Nehemiah 4:1-23

Building & Battling


Intro: Christian living / growth & service  there is ONE thing that you can always count on – OPPOSITION!

A) There are two kinds – EXTERNAL that which comes from the outside & INTERNAL that which comes from the inside / closest to you


B) First we want to look at the External – Outside opposition Rd v1-9


C) The Purpose of rebuilding the wall – Safety Security / Freedom for Living and worship

1) The enemies of God don’t want God’s people to be living in Freedom

They don’t want them to experience security - 


So when these guys hear that this construction project is going on – two things occur – One they get mad

A) V.1 says that Sanballat was furious = very hot – it speaks of a boiling over type of ANGER & very indignant = RAGE


B) Needless to say the Devil and his cohorts react the same way when you decide you want to rebuild – broken down areas of your life

You want to improve your marriage /you want to get serious about the Lord


C) You want to finally deal with that area of compromise that the HS has been convicting you about

1) The Reaction of the ENEMY is always negative – He is going to become Furious & Indignant –


D) You settle for the Status quo - / you settle for mediocrity / you are content to linger in sin & compromise –

1) He is as happy as a kid in a candy shop- He has you right where he wants you – a life that is far less that what God has for you


E) But the minute you decide it is time to Change – get serious with God

1) The enemy becomes furious { Never takes a day off !!!

So that is first the 2nd thing that we see here is that the enemy forces join together v. 8 They conspired together – Sandballat was a Samaritan

A) Tobiah was an Ammonite / the Samaritans & the Ammonites were not close friends – they didn’t like each other


B) V. 7 tells us they were joined by the Arabs & Ashdodites

1)All the enemies of Israel are becoming friends to stop this restoration work


C) Having we seen that to be true in society as well – groups that didn’t really like each other or interact together – joining forces to fight truth

1) Joining forces in their stand against – Righteousness


D) That is always the case when – Evil wants to thwart the work of God

1) Sometimes the Litmus test to see if we are supporting the right thing can be determined by noticing who is against it !!!!


Now as we go thru the book of Nehemiah we will note some of the different tactics that the enemy seeks to use against us

A)We see a common one here in v.2-3 they want to discourage by mocking /

Do they really think they are going to rebuild this thing – look at the heaps of rubbish – even if they got a wall up it would fall down as soon as a fox ran on it – what do they know about building


B) Listen any time you decide to make a change for the better – the enemy is going to be whispering in your ear – never going to happen

1) You are always going to be this way / you are never going to have victory

this change will never work


C) Sometimes – he uses the voice of others – You want to get into the word more – bring Bible to work – read at lunch – co-workers – What is the deal are you BIBLE BOY – NOW !!!


D) Husband – You want to start leading your family – wife snaps – You think after 10yrs – You are going to be the spiritual leader now

1) David: Too young / too small / too inexperienced ……….

What do you do when that type of opposition is coming against you –

Temptation is to lash out – fight back with words

A) We want to shout back – we want to yell louder – Swindoll –


The recent argument in your home lasted as long as it did because you kept yelling. Arguments are never a one way street. They run in two’s they come in packs. If you want to stop an argument close your mouth.


Prov 15:28 The heart of the righteous studies how to answer,

But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.


B) What does Nehemiah do when he & his friends are being mocked?

1) He prayed ! v. 4-5


C) He doesn’t even answer his critics – He Prays !!!!

1) He is not going to talk to them – he is going to talk to God!


D) This is a radical Prayer !!


4Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders. NIV


Nehemiah says don’t forgive them – get them !

A) Harsh? Vindictive ? Not really this is the reaction of both Jesus as God the son / And of God the Father – when people are trying to discourage or take advantage of his people


B) Jesus w/ a whip turning over tables – The Father rebuking the leaders of Israel for being ungodly shepherds


C) Nehemiah is RIGHT ON – in this – They were going against the will of God – Nehemiah says – get God { Aggressive Prayer

Note the result of Nehemiah’s Prayer: 6 So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work

A) The wall was ½ completed because the people had a mind to work !

The result of Nehemiah’s prayer – The people had a mind to work!


B) Sometimes here in the fellowship – people will complain about a perceived lack of workers for various ministries

1) After one such conversation – I decided to do a little investigating


C) I went thru the various ministries associated with our Church – I added up all the people who are serving in those ministries

1) Here is the conclusion – we have approx 710 people serving here in the fellowship!


D) Now I realize that some of those people are serving in more than one ministry – so the total is probably closer to 500

1) I was encouraged by that – especially knowing that the national average for those serving in most churches is between 5-10%


E) Now we have around 2,000 adults who call CCV their home Church – if 500 are serving that is 25% - that is encouraging

1) But I would love for it to be – 50% / 75% / 100% - Why? You grow / You get blessed / Jesus said more blessed to give than to receive !!


F) You discover your gifts – your place in the family –


But here is the thing: For those of us who are prone to get discouraged because of the lack of workers – we need to follow Nehemiah’s example

A) Instead of Complaining – We need to pray !!! Perhaps as we pray consistently affectively – more will have a mind to work !!!


B) One last thing to note before we move on to the Internal opposition is Nehemiah didn’t just pray but v.9 tells us He set a watch

C) This is another key element in dealing with outside opposition

1) The need to be on guard –


D) The enemy never takes a rest – never goes on vacation – never has a holiday – we need to be on guard to notice the attacks

1) Be ready – watching – leaders the flock – wolves / parents your Children for wrong outside influences –


Matt 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.


NLT 1 Peter 5:8 Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.


