It seems like every day we face adversities, hardships, difficulties, dangers, misfortunes, and hard times. Our country is filled with poverty, violent crime, and unsaved people. Divorce and AIDS plague our society. Beggars are in our streets and hypocrites sitting on our pews. What can we do with our churches not making budget; our assistant pastors’ committing adultery? What could a man named Nehemiah who lived over two millenniums ago hope to even inspire us to lead God’s sheep to victory in this war? What would Nehemiah say to us today, what sermon would he preach? I believe he would say the same words he said to the people in his day, when they faced opposition on every side. He looked at people whose situation looked hopeless. He saw the stress in their faces. Failure and defeat seemed unavoidable. Yet Nehemiah boldly stated: “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome!” How often do we forget that God is all powerful, that the whole world is in his hands and that the sun is but a small bon fire in His back yard?
Let us examine his message in detail. In Nehemiah 4:14, and reading from the ESV: “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.”
Let us not be afraid of them. Let us not be afraid of adversities, hardships, difficulties, dangers, misfortunes, and hard times. Let us not be afraid of poverty, violent crime and whatever we face. Why because God is great and awesome.
I can hear a sarcastic thought in the back row, shout: “I know that God is powerful, I know God is awesome and I know He greater than all these things, but what does that help me practically. What must I do?”
Nehemiah answers that question, with the word fight. “Fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
God is great and awesome. This is the reason we fight. This is reason we preach, this is reason we worship, and this is the reason we live and breathe. This is reason we counsel and pray.
This message is the core of Nehemiah the man and Nehemiah the book. This enabled Nehemiah to pray in faith (Nehemiah 1). This enabled Nehemiah to leave the palace of Persia (his comfort zone) and trek on dangerous roads to go to poor Jerusalem. This enabled Nehemiah to lead the people of Jerusalem to be brave in the face of enemies who threatened to kill them and build the broken wall of Jerusalem in the face of weariness and hopelessness (Nehemiah 2). This enabled Nehemiah to reply to every enemy and every Israelite who had fear and doubt in their heart, “the God of heaven will give us success” (Nehemiah 2:20 NIV). This enabled Nehemiah to lead the people to rebuilt Jerusalem physically and spiritually (Nehemiah 3 and 8).
Because God is great and awesome. Nehemiah was a man of prayer and action.
Because God is great and awesome. You can be a man of prayer and do what needs to be done.
Because God is great and awesome. Nehemiah stood firm in adversities and taught the Israelites to do the same.
Because God is great and awesome. You can stand firm in adversities and teach God’s people to do the same.
Because God is great and awesome. Nehemiah loved the Bible and asked Ezra to teach the people the Word of God.
Because God is great and awesome. You can lead, teach, preach and encourage others to do the same.
Let us be like Nehemiah and say to every situation and every person: “the God of heaven will give us success”.