Sunday Worship

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Series:  Nehemiah:  “Let’s Rebuild Together”  52 Days of Prayer

“Don’t Be Afraid”

Major Steven

Dear Family and Friends of Kitchener Community Church,

There is a lot of action happening in Nehemiah chapter four, verses one to fourteen. The workers are hard at it re-building the walls, with blood sweat and tears. However, the emotional and physical toil is starting to wear the people out. Can they really complete this grand enterprise?

Opposition has arisen and the people are questioning whether they should just give up?

The opposition to the re-building of the walls of Jerusalem is not the type of opposition we envision during contemporary building projects.

There were no regulations in Nehemiah’s time about having: building permits, geological surveys, parking regulations, access compliance, reduced noise levels, zoning bylaws or any other bylaw for that matter.

For the Jewish workers the reality of the opposition was there and it was intimidating. Sanballat, Tobiah, different interests groups and a standing Army intimidated the Jewish people and some of them frankly wanted to give up.

They said things like: ‘our strength is giving out, there is too much rubble to move, we fear for our lives, and wherever we turn they will attack us.’

The fear of moving on with this building project in this story from Nehemiah is very similar to the fear that we feel when we come into difficulty and opposition in our times. This can stem from health issues, family dynamics, work or school conflicts, disastrous global events or even the day to day realities of life.

Without any intervention this can cause us to contemplate just giving up or saying to ourselves, ‘what’s the use.’

Nehemiah gives great words of encouragement for his workers that are just as important for us today. He says to his people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord who is great and awesome…” v.14

When we look at our problems they seem to be overwhelming and immobilizing. Nehemiah is telling his workers and us to lift our eyes, to move them from our problems to the source of our strength in times of trouble. Nehemiah tells us not to be afraid and gives us reasons not to be afraid.

This reminds me of the song: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.” Let us turn from sources of despair to our Great and awesome God who wants to share our burdens.

Blessings on your week, your friend Steven