January 30, 2023
The Effects of the Opposition
Nehemiah - “So we rebuilt the wall until all of it reached half of its height…Then the people of Judah began to complain, ‘The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.’ Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, ‘Before they know what’s happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work.’” (Nehemiah 4:6, 10-11)
Whenever we’re working hard and being bombarded by ridicule, rumor, and resistance, we’re bound to get discouraged. By the beginning of Nehemiah chapter 4, the people had rebuilt the wall to the halfway point. It would seem to many that reaching this milestone would bring celebration, but that is not always the case. Often, discouragement comes at the half-way point.<
There are four major causes of discouragement that make their presence known around the half-way point. The first cause is fatigue. In Nehemiah 4:10, the people of Judah complained to Nehemiah, saying “The workers are getting tired.” Vince Lombardi once said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
The second cause of discouragement is frustration. The people of Judah complained to Nehemiah and said, “There is so much rubble to be removed.” (Nehemiah 4:10). Frustration is usually a matter of perception. When you’re halfway through a project, the piles of rubble should be getting smaller. However, when you’re tired and frustrated, they seem enormous.
The third cause of discouragement is failure. Once again, the people of Judah complained to Nehemiah saying, “We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.” When you’re tired and frustrated, everything looks impossible. Fatigue and frustration lead to simple mistakes which lead to bigger mistakes which cause workers to feel like they are failing.
The fourth cause of discouragement is fear. The people of Judah were afraid, thinking their enemies were now going to attack. (Nehemiah 4:10-11). When we’re tired, frustrated, and have recently experienced failure, fear is bound to come. Even so, we must be faithful and trust the Lord. When asked about fear, Billy Graham once said, “Commit your life to Christ, and then when fears come, turn them over to God…Remember the Psalmist’s words: “The lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?’ (Psalm 27:1)
Satan, our main opponent, always has two goals - to hinder God’s Word and to stop God’s work in this world. He often uses discouragement in our lives to do both. However, if we understand this, when fatigue, frustration, failure, and fear come, we can recognize it, strengthen ourselves in the Lord, and move forward.
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY
Think about your life. Have you experienced lots of discouragement? Could it possibly be happening because Satan is trying his best to hinder God’s word and to stop God’s work in this world? Pray and ask God to help you hold fast to Him next time you are discouraged. If you are leading your family through this devotion, ask each person to ask themselves the above questions and then lead your family in a time of prayer.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, whenever I am fatigued, whenever I am frustrated, whenever I fail, and whenever I am fearful, help me to trust in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.