Nehemiah 4 - Opposition from the Enemy & Perseverance1. Introduction: Have you ever had a project that you felt like giving up on but paid dividends when you stuck it through?
My kids. I'm a short term person with a long term project like kids. I need to be convinced that it is long term valuable project.
2. Why is persistence important as a Leader? What is the opposite negative quality? How can be develop the quality of persistence?
Persistence and steadfastness is important in getting any task completed. People will give up. The opposite of persistence is laziness, not completing tasks, procrastinating.
Get a clear vision of the end result. Have a clear goal at the beginning. Lay out a time line. Evaluate progress. Check the team if one is involved.
3. Whenever God's work is protecting God's people, opposition seems to rise up to defeat and de-rail the work. What was the nature of the opposition? (Ridicule, Insults, mocking and jeering) Why do you think Sanballat and Tobiah were seeking the demise of the rebuilding of the wall?
If the city re-established itself then trade would move from their cities to Jerusalem again. Greed, jealousy and possible financial loss. It was on a trade route, if Jerusalem was a secure city, traders would once again make that a stop on their journey to Egypt. Racism.
4. How did Nehemiah counter the opposition? What was his first line of defense?
He prayed an inclusive prayer and continued working.
5. What did Nehemiah see as the solution to the opposition according to his prayer?
God would punish them. God's revenge, retributive justice.
6. What was the response of the people in verse 6?
They continued working with all their heart and got the wall half way up.
V. 7 - 9
7. What was the next plan of the enemy? Why do you think Sanballat and company were angry?
They used threats and plotted to attack the builders.
Their next plan was to fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble They feared that might loose business and the ability to bully a helpless people in Jerusalem. Bandits often raided cities without walls.
8. How did Nehemiah respond to this second threat? How was morale of the people at this point?
Nehemiah called a prayer meeting and posted a guard day and night.
They planned to sneak up on them, kill them and put an end to their work. The workers from out of town were beginning to believe the enemy and spread fear among the other workers
Note the progression of the opposition. Jeering, plot to fight , plan to kill
10. What was the response of the people building the wall? How did Nehemiah organize to counter this threat? How did he organize the people?
They were afraid so Nehemiah posted guards at the lowest points and exposed places.
11. How did Nehemiah rally the people and keep the project on track? What two things did he do? V 14
He reminded them that God would fight for them. He challenged them to fight for their brothers, families and friends. He set up people weapons next to those working. Some worked with one hand and had a weapon in the other.
12. On whom did Nehemiah keep the focus ( v. 4:9, 14, 20)
He kept the focus on great and awesome God who would fight for them.
13. Nehemiah had a sidekick who would rush to the place of need and sound the alarm. Do we have friends that can help us in the hour of need?( v. 4:18)
Make a commitment to find someone to be a prayer partner or accountability partner.
14. The battle lines are drawn and every person was ready for battle - they had their swords, spears and other weapons ready beside them. Are you equipped for the spiritual battle that is raging? Do you carry your weapons with you? ( Eph 6:11 - 18; 2 Cor 10:4,5)
Satan has an agenda to work against the spiritual life of believers, discouragement, treats if we seek the welfare of weak or godly people. Ridicule, Prayer, dialogue, the word of God, Bring on the power of the Holy Spirit.
15. How do you respond to opposition? Do you get distracted, challenged to work harder, give up, get frustrated, complain, seek new solutions, trust God more, etc...
I sometimes get frustrated. Wonder why. Withdraw a little, Try to do my homework to make sure that my spiritual concerns are biblical and if there could be some truth to the opposition's remarks. Cry out to God.
16. What kind of opposition have you faced? How did you respond to it?
My personal opposition has been things like not using "I pray this In the name of Jesus" at the end of a prayer, Use of King James Version vs NIV, Evil one attacking my children, some not wanting to do a film series for Sunday Evening church series, I suggested starting a new church plant. - Leadership said No - I respected their decision, and waited on God.
17. What challenges is the church facing? What kind of solutions has God given you to overcome these challenges? Are you busy overcoming?
Worldly music in the church,
Lack of reaching out to the lost,
lack of male leadership,
Time and Culturalization of the Scriptures,
18. When we run into roadblocks sometimes it is important to discuss the problem with a close friend. Is there someone else that you can share your heart with?
Max Lucado's book on Nehemiah p. 84
More verses on perseverance - Luke 8:35; 1 Tim 4:16; Heb 10:35, 36; 12:5; James 1:3,4,12; 5:11; Rev 2:2,3