Nehemiah 4:1-10

Opening Prayer Thoughts
 
Praise God and Confess the sin.
     Praise God that we can come and speak with Him in prayer.  It is astonishing that we have free access into the presence of the Creator of heaven and earth, and can come to Him knowing that He is our Father.
     Confess the sin of not praying when the privilege is there to do so.



Memory Verses to lay into your heart and mind. 
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word. 
James 1:2-4a, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect,”



Please ask the Holy Spirit's help as you come to his Word.
Please read Nehemiah 4:1-10.
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
 
Prayer and Defence.
The continued and intensified attacks of Sanballat and Tobiah could easily have discouraged the builders; they had, after all, asked God to deal with the opposition, and their prayer may have appeared to have gone unanswered. Their response, however, was quite different.
                a. They brought the matter to God in prayer, v. 9a. Although God had not answered Nehemiah's previous prayer in the way that they may have wished but had rather given the people a will to work in spite of opposition, that did not prevent them from seeking God afresh when new danger threatened. Perseverance in prayer is a lesson taught consistently in the Word of God.
                b. Not only did they pray for God's help and protection, they also took practical measures to defend themselves. This did not display any lack of faith in God but was simply recognition that God expects his people to use the minds that he has given them to make use of the means available to them. We are told to pray for our daily bread, but we do not expect it to fall from the sky. We use the strength and abilities that God gives to earn the wherewithal to provide food for our families. So too in the spiritual warfare; Christians are commanded to pray, Ephesians 6:18, but they are also to arm themselves for the battle against the 'principalities and powers'.
                c. They were determined not to be taken by surprise by the enemy, and so they maintained their guard day and night. This demonstrated their commitment to finish the work no matter what, and sent a message to their enemies that they would be ready to repulse any attack. Watchfulness is an essential part of the life of the believer, as the Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples – 'watch and pray that you do not enter into temptation', Luke 22:46.
 
Discouragement.
It now appears as though the pressure coming from the enemies of the work was having some effect. One of the things that the opponents wanted to do was to discourage the builders and cause them to stop the work, and it appears that some of the people were indeed becoming discouraged. The discouraging words came from the tribe that was considered the strongest – the tribe of kings and the tribe from which would come the Messiah, Judah. Their discouragement was based on a number of factors:
                a. The failing strength of the workers. They had been working hard and had accomplished much, but there was still a great deal left undone and they wondered if they had the strength or ability to complete it.
                b. There was a great deal of rubbish to be cleared away. The walls had been destroyed and the rubble had been building up for around a hundred years! Before the rebuilding could be done, the rubbish had to be taken away.
                c. They were not able to rebuild. Perhaps they felt that there were not enough of them to clear away all the rubbish and rebuild the walls as well, the task just seemed to be too big for them. This is a very good picture of how discouragement can come in the work of the gospel. We very often think that our strength is insufficient to complete the task before us; we can often begin well but become discouraged as the work seems to take so long! We must always remember that perseverance in the strength of the Lord is essential. In our own personal lives and in the work of the church, it is necessary to clear away the rubbish – old habits, unbiblical practices, unhelpful attitudes, and harmful relationships – before we can construct God-glorifying lives.



Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 124. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
 
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 25 – How does Christ fill the office of a priest?
Answer – Christ fills the office of a priest in his once offering up of himself to God as a sacrifice, to satisfy divine justice and reconcile us to God; and in making constant intercession for us.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Comment – A priest was a person appointed by God to represent others before Him. The priest would offer sacrifices and pray to God for them. We do not have priests today because Christ gave himself as a perfect sacrifice for His people. In doing so He satisfied God’s wrath fully, completely. Now, through His presence in heaven, He makes intercession for us before the Father.

Thank God
Thank God for the work he does in our lives through trials and other means, to gradually clear out that which is not good in our lives and lead us into greater Christian maturity.
 
Take care in Christ,
Andrew 
 
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC