The world is filled with blessing snatchers. They play the role of the Devil’s advocate who doesn’t need any help. They are quick to object and always have a reason why it can’t be done. Dripping with negativism, they put a damper on life. Pessimistic people see the dark side of life don’t realize how discouraging they are to others. People like Sanballat and Tobiah represent the worst since they actually oppose the work of God. They ridicule those who are trying to do God’s will. “What are they building-if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones”(Neh. 4:3)!

Nehemiah was an encourager. Encouragers motivate others to courageously continue on. Hearing the insults of Sanballet and Tobiah, Nehemiah prayed (vs. 4), and the people continued working with all their hearts. This only caused the enemy to unite against them, but Nehemiah prayed again and stationed guards. The enemy continued to chip away by spreading lies. Propaganda is a very effective weapon in war. An army can be defeated without weapons if they become discouraged and believe the lies of the enemy. Listen to the discouraging tone of the rumor mill; “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall. Also our enemies said, ‘Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to their work’” (Vss. 10-11). Such is the work of terrorists in this world.

Nehemiah countered again by stationing half the people for defensive purposes and gave a speech to all the people. “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (vs. 14). Their fear was abated when they remembered the Lord and they returned to their task of rebuilding the wall. God had frustrated the plans of the enemy (vs. 15). When the walls were completed and the enemy heard about it, “all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of God” (Nehemiah 6:16).

When you feel discouraged, remember God is great and awesome. He will meet all your needs, and you can do everything through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13,19). “Let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). You give others the courage to run the race with endurance, when you encourage them.

Dr. Neil

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