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The thing that always stands out to me about Nehemiah is that he wasn’t, like so many in today’s world, someone who just talked about a problem but actually did something about it.

Nehemiah learned that the city walls of Jerusalem were broken down, and the city was defenceless. The small number of Jews who had returned to their homeland after decades of Babylonian captivity needed the walls to be rebuilt. Nehemiah knew that time was of the essence, obtained permission from the King of Persia and returned to Jerusalem. After surveying the situation, he set about ‘heading up’ the workforce to reconstruct the city walls; and surprise, surprise they had a few setbacks! Life is never that straightforward!

But Nehemiah kept focussed on the task he knew that God had called him to do. Nehemiah 4 recalls how two opponents in particular, Sanballat and Tobiah tried desperately hard to prevent the work from progressing; and their actions were making those working on the wall, feel defeated and discouraged.

But in Neh. 4:14, I believe we have one of the most important pieces of advice in the whole of Scripture, as at times, we too, because of life situations, can feel similar to how the Jews felt. Nehemiah reminded the Israelites, as they were rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls, to ‘Remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight…’ (Neh 4;14 NIV).; or as the New Living Translation says, ‘Remember the Lord who is great and glorious’…

We have to do just the same when we face discouragement, disappointment and despair. For the Lord is always there and we need to bring Him into our thinking. He said, “I will never leave you”, and He won’t and doesn’t!

The Israelite’s task looked overwhelming, and their opponents were slandering and undermining them, so they could have given in to discouragement. However, God gave Nehemiah a plan, resources and resolve. The Israelites worked hard and they worked together, but still they couldn’t have done it without the Lord’s favour. How often are we about to give up when we suddenly remember, ‘The Lord’!? 

To overcome our battles, we must take our minds off our circumstances and focus them on the Lord.  We must remember God’s faithfulness to us in the past, His goodness to us in the present and know that we can depend on His power for the future.

Let’s not surrender to disappointment and despair. These are incredibly effective weapons in Satan’s armoury designed to stop us from moving forward and succeeding. Instead, let’s resist the devil (James 4:7) and ‘remember’ and focus on the Lord who is great and awesome! He’s the designer and creator of the universe, and my problems and yours are no problem for Him. 

‘Our God is truly an awesome God’…(I feel a song coming on)!! Be encouraged!

Author Paul Emmerson

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