Derek Smith 

Lead Pastor

Nehemiah 4:10-14

10 In 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.” 11 And our enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work.” 12 At that time the Jews who lived near them came from all directions and said to us ten times, “You must return to us.” 13 So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “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.” 

Former heavy-weight boxer James (Quick) Tillis is a cowboy from Oklahoma who fought out of Chicago in the early 1980s. He still remembers his first day in the Windy City after his arrival from Tulsa. “I got off the bus with two cardboard suitcases under by arms in downtown Chicago and stopped in front of the Sears Tower. I put my suitcases down, and I looked up at the Tower and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to conquer Chicago.’ When I looked down, the suitcases were gone.”

Do you ever wake up in the morning and feel like your suitcases have been stolen right out from under you? Satan can’t steal our salvation, but he can bring our service to a stop and steal our joy if we let him. In this passage Nehemiah and the people are doing the work, they are rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah even admits in this chapter that it’s a great and extensive work. When you combine the element of past failure with the ingredient of vehement opposition from without, you have a recipe for deep discouragement. As it says here, their strength was failing and they began saying it was impossible to finish the work. Then Nehemiah sprang into action to encourage the people. 

It has been said that discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God. Discouragement can be defeated by prayer, faith, and the encouragement of the family of faith. We all have seasons of life where we are down on ourselves, on others, and even down on faith. Pray. Trust God. Serve. Stick with the family of God. If we will follow Nehemiah’s example we will find great encouragement in the battle.