We could sum up this section by saying that the People had a

Heart to pray /Mind to work / Eye to watch


Now as we come to v.10 we are faced with the 2nd type of opposition and that is the INTERNAL OPPOSITION: RD V.10

10 Then Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall."


A) The tribe of Judah was one of the strongest tribes in Israel / Judah were Leaders - but here we see them greatly DISCOURAGED


B) IN any ministry / any rebuilding work – home / marriage / your life personally – there is always the threat of DISCOURAGEMENT



C) Reasons for Discouragement: Note 4 in our text

#1 v.10 Fatigue – The strength of the laborers is failing – in other words they are worn out




Now note when did their strength start to falter ? V.6 When the wall was ½ way completed! – The newness had worn off !

A) Costco – taste test – cookies – take one and walk around – often times there is an after taste – that is not pleasant


B) So often life is like that especially when rebuilding – Pumped up at a retreat – come home ready to go – get started – newness wear off

1) Diet’s and working out – Yea go for it – Newness wears off – not seeing the results you want – DISCOURAGEMENT sets in –


C) ½ way point on the plane ride to Africa – get me off of this plane –


D) In so many things that is the case – the ½ way point can be discouraging. We get tired – and worn out !

1) Vince Lombardi: Fatigue makes cowards out of all of us


#2 Reason for discouragement: A loss of Focus – There is too much rubbish!

A) Rubbish and discouragement are Siamese twins – they go together !


B) The workers had the wrong focus – they were focusing on the rubbish – they saw the glass ½ empty instead of ½ full

1) Instead of rejoicing in how far they had come they were only seeing how much farther they had to go – TOO MUCH RUBBISH


C) That can be the temptation for all of us – Rebuilding your marriage

1) Discouraged – because even though you have made strides – there is still a lot of rubbish { Spent 5yrs neglecting & wrecking not change overnight


D)  Working on your walk – God is working things are happening – reminded of how much there is still to do

1) When we are focused on the RUBBISH – the temptation is to RUN / the temptation is to quit



Me a few month ago – Trials – misrepresented – misunderstood –

A)Rubbish all around me – Thinking – outrageous house prices here – sell move – somewhere cash out and live


B) Now I have probably thought that twice in 8yrs of ministry here. But that is always the temptation – Not worth it – never get fixed – never change

1) I am out of here ! – Listen that is never the right response – that is exactly what the enemy would like us to do!


C) We all have rubbish: Pride / self focused / unbelief / there is rubbish in all of us – there always will be until we get to heaven




So the first reason for Discouragement was Fatigue / 2nd was Loss of focus  / #3 A Loss of Fortitude 

A) When you lose your strength and your focus the next thing to go is your CONFIDENCE


B) In v. 6 we were told that they had a mind to work – but now that is a thing of the past

1) It has been replaced by this overwhelming feeling – We are never going to make it



Yet there is much rubbish; And we ourselves are unable To rebuild the



D) This task was never up to them – just like any rebuilding project  that we are involved in is not solely up to us

1) This act of rebuilding the wall was going to be a God thing – God partnering with his people – Same true for us




So their reasons for Discouragement – Fatigue / Loss of Focus / Loss of Fortitude and finally FEAR v.11-12

11 And our adversaries said, "They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease."

12 So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, "From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us."


A) Alan Redpath said that fear is the greatest enemy of our faith !


B) Fear has a way of crippling us – fear happens when we are focusing on the threats of the enemy – they said it ten times

1) Instead of focusing on the truths of God’s word


C) The Bible says: 2 Tim 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.


Ps 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? NKJV


So How do we deal with the Discouragement?  5 things we can learn from what Nehemiah did here.

A) #1 Unify our efforts toward the goal. V.13


13 Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows.


B) The builders had been scattered all over Jerusalem working on the wall – but this time Nehemiah stationed them w/ their families

1) Unified effort – easier for the guys to be encouraged if working by their families


C) Area of interest – Seeing their families – Motivation


#2 He exhorted them to put their focus on the Lord v.14a  And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people,” Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome,


A) They were too busy looking at the rubbish – they needed to get their eyes off of the rubbish and get it on the Lord

1) Off of the greatness of the TASK & onto the greatness of their GOD!


B) Napoleon always reminded his soldiers of some past victory to stir them up to fight.    Remember the Alamo - / Remember Pearl Harbor

1) Remember 9/11


C) Paul in writing to Timothy – Remember the Cross of Christ


Eccl 12:1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say,

"I have no pleasure in them":


D) Child like faith – Get older we tend to rationalize a lot – Remember Dad could do anything –

1) That heart again - 


At the time it was completed in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. During the first phase of the project 23 men fell to their deaths in the icy water. Murphy’s laws were in evidence! Things were going from bad to worse because there were very few safety devices. And so, when it was halfway completed, they decided to take another look and make some changes.

Do you know what they did? They reorganized and built the largest net ever made, and attached it under the area where the men were working. Was it worth the cost and the time it took to do this? Ask the ten men who fell into it without being injured! Not only did it save those ten lives, I’m told that the work was completed in three-fourths the time because the workers no longer lived in fear of falling.

#3 He reminded them of what they were fighting for v.14b- Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses."


If there was ever a fitting word for this generation in the Church it is this one – Fight for your families

A) We live in this culture where the family is very distorted –


B) TV shows Parents weird

1) Movies single parents – the norm { Broken families { Usually they make it look a lot easier than it really is!


C) Marriage is under attack { Same sex marriages


D) We need to fight for our families – Get rid of whatever is threatening



#4 Remember that Building & Battling go hand in Hand v. 15-18

          SWORD & TROWEL




#5 Have a rallying point V.19-20 – Church is – the Cross

Retreats / Huddle





Result V.21-23