, background, or aptitude, but Nehemiah did recognize the greatness of God.

And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

Nehemiah 1:5

And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

Nehemiah 4:14

And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

Nehemiah 8:6

In Nehemiah God’s people go from great affliction and reproach to great joy.

And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

Nehemiah 1:3

Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.

Nehemiah 12:43

Difficult situations are opportunities to show God’s greatness. We see obstacles when really they’re great opportunities. Nehemiah could have heard the bad news about Jerusalem, and seen a big problem. Do you look at the seats in your local church and get discouraged about how many are empty? Or do you look at those empty seats and get excited about the great opportunity to see them filled? One of the ways that Nehemiah recognized the greatness of God was not because God made it so that Nehemiah had no problems, but rather because God caused Nehemiah to overcome his problems. If Nehemiah had done it on his own, he would have received the glory, not God.

Some people say, “If God is so great, why is he letting my enemies kick my behind?” They forget that getting your behind kicked means you are walking in the lead. Some of us need to start something for God that’s too big for us to finish on our own – so everyone will know it’s God and not us when it gets accomplished.

Nehemiah recognized the greatness of God because he was attacked by enemies.

Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.

Nehemiah 2:18 (emphasis added)

That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?

Nehemiah 6:2-3

Nehemiah recognized the greatness of God, and this caused him to say, “Oh yes,” instead of “Oh no.” Don’t go down there into the plain of “Ono (Oh no).” If you are doing the work of a great God, you don’t have to compromise with the world to get it done. How do you think those mocking, scorning enemies of God felt when they saw the celebration – even standing on the very wall they had tried to prevent? They felt ashamed, but they must have also thought, “What a great God.”

Defeating Slander, Intimidation, and Discouragement

October 14, 2013 at 11:31 am | Posted in Nehemiah | 3 Comments
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In Nehemiah Chapter 5 we see an example of how the world tries to disrupt the work of God, as wealthier workers began to take advantage of poorer workers.

And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live. Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth. There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.

Nehemiah 5:1-5

Nehemiah was originally angry, but he controlled his anger.

And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words. Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.

Nehemiah 5:6-7

He dealt with the problem through Biblical teaching and preaching. He used six different reasons to condemn the practice of usury, and one of them was the testimony of the people of God in front of unbelievers.

Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?

Nehemiah 5:9

Another highlight of Nehemiah Chapter 5 is the fact that the leaders worked too.

Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work.

Nehemiah 5:16

When there’s work to do we need to be motivated by love. We need to do it the way God’s Word says to do it. And we need to do it – do all – to the glory of God. Do it for the right reason, do it the right way, and give the glory to the right One!

Nehemiah Chapter 6 shows that the way to overcome fear is with faith. Nehemiah wouldn’t compromise with the enemy. He would not be defeated in the work, and he wouldn’t compromise the work.

Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.

Nehemiah 6:1-4

Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 2:20

By faith that stands firm we can stand up to: (1) slander (Nehemiah 6:5-9); (2) intimidation (Nehemiah 6:10-14); and (3) the discouragement of no end in sight (Nehemiah 6:15-19). As Christians, our “end” is not “in sight.” We live by faith and not by sight. We “walk in the Spirit,” and a walker is someone who has a place to go.

Throughout all the distractions, Nehemiah never stopped working:

Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.

Nehemiah 2:4

So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.

Nehemiah 2:11

Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.

Nehemiah 2:18

So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.

Nehemiah 4:6

So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.

Nehemiah 4:21

So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.

Nehemiah 6:15

Just Say (O)No

April 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Posted in Nehemiah, Uncategorized | 10 Comments
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The Lord God had used Nehemiah in a great way. Some of the Jewish exiles had returned from Babylon to Jerusalem under his leadership. They had finished, despite great opposition and hardship, rebuilding the city walls. Now there remained the work of installing the city gates and re-establishing the community within the walls.

Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;)

Nehemiah 6:1

What a day of defeat for Satan and the enemies of God! God was clearly empowering and blessing Nehemiah’s leadership. However, Satan was not finished. Having failed to stop God’s work with overt attacks, he began to use lies, treachery, and subterfuge. These methods were dressed up by Satan as the more friendly-sounding idea of “compromise.”

That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.

Nehemiah 6:2

Did Nehemiah fall for the trap? Did he heed the invitation to halt the work of the Lord, and “come down” to a meeting with those who wanted to “put aside their differences,” or “get in unity,” or “celebrate the positive?” Christians would do well today to take heed to Nehemiah’s response.

And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?

Nehemiah 6:3

Do not let the work of the Lord cease. Do not “come down” to a place of compromise between the absolute truth of Scripture and the “imaginations” (II Corinthians 10:5) of men. Do not be afraid to say, “Oh no,” to an invitation to come down to the plain of “Ono.” Do not be afraid to claim that the work you are doing in obedience to God’s Word is a “great work,” because you are doing it for the “great God.”


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