Suffering and Deliverance (Part 35) - Nehemiah


B. In the days of Nehemiah, the Jews likewise faced many obstacles when they worked to finish rebuilding Jerusalem. i. Nehemiah was the cupbearer of king Artaxerxes (Neh 1:11). ii. When he found out about the suffering of the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild and how the walls of Jerusalem had been burned with fire, he was grieved (Neh 1:1-4). a. When the king saw that Nehemiah was sorrowful and enquired as to why, he asked the king if he could go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city (Neh 2:1-5). b. The king granted him his request and provided him timber to rebuild the wall (Neh 2:6-8). iii. When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, his adversaries Sanballat and Tobiah were grieved that he came to seek the welfare of the children of Israel (Neh 2:9-10). a. They laughed at them and mocked them when they heard of Nehemiah's plan to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem (Neh 2:19). b. Nehemiah was undeterred and remained resolute in the faith (Neh 2:20). iv. When they continued to rebuild, their enemies again mocked them and tried to discourage them (Neh 4:1-3). a. Nehemiah responded to the reproach by praying to God for help (Neh 4:4-5). b. The people had a mind to work and they just keep building despite the adversity (Neh 4:6). v. This made their enemies even more furious and they conspired to fight against them to hinder the rebuilding effort (Neh 4:7-8). a. Nehemiah prayed to God and set a watch (Neh 4:9). b. He set up armed men to protect the workers (Neh 4:13, 16). c. He also armed the men who did the work on the wall so that they could defend themselves (Neh 4:17-18). d. Nehemiah trusted that God would fight for them and bless their efforts (Neh 4:20). vi. When mocking and fighting against Nehemiah and the Jews didn't work, next they attempted to prevent him from building by trying to distract him by getting him to meet with them (Neh 6:1-2). a. Nehemiah saw through their ruse and told them he was doing a great work and didn't have time to waste with them (Neh 6:3). b. They tried again four more times, but Nehemiah remained steadfast (Neh 6:4). vii. They tried slandering Nehemiah to scare him, but he saw through it (Neh 6:5-9). viii. They hired a false prophet to try to get Nehemiah to meet him in the temple, but he likewise saw through that as well (Neh 6:10-14). ix. Despite all the wiles of their adversaries, they finished building the wall to the disappointment of their enemies (Neh 6:15-16). x. There are some lessons we can learn from this. a. If we are grieved for the suffering of God's people and pray earnestly to God, He will hear and deliver them according to His will. b. Sometimes deliverance is only a request away. c. God can use unbelieving rulers to deliver His people. d. When we are doing the LORD's work, there will be adversaries. e. Our enemies will mock and scorn us to try to prevent us from doing God's work. f. We must be undeterred by the mocking and derision of men. g. When mocking doesn't work, our enemies will sometimes resort to physical violence. h. God will bless our efforts to defend ourselves with weapons and force when necessary. i. God helps those who help themselves. j. Our enemies will try to distract us from the work that God has called us to do. k. Each of us must always remember that, "I am doing a great work" (Neh 6:3), and therefore we must not waste our time with those who would try to draw us away from it. l. If we are diligent, the LORD will bless our work and deliver us from the attacks of our enemies.
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