by Adrian Rogers (with a few tweaks)
Any work for God is going to be met with opposition from the devil. When God's people have a mind to work the devil has a mind to wreck, and discouragement is his most valuable tool. But you can be armed against it and defeat him.
Read vs. 7-10 Here is the first discouraging note in the whole book, Judah says, “We can’t do it” “It can’t be done” ”We are not able to finish what we started” ”We are not able to build the wall”
Look at verse 11 now here it could not be said seldom is heard a discouraging word there were many
To make sure I get in my outline this week I am going to give it to you. 1st
Ill. – I believe that next to ridicule it is the devils chief tool. Some believe it is his chief tool. It was advertised that the devil was going to put his tools up for sale. On the date of the sale, the tools were placed for public inspection; each tool being marked with its sale price. They were a treacherous lot of implements…..Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Deceit, Lying, Pride, and so on.
Laid apart from the rest was a harmless looking tool, well worn and priced very high.
“What is the name of this tool?” asked one of the purchasers, pointing to it.
“That is Discouragement”, replied the devil.
“Why have you priced it so high?”
“Because it is more useful to me than the others. I can pry open and get inside a man’s heart with that when I cannot get near him with my other tools. Once I get inside, I can make him do what I choose. It is badly worn because I use it on almost everyone, since very few people know that it belongs to me.”
My friend, don’t let Satan discourage you in anyway. You are God’s child and have the victory already won. All you have to do is keep your faith on the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. The devil will not have a chance to discourage you, even with his best tools.
I.The Curse of Discouragement
A.Discouragement doesn’t discriminate. Even the best Christians are under its power at times.
Look who it was that got discouraged. Judah
B.Discouragement is debilitating. It will stop you dead in your tracks. ‘Anyone can do more than a man who has lost heart!’
II.The Cause of Discouragement (v. 10-12)
Let’s look at vs. 10-11 we see first in verse 10… Now teens when you get WORN OUT, WEIGHTED DOWN, and WORKED UP you are going to get discouraged too.
A.Worn Out – “the strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed” v. 10
They were working and they were working hard. Now you also see that they got tired right when they were in the middle of the job. Now they weren’t really worn out physically as much as they were mentally, because we are going to see in a moment that Nehemiah put them right back to work. They weren’t as tired as they thought they were, but they had lost their will to work.
v. 6 tells us that the wall was halfway up. Right when you are in the middle that is when you get so discouraged. Halfway is often the most discouraging time. You know it usually when you are halfway through with something that you start to tire of it.
It is often during this time when you are most susceptible to Satan’s attacks. We ware ourselves out sometimes even doing good or useful things, but often doing things that aren’t productive.
We need to learn to take care of our bodies. Get rest, eat right, exercise… You hear me preaching to myself J
So, #1 they were WORN OUT, #2 they were
B.Weighted Down – “and there is much rubbish” v. 10
They had a task to do. However, rather than seeing it one step at a time. Like Christ said to do to live one day at a time. They looked at all of the rubbish, they saw all of the debris, they saw all of the debris, and they said we’ll NEVER get the job done. It’s just too big
Well if you look at the total job and think you have to get it done in one day it can’t be done. Life is hard by the yard, but by the inch it’s a synch. They did get it done, but they were discouraged. They were burdened down.
Application: Does it just seem like everything’s piling up on you? You feel like you are never going to get it all done. You’ve got a life to build, you’ve got a character to build, you’ve got a relationship to build you’ve got your grades to build
We are all builders, and you see sometimes it just piles up. We think that we will never get it done, it’s too much. Well really it can’t be done until the garbage is removed.
Look at verse 10… You know often the hardest job is not laying the bricks its removing the trash. Most of us don’t want to do that. We don’t want to do the dirty work. We would like to see the positive things, but first the trash has to be removed. Now here it was talking about literal physical debris.
Application: There is all kinds of trash that has to be removed in any work of God. In our lives we have a lot of moral garbage that needs to be removed, traditional trash needs to be removed, organizational junk that needs to be gotten out of the way so that God can tell us what to do!
Illustration: There was a land developer who bought a city dump…he hauled in some dirt for the land fill and spread it over the landfill over that trash and tamped it down. Then he put in streets, curbs, and sidewalks. They subdivided it, put in beautiful homes and people moved in.
But after a while the subsoil began to shift, the windows began to crack, the roofs began to sag, the sidewalks started to buckle, the streets cracked the curbs broke and people just moved out.
The old-timers in that community just shook their heads because they knew what happened. They had built their homes on garbage. You can build your homes on garbage you can’t build your life on trash. Sometimes it’s hard to get right down to bedrock, but we have to do it! We have to do it if we are going to build anything that will last, and sometimes it seems tedious, sometimes we just want to do it the cheap way the easy way. There is no the cheap way there is no easy way to serve God.
