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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nehemiah...Again? (part 3)

In V. 18-9 – Most of the people rose to the challenge, among much criticism. The criticism came from the brethren and kinsmen. We expect to have opposition from outsiders, but the painful truth is that much of it will come from those we thought we could count on. Everyone wants to talk about change and what and who needs to change…BUT, no one wants to change their own actions or be the change! People are quick to point out the things what has gone wrong in someone else’s area, but are very hesitant to do any type of introspection. People will fight tooth and nail to stay in their comfort zone…even if they are uncomfortable.

I have recently given this some thought, and considered putting out a survey asking 1- What one thing do you think should be changed in the organization (church), 2- What one think can you do, stop doing, or teach someone else that would improve the way we function?

What do you think? (I am asking for some feedback!)

In V. 20 – Why is Nehemiah so bold? We just talked about this last week with Moses. He KNOWS that God is with him.

So we have Nehemiah. A man who has an iron constitution, unlimited energy, total awareness and faith in an all-powerful God. Like Nehemiah, God wants to use you to fortify the spiritual walls of those around us, when they are weak. But first, we must have our OWN spiritual walls fortified!! We must be sure our own spiritual house is in order.


There is a cost to being a leader. One of those costs is receiving criticism. In Chapter 4, verses 1-9 Sanballat & Tobiah criticize, AND they stir others up join in on their critical mood. {{If a tongue sins in one area, you can just about count on it being unbridled and sinning in another area!}}

Why would Sanballat, Tobiah and the other wealthy men of Samaria be against the rebuilding of Jerusalem? One of the main roads linking the Tigris-Euphrates river valley with Philistia & Egypt ran right through Jerusalem. With the wall re-fortified and rebuilt, Jerusalem would once more be well-protected, it would attract trade & Samaria’s influence and wealth would dwindle to nothing.

Every group has a Sanballat in it. Notice that Nehemiah doesn’t react directly to him. In 4:4-5 He talks to God instead! When you feel that vengeful spirit welling up inside, it’s best to leave it to God to execute! Instead of striking back and lashing out by saying things you will likely regret, spend some time pouring the bitterness out to God!

So, instead of striking out at Sanballat, notice how Nehemiah reacts to the criticism: 4:6 He stayed at the task. After getting off his knees with renewed strength, he pumped some of that determination into his workers. “Pass me another brick!”

Notice the intensity with which Sanballat now reacts: 4:7-8 Nothing riles (can I say pisses off) a critic more than having their criticism result in more progress! Notice that Nehemiah did not let this distract him. Look at 4:9. Nehemiah matched the intensity of the criticism with intensified prayer; but this time he brought the workers with him when he knelt before God!


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