This is a sermon my Father, Jerry Trammell preached on 10.03.2004 at the church he pastored, First Assembly of God, Dumas Texas.
Nehemiah 4:6-10 NLT – 4 Then I prayed, “Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land! 5 Do not ignore their guilt. Do not blot out their sins, for they have provoked you to anger here in front of the builders.” 6 At last the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city, for the people had worked with enthusiasm. 7 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 of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. 8 They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion. 9 But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves. 10 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.”
INTRODUCTION: I want to draw your attention to verse 10 of my text, for the subject that I want to preach from can subtly be seen in this verse of Scripture. It says, “Then the people of Judah began to complain that the workers were becoming tired. There was so much rubble that we could never get it done by ourselves.” For a few moments I want to use this verse as a basis of thought as I preach to you from the subject of “discouragement”
What is discouragement? One thing discouragement is not is depression, but a continual state of discouragement can certainly lead to depression. But again, What is discouragement? According to the dictionary definition, “Discouragement is the feeling of being demoralized and disheartened. It is feeling dejected and cast down; weighed down and oppressed.” Does that sound like you today? Three times in Psalm 42 David asked, “Why am I discouraged? Why so sad?” In verse 6 of that same chapter he says, “I am deeply discouraged.” It is obvious here that David was “demoralized, disheartened, weighed down, and oppressed.”
William Ward gives what I think is an interesting definition to discouragement. He says, “Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distate for the present, and distrust of the future.” He goes on to say, “It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifferance to the opportunities of today, the insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is the awareness of teh presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of others, and the unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God.” Regardless of whether you use the dictionary definition, or William Ward’s definition of discouragement, it is something that each of us must guard against as it does damage to us both emotionally and spiritually.
Now let me say from the very beginning of this message that we all become discouraged from time to time do we not? No one is exempt from discouragement. From the richest to the poorest all have to deal with discouragement. Saint and Sinner alike have to deal with discouragement. I know that we all would like to think that we are immune to discouragement, but the truth is we are not.
While we may get discouraged from time to time, we must never all discouragement to get a hold of us. There is a difference between you having discouragement and discouragement having you. When we are discouraged, you are still in control, but when discouragement has you, it has control. Listen, Child of God, we must not allow discouragement to get a hold in our lives. We must recognize it for what it is and deal with it through God’s Word and with God’s help under the leadership of the Holy Ghost.
Discouragement can be contagious. If you are around someone that is deeply discouraged they can discourage you if you are not prepared to deal with it. We cannot isolate ourselves from those that are discouraged, but we can insulate ourselves with the things of God that will protect us from it.
The people of Nehemiah’s time became discouraged. Nehemiah had to come to Jerusalem from exile on a mission. He felt that his mission was to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. His mission actually was a mandate from God. Nehemiah tells us that it was God that put into his heart to take the long journey to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. Upon arriving at Jerusalem he surveyed teh city; accessed the damage and put a plan of action into motion to rebuild the walls. He rallied the people together and told them what God had put in his heart and shared his vision with them and soon the work was under way. When they started there was excitement and enthusiasm, and what excitement and enthusiasm inspired the people to work very hard. But according to my text when the work was halfway done discouragement set in. Before the work was completed teh Bible says, “…the workers became tired.” They begin, no doubt, discussing the enormity of the task before them, saying, “There was so much rubble to be moved that we could never get it done by ourselves.” Plus, they had the threat of Sanballet and Tobiah and others who did not want to see the work completed.
But church isn’t that what always happens. We start doing something new and we are so filled with excitement and enthusiasm, but about half way through discouragement sets in. We start looking at what we are doing and it looks like we are making little or no progress. It seems that the more and the harder we work the less we accomplish. But I believe if we will carefully study the story of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem we can discover the causes for discouragement. But we not only want to discover some of the causes, we also want to deal with the cure as well.
