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Nehemiah 4:1-23

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Then Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.” Nehemiah 4:10

Nehemiah was the man that God raised up to accomplish an important task - to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Though the Jews had been released from Babylonian captivity in 539 BC., because of the opposition from hostile neighbors, they only managed to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem in the first 20 years. After 80 years the walls of the city were still in ruins. This sad state of affairs so burdened him that he resolved to obtain permission from the Persian king to let him return to his homeland to rebuild the walls. Nehemiah was greatly encouraged when the King not only gave him permission for his plan but also provided all that was needed to accomplish the work. He gathered all the Jewish leaders together and convinced them to undertake the task. With one accord they said, 'Let us arise and build!' The device their enemies used was destructive criticism (4:2,3) by stating that the Jews were incapable of building the wall. These hurtful words discouraged those who were toiling by putting in their blood, sweat and tears for the building of the wall. Have you ever received such unkind criticism before? If yes, how did you respond? Did you retaliate? Here we see Nehemiah’s response not reaction/retaliation to the criticism. Neither should we retaliate, but resist the urge to hit back- by turning to God and pouring out all our hurt feelings to Him. Let us learn from Nehemiah:

  • Nehemiah spoke to God, not to those who spoke against the Jews. 'Hear, O our God; for we are despised,. (V4). Whenever you are discouraged go to God in prayer immediately and tell Him exactly how you feel and God will grant you His sufficient grace to overcome!

  • Nehemiah prayed that God Himself will take all the necessary action against the enemy. He said, 'turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee'. Nehemiah opened his heart to God and expressed the deep grief and pain caused by the enemy's malicious attacks. He was committing all his burdens and hurt feelings to the Lord and letting Him do whatever He sees fit to their enemies. Pour out all your feelings to God honestly, then just rest in Him.

  • Nehemiah knew God enough to know that He would deal appropriately with those who criticized unjustly. So this is what the Jews did in v.9 of our text 'Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God.' The result of this is in v.15 'God had brought all their counsel to nought' It is God's work! Romans 12:19 tells us: 'Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.'

  • Nehemiah encouraged the people around him saying: “Remember the Lord.” ( V14). When you are doing the right thing God in the sight of God, difficulties and obstacles you face may be an indication that you are actually on the right track, therefore, you must never give up, and when you are convinced that what you are doing is God's will, seek the Lord for His grace and strength to rise up and continue with it! There is another lesson for us here. We should not speak words that would discourage others. While we seek to overcome our own discouragement, ensure that you do not cause discouragement in others. Be mindful of your words so that they become a source of encouragement to others.

The best way to be encouraged is to “Turn our eyes upon Jesus. Meditate on His love and on all that He has done for us. Think of the great victory that He has won for us and all the marvellous blessings that He has purchased for us. There is really nothing that can encourage us better than the thought of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Promise: “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33



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