Jump Start # 3380
Nehemiah 4:14 “When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: ‘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 houses.”
Nehemiah is such an important book in our Bibles. Historically, it shows the people of God restoring walls and then their spiritual lives. That’s a valuable lesson. It’s a great study for those who lead God’s people. Nehemiah was a natural leader. There is no indication that he went to leadership training or had advance studies in how to influence and motivate people. He may have picked up some things being around the Persian king as he was the cupbearer for him.
In this chapter, the enemies, Sanballat and Tobiah and any one else they could deceive to their cause become angry because the walls are going up. They conspire to attack Jerusalem. They scared the Jews who lived near them. Frightened and defeated in spirit, they came to Nehemiah TEN times with news that we will be attacked.
Our verse today is pivotal for shepherds in God’s kingdom and dads in the home. “When I saw their fear…”
Let’s build upon that statement:
First, Nehemiah was already a step ahead. He had placed guards around the clock to be watching. Nehemiah prayed. The rumors and gossip were spreading thick about the people, and Nehemiah recognized it. Leaders, whether in the church or in the home, need to recognize fear, discouragement and discontentment. When we don’t see it, things swell. And, by the time we do see it, there is a mass exodus because everyone is fearful. Charges are made that the leaders aren’t doing anything.
How did Nehemiah see their fear? He was around them. He was talking to them. He noticed. Fear isn’t something that can be hidden very well. Nervousness comes out in our speech, in our prayers and in our actions. Fear can take over the heart. How many times did our Lord tell the disciples, “Fear not.”
Second, Nehemiah spoke. He spoke to the leaders. That’s important. If the leaders become scared and unsure, then there is no assurance and confidence that will fill the hearts of the people. Nehemiah spoke to the leaders. But, he didn’t stop with that. He also spoke to “the rest of the people.” He spoke to everyone.
A calm voice. A confident voice. A voice of faith. A voice of trust. A voice that is sure. It’s a scared child that will run to his parent’s bed in the middle of the night because of a thunderstorm. It’s that calming voice of the parents that allows that child to fall back asleep.
When leaders do not communicate or the message is not clear, fear escalates among the people. In Jesus’ story of the good shepherd, in John 10, when the wolf appears, the hireling takes off. He’s only thinking about himself. The sheep are left to themselves and they will be destroyed. The good shepherd stays there when the wolf shows up. The good shepherd will fight the wolf to the death to protect the sheep. The sheep trust and are confident with the shepherd nearby.
Third, Nehemiah brought God before their eyes. That’s the problem with fear. We see the problem but we don’t see God. Peter looked at the wind and the waves and he started to sink when he was walking on water. When we look at the problems and not to the Lord, our faith sinks.
Nehemiah reminded them of God who is great and awesome. God who parted seas. God who brought the walls of Jericho down. God who drove out nations. God who brought a giant down. How can you forgot? God is greater than our enemies. God is greater than any problem we face.
Nehemiah said, “remember the Lord.” Did you forget? God’s here. God’s got this. God will help you. Remember the Lord.
Fourth, Nehemiah reminded the people of what is important. Fight for your families. Fight for your homes. Don’t wave the white flag. Don’t let the enemy in. Your mission. Your purpose. Your reason for building the wall. Fight. And, when our problems seem great, we must fight for our congregations. We must fight for our families. We must fight for our souls.
The enemy is a lot of talk. The enemy makes up things. The enemy feeds on rumors, lies and gossip. We stand with the Lord. The enemy will fall.
Nehemiah saw their fear. Nehemiah went into action.
Great reminders for us.