Bible Study for August 5: Persist

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Nehemiah 4:1-3,6-9,14-18
Harris Malcom, state missionary
Middle Georgia Region

When Nehemiah first arrived in Jerusalem, before telling anyone of his intentions he inspected the ruins. Then he gathered the leaders and briefed them of the “bad situation.” He told them of “God’s activity” in his life and the favor granted by the king because of God’s hand of favor. Then the leaders said, “let us arise and build.” They committed themselves to the work.

Wouldn’t it be great if we never faced opposition? There will always be people who oppose what God wants you to do. There will always be Sanballat’s and Tobiah’s around to oppose. There will be those who will try to convince us that it won’t work and it won’t last.

What do you do in the face of opposition? As we look into the life of Nehemiah we find not just he, but “we prayed to our God.” Do you see what is happening? Nehemiah has surrounded himself with praying people. They cried out to God together (4:9-11).

On the other hand be careful that you are not the opposition. Parents must be careful that they are not the opposition to God’s will in the life of their children. Church members must not be living in opposition to the vision that God has given to church leadership.

Don’t be the person that keeps them from going after God’s vision. Don’t let those in opposition steal your dream. They built in the face of opposition.

What voices are distracting you in what you should be doing with your life? Get wisdom from others, but don’t listen to people who do not have God at the center of their life and heart.

There are many voices in our lives. Some are godly voices and some are not. Even in the church not all voices are coming from hearts that have sought God. Churches are full of vision and dream killers. Make sure you listen to godly wisdom and not worldly wisdom cloaked in religious talk.

Nehemiah could have said you’re right; we are crazy for trying to rebuild this wall. However, he would have to ignore the voice of God that had led him this way to do so.

Whose voice is speaking loudest in your life when it comes to pursuing God’s vision?

We tell our kids the story of David and Goliath because we want them to understand how great God is in overcoming situations. We try to get them to believe in an overcoming God that we’re not always willing to trust ourselves. Make sure you surround yourself with passionate and God-minded people.

Nehemiah was a visionary, strategic, passionate, thinker, but no way did he think he could do it by himself. If you are pursuing God’s will for your life are you pursuing something alone that you should be pursuing with a team of people? If so who are they?

The opposition won’t usually give up easily. The opposition came from the Samaritans (north), Ammonites (East), Arabs (south) and Ashdodites (West). They are surrounded completely with people who opposed them. Sometimes you will find that you are completely surrounded by those who oppose you.

Stay alert and on guard. Pray for God’s protection over the entire vision. We want God to continue to do what He’s promised to do. We never know who’s getting ready to oppose us.

Use wisdom in pursuit of the dream.

In verse 9 we find Nehemiah and the people using great wisdom. “So we prayed to our God and stationed a guard because of them day and night.”

Isn’t that a wise and practical thing to do? Jesus Himself instructed His disciples to “watch and pray.”

(cf. Rom. 8:31 – “if God is for us who can be against us…”)

Whose voice speaks loudest when it comes to you pursuing God’s vision for your life?

Jesus was challenged with opposition. Following His baptism there was Satan who only left Him alone until a more appropriate time. The religious leaders opposition increased daily until it reached the crescendo of “crucify Him.” Even the disciples had moments where they had doubts and questions. Then there was the Garden of Gethsemane where His humanity collided with His deity and the cried, “if there is any way let this cup pass…nevertheless not My will but Your will be done.”

When opposition comes remember the promise of God, rely on the power of God and rally with the people of God.

Jesus wants to live His life through you – let His voice be loudest.

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