Thursday, 2 December 2010

Responding to discouragement

Then Judah said, "The strength of the labourers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall." 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." 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." 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. 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, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses." And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. – Nehemiah 4v10-15

The problems continued for Ezra and the people of Judah as the set about rebuilding the city walls. The workers were tired. They were getting discouraged. There was such a mess that they felt like they could never get the wall built. The enemy was still taunting them.

Sometimes it may seem that everything is against us. Sometimes it seems that no matter what we may try it goes wrong. Discouragement can be a very real part of life. These folks were in desperate need of something. Fortunately, they had a leader who can get redirect them.

‘Don’t be afraid,’ Ezra said, ‘Remember who the Lord is, great and awesome. Remember that you are fighting for your brethren, your families, and your homes.’

The folks, like we do so often, lost their focus. They saw the huge amount of work. They saw the great opposition. They saw all the bad. They had forgotten who they were serving. They had forgotten what they were fighting for. They needed the call for focus that Ezra brought them.

Ezra’s advice would apply to all of us today who are tempted to be discouraged. We have no need to be afraid; God is never the source of fear. We need to remember just how great and awesome our God is. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. There are people depending on us to keep going.

So what did the people do? They did the same thing that we need to do – ‘We all returned to the wall to do our own work.’ We do have a great work to do. When we get off focus and see the difficulties of the ‘seen’ we must refocus and see the blessing of the ‘unseen.’

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