THE STORY OF THE JOURNEY HOME #4:
NEHEMIAH – BUILDING A STRONG FAMILY
(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)
To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.
“Of Solomon. Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127).
- If we want to have strong and healthy families, the Lord must build our homes!
BABY DEDICATION: Dymetro Robert Isaac
ILLUSTRATION: WHAT CHILDREN THINK ABOUT MARRIAGE:
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO TO MARRY?
- Alan, age 10: You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
- Kirsten, age 10: No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides for you, and then you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?
- Camille, age 10: 23 is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
- Freddie, age 6: No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.
1. NEHEMIAH: A MAN OF PRAYER:
“1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, 2 that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” 4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:1-4).
- We are coming to the end of The Story of the Old Testament: The Journey Home.
- Nehemiah was the King’s cupbearer – a servant – who risked his life for the King.
- God gives Nehemiah favour to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city.
2. REBUILDING BROKEN WALLS:
“Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work.” (Neh. 2:17-18).
- Nehemiah had a heart to rebuild what was broken.
- We need to be intentional about building our families and relationships God’s way.
3. OVERCOMING DISCOURAGEMENT:
“Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they are doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a day if they offer enough sacrifices? Look at those charred stones they are pulling out of the rubbish and using again!” (Neh. 4:1-2, NLT).
- Sanballat was their enemy who wanted to discourage the Jews and get them to fail.
“At last the wall was completed to half its original height around the entire city, for the people had worked very hard. But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall were being repaired, they became furious. They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and to bring about confusion there.” (v. 6-8).
- When we get busy building our families, the enemy will bring discouragement.
- The good news is that we can defeat discouragement! We all get discouraged and feel like quitting – we lose our motivation, confidence and optimism.
- How do you know if discouragement is about to happen in your life?
- #1 way – you’re at the halfway point, the point of no return. (Marriage, job, transition)
“But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves. Then the people of Judah began to complain that the workers were becoming tired. There was so much rubble to be moved that we could never get it done 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.” The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!” (v. 9-12).
- They were discouraged – losing courage. From enemies and even sometimes friends!
- You need to be careful what kind of people you hang around with – are they negative?
- But you need to recognize when you’re discouraged so you can deal with it.
- You don’t need to run to drugs, alcohol or some other source – go to God!
HOW TO BUILD A STRONG AND HEALTHY FAMILY:
1. PRAYER: Cry out to God for help.
“Then I prayed, “Hear us, O our God, for we are being mocked.” (4:4).
- If we want a strong and healthy family, WE need God’s help.
- Pray for your marriage and for your children. “Lead them not into temptation…”
2. PEOPLE: Stay closely connected to God’s family.
“So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows.” (Neh. 4:13).
- There is strength in numbers! We need each other – that’s why God gave us the church.
- If you’re struggling in your family, share it with one another in God’s family.
- Let’s pray for one another, care for one another, and share one another’s troubles.
3. PERSEVERENCE: Refuse to give up.
“Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the leaders and the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your friends, your families, and your homes! When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall.” (v.13-15).
- When you start getting discouraged, remember all the things God has done for you.
- Get around other Christians and have them encourage you with their testimonies.
4. PASSION: Focus on the good work you are building.
“1 Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), 2 that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.” (Neh. 6:1-4).
- The enemy will try to discourage and distract us. Don’t give up building your family!
- See Nehemiah’s passion: “I am doing a great work, I will not come down!”
- Discuss phone call recently from someone who was frustrated that I didn’t take his call on Monday. I prioritize family time! “I cannot come down” or give up my family!
MORE PRACTICAL TIPS FOR BUILDING A FAMILY:
- Love, acceptance and forgiveness: These are absolutely essential building blocks! Speak loving words over your children daily. Accept them. Forgive their mistakes.
- Church attendance: In our family, it’s not an option. We come to church together as a family. Bring them to the place where they can grow in their relationship with God.
- Discipline: “If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.” (Pr. 13:24).
- ILLUSTRATION: Hannah’s frustration at her dance class. She follows the rules, but the teacher doesn’t enforce it with the other girls. Hannah’s frustration with her school class as well. She gets the work done, but most of the class doesn’t, so the teacher extends the deadline. What are we teaching children?
- Advice to children: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4).
THE BIG IDEA: If we want a strong and healthy family, we must build our family God’s way.
- Pastor’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/