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Sermon preached at State College Free Methodist Church
On Sunday, April 27,1997, by Pastor C. W. Marshall
So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall."
11Also 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 the work."
12Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us."
13Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.
14After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of 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."
*/Series /-/ Encouraging Words From God’s Word./*
*/ /(2)/ What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up!/*
You know, I think, discouragement is perhaps mankind’s deadliest disease.
It’s worse than polio, or MS, or Aids, because it is universal, it is highly contagious.
If you are around someone who’s discouraged, you can get discouraged fairly quickly.
But, thank God, it’s also curable.
I have heard it said that in professional sports, the pros never give up when they are in a slump.
They just keep on playing the best they can until they ride it out.
What do you do when you feel like giving up? Life has its ups and downs.
Everyone has his or her “off” days.
Maybe you have had an “off” week or an “off” month, and you feel like throwing in the sponge, and you ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”
I think one of the reasons the Book of Nehemiah is in the Bible is because this story gives us the causes of and the cures for discouragement.
Let’s look at it together - *Neh.
4:6* “/So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart/.”
Nehemiah had led some Jews back to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon, to rebuild the wall to half its intended height.
Now look at verses 10 and 11: “/Meanwhile the people in Judah said, ‘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 the work.’”/
Now in this passage we have four causes of discouragement.
They got going on the project, but soon they began to get downhearted and discouraged.
There were four reason.
The Causes of discouragement.*
/The first cause of discouragement is Fatigue./
Look at verse 10: “The strength of the laborers is giving out…” We just wear out.
They had worked a long time and they were physically exhausted.
And people, when you are physically down, it’s hard to be emotionally and spiritually up.
My counsel to a lot of people who are discouraged is simply this: “You just need to get some ‘R&R’- rest and recreation.”
Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to go to bed.
Vince Lombardi once said, “Fatigue makes cowards of all us.”
It’s amazing how much better things look after a good night’s sleep.
Maybe you don’t need a change, maybe you just need a vacation.
You know how farmers rotate crops, and they leave the land fallow - they actually rest portions of the land, because every farmer knows that land that has rested produces a more abundant harvest.
Do any of you know who Frederick W. Taylor was?
You ought to thank him, because in 1898 he did the first scientific study which proved that at the work place people produce more if they have periodic breaks.
So the next time you take a coffee break, remember Mr. Taylor with gratitude!
So when do fatigue and discouragement usually set in? Look again at verse 6: “So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached (what?) half its height.”
Fatigue and discouragement come at the midpoint.
You have always got energy when you start!
It’s a new project and you are working with all your heart; but after a while, when the newness of the project wears off, you are inclined to get bored; you start getting tired, and discouragement sets in.
Have you ever been doing yard work, and when you are about half way through, you realize you are tired, and you also realize that not only do you have to finish the job, but you have to clean up afterwards?! Fatigue comes at the midpoint, and that’s why many people never complete anything.
So the first cause of discouragement is fatigue.
/The second cause of discouragement is Frustration./
Notice in verse 10: “The strength of the laborers is giving out” - that’s fatigue - “and there is so much rubble…” - that’s frustration.
They are talking about the litter, the debris, the trash that accompanies a building project.
Those people were building the wall, and there were broken bricks and broken mortar, and all kinds of trash lying around, and it kept accumulating; and it caused them frustration because they were forever walking over it or around it; and perhaps someone stepped on a broken break and sprained his ankle!
Did you ever live in a house that you are remodeling at the same time?!
Frustration the rubble that builds up! Let me ask you - do you have a job where the is never finished, and your desk is piled a mile high with stuff?
If so, you know what frustration is like, don’t you?! And as soon as one project is completed, there’s another one crying out to be attended to.
That is frustration, and it can be a cause of discouragement.
Have you ever notice how trash multiplies?
It’s kind of like rabbits!
And if you don’t clean it out periodically, it becomes a barrier to your main goal, and it will halt your progress.
Now, you can’t avoid rubble, but you have got to be able to recognize it, and know how to clean it out and get rid of it; otherwise you will be perpetually frustrated.
Now, what is the rubble in your life.
The rubble consists of the trivial things in your life that keep you from accomplishing your real goals - it could be anything.
It takes an inordinate amount of your time.
What are the time - wasters in your life?
Is it Fatigue, Frustration.
There’s is a third cause of discouragement:
Look at verse 10: “There is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
What are they saying?
They are saying, “We should never have undertaken this project in the first place.
Who are we to think that we could ever finish this job?”
And they were unable to finish the wall in time they had set originally.
They didn’t meet their deadline, and they got discouraged, and they gave up because they had failed.
“We didn’t do it on time.”
Failure is the third cause of discouragement.
Because they were unable to finish the task as quickly as planned, they lost heart.
/There’s is a fourth cause of discouragement Fear./
Look at verse 11: “Also our enemies said, ‘Before they know it or see us…we will kill them and put an end to the work.”
Now the background to the story is that there were numerous enemies who didn’t want that wall built, and they were doing everything they could to frustrate the plans of the rebuilders of the wall.
First they ridiculed or them, then they criticized them, and finally they threatened them - “we are going to kill you!”
Do you like to be ridiculed or unjustly criticized?
Nobody likes to be frightened either.
Who gets afraid?
Notice verse 12: “Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
The fact is, if you constantly live near negative people and listen to negative thoughts, you are going to be infected.
Now what fears are causing you to be discourage this morning?
- fear embarrassment, fear of failure, fear that you have to be perfect, fear that you are inadequate and won’t be able handle pressure?
How do you know if you are discouraged because of fear?
Because you have an intense desire to run - to escape to Tahiti! “I’ve got to escape from the demands and the pressures that are crushing me!”
These are the common causes of discouragement, and once you identify your problem - is it fatigue, or frustration, or failure, or fear? - then you need to look at the antidote; and thank God, the antidote is right here in this passage too.
So that brings us to
The CURES for discouragement.*
/Rest your body./
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