1. Let’s deal with the causes of discouragement. The first cause is fatigue.
Look at the men of Nehemiah’s day and you will see this was part of the reason that they were discouraged. Notice what my text said in verse 6 and 10, “6 At last the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city, for the people had worked with enthusiasm. 10 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.”
Fatigue is the number one cause of discouragement. The men of Judah had worked hard, for a long extended period of time. They were physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. So discouragement set in, when the job was half finished they became discouraged.
The same thing happens to us when we become physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually drained. When those times come to us we need some rest. But how do you rest without leaving the work undone. There is a spiritual rest that will rejuvenate us mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, although we do need physical rest as well.
Matthew 11:28-29 NKJV – “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
I have noticed there is something about entering into rest with the Lord that it even rejuvenates us physically as well as spiritually, although we do need need good physical rest also. I believe that the best way to overcome discouragement is to get alone with Jesus so that He can give us that renewing and refreshing that we all need from time to time. Even Jesus took time out away from ministering with His disciples so that they could rest physically, in order to be rejuvenated.
Mark 6:31 NKJV – And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.
The secret to overcoming discouragement is still coming apart with Jesus in a quiet place so that He can rejuvenate and refresh you. For it is in those solitary times with the Lord that He can reveal Himself to us afresh so that His strength and encouragement can flow into us. Remember, He is the vine, and we are His branches. It is as we get alone with Him, and abide in Him that the strength of the vine can flow into us the branches so that we are nourished and strengthed.
2. Another thing that causes discouragement is frustration due to a loss of vision.
Notice what my text says, “The people of Juday 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.”
When the people started the work with Nehemiah of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem they had bought into the vision of Nehemiah. Excitement filled the air as they worked. I believe in their mind’s eye they could visualize the completed work. But now they were tired, and all they could see was the enormity of the job. There was so much rubble to be moved. They lost their vision and consequently lost their faith as was evident in what they said.
The cure for the cause of this discouragement is the same as the cure for the other. Get alone with the Lord, and get into the Word of God. And let the Lord, and His Word begin to lift your faith.
We become discouraged when we start looking at the size of the challenges before us, instead of looking at the power and strength, and greatness of our God. Oh church, let’s not look at the enormity of the problems we face, instead look at the greatness of our God.
Isaiah 66:1a NKJV – Thus says the LORD:“ Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool.”
Isaiah saw the greatness of God.
Nehemiah also saw the greatness of God, and it was because he never lost sight of His greatness that He was able to lead the people to complete the work that was started.
Nehemiah 9:6-12 NLT – 6 “You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship you. 7 “You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him from Ur of the Chaldeans and renamed him Abraham. 8 When he had proved himself faithful, you made a covenant with him to give him and his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites. And you have done what you promised, for you are always true to your word. 9 “You saw the misery of our ancestors in Egypt, and you heard their cries from beside the Red Sea. 10 You displayed miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, his officials, and all his people, for you knew how arrogantly they were treating our ancestors. You have a glorious reputation that has never been forgotten. 11 You divided the sea for your people so they could walk through on dry land! And then you hurled their enemies into the depths of the sea. They sank like stones beneath the mighty waters. 12 You led our ancestors by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night so that they could find their way.
The people for a time, due to the enormity of the challenge of rebuilding the walls and the threats of attack from Sanballet and Tobiah and others, lost sight of the vision and became discouraged. But thank God Nehemiah never lost sight of the greatness of God, which gave him the faith to keep going until the job was completed.
Oh church, when discouragement comes, get alone with God and His Word when you are down and discouraged. See His greatness and His awesomeness, and realize regardless of the challenges before us that we are on the winning side. Be encouraged that by His help and His grace we will overcome. Keep clinging to your vision, and never allow the devil to take it away.
CONCLUSION: I’m sure there are other causes of discouragement other than what I have mentioned. But the solution to our discouragement is always found in Him. Don’t lose heart; don’t lose faith. Keep believing; keep looking to Him. Get alone with Him and let Him pour life and strength and encouragement back into your life.