Sufficed to say that they were discourages 1st of all because they were worn out 2ndly because they were weighted down, and 3rdly because they were…
C.Worked Up – “” v. 11
The enemy was telling them look you don’t know when we are coming it may be night it may be day, but sometime somewhere when you least expect it you are going to hear us say surprise the enemy has attacked.
Now that’s exactly what they are saying. Look at v. 11 Now it was bad enough that they were worn out, it was bad enough that they were weighed down, but now they are worked up. The enemy is just keeping things in turmoil.
Application: Let me tell you what kind of friend you have in the devil. If you were in quicksand he’d be glad to pat you on the head.
He knows just when you are in difficulty, he knows just when are physically exhausted, he knows just when you have more than you can do. He knows just when things are about to cave in in your school, in your home, in your family, and it is at that time when he moves in with some threat to take away your security. I don’t know what type of security he will take away. Maybe it will be your health, maybe it will be your friends, maybe it will be your family’s finances. I don’t know what it is, but he says I am going to strike and I am going to strike hard, and when that happens you can get so discouraged when your security is taken away.
These people did not feel secure. At any moment they knew there was danger from somewhere.
Do you know what made things worse? There where people of God who helped the enemy. Look at verse 12 10x’s look out they are going to get you
I think the hardest thing for any believer to face is not people from without the camp, but rather people from within who say it can’t be done.
These folks are like a drink of water to a drowning man. The devil always uses someone within a crowd to discourage and say it can’t be done. You will either be a helper of you will be a hurter. You’ll be part of the problem or you will be part of the solution.
One man said, “How many active members do you have in your church.” He responded, “they are all active some are building up and some are tearing down.
Well look here was the cause of discouragement. They were worn out …
III.The Cure for Discouragement (13:50)
A.He Armed His People v. 13
The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual
B.He Assured His People v. 14a
Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world
Be not afraid and be not dismayed
If He be for us who can be against us
For he hath said, The Lord is my helper I will not fear what man shall do unto me
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,
Application: Are you tired? Are you afraid? Are you worked up? Think on the Lord, Remember the Lord
Do you want to know why you get discouraged? I will give it to you in a nut shell you’ve taken your eyes off God.
Illustration: I Have Seen the Face of the Pilot
Robert Louis Stevenson tells of a storm that caught a vessel off a rocky coast and threatened to drive it and its passengers to destruction. In the midst of the terror, one daring man, contrary to orders, went to the deck, made a dangerous passage to the pilot house and saw the steersman, at his post holding the wheel unwaveringly, and inch by inch, turning the ship out, once more to sea.
The pilot saw the watcher and smiled. Then, the daring passenger went below and gave out a note of cheer: “I have seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled. All is well.”
Have you seen the face of the Lord lately? Have you? Do you know the smile of Jesus in the midst of your storm? You know what Nehemiah would tell you?
“REMEMBER THE LORD!!!” LOOK FULL IN HIS FACE. Jesus Christ is still at the helm and there is no panic in heaven. No panic only plans, we must REMEMBER THE LORD
Peace is not found in the absence of trouble; it is found in the presence of God.
Now what did he do? He ARMED HIS PEOPLE, HE ASSURED HIS PEOPLE, AND HE…
C.He Aroused His People v. 14b (19:00 Scottish accent) J
What Nehemiah was saying that you’re not building walls your building lives.
We are not dealing with brick and mortar we are dealing with flesh and blood
I pray GOD! OH GOD!!! Give me the ability to arouse this people
He ARMED HIS PEOPLE, HE ASSURED HIS PEOPLE, HE AROUSED HIS PEOPLE, AND HE…
It cost to be aroused. A lot of people don’t want to get involved
C.S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
D.He Applied His People
Don’t wait until you feel like it to get into the work
I Won't Let Go – Author Unknown
I want to let go, but I won't let go.
There are battles to fight,
By day and night,
For God and the right—
And I'll never let go.I want to let go, but I won't let go.
I will never yield!
What! Lie down on the field
And surrender my shield?
No, I'll never let go!
I want to let go, but I won't let go.
I'm sick, tis true,
Worried and blue,
And worn through and through,
But I won't let go.
I want to let go, but I won't let go.
May this be my song:
"Mid legions of wrong—
Oh, God, keep me strong
That I may never let go!"
Building & Battling / Sword & Trowel
E.He Assembled His People
F.He Admonished His People
You be careful don’t go wandering about the building late at night. He did the same thing Peter did. Be sober be vigilant
ILL.- Ernest Hemingway (died of suicide) once said: “Life is just a dirty trick, a short journey from nothingness to nothingness. There is no remedy for anything in life. Man’s destiny in the universe is like a colony of ants on a burning log.”
Jesus said, I am come that you may have life and to have it more abundantly
Every day we remain discouraged is a day that we’re not going anywhere for God. Don’t let up, don’t shut up, don’t back up, and don’t give up, until you’re taken up!