Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Causes of Discouragement

Scripture: Nehemiah 4:10-11         
Thus in Judah it was said, "The strength of the burden bearers is failing, Yet there is much rubbish; And we ourselves are unable To rebuild the wall." Our enemies said, "They will not know or see until we come among them, kill them and put a stop to the work."

Insights: Yesterday we looked at the source of this discouragement.  Today we are going to see what happens as a result of discouraging words.  There are four things we can see from these two verses.  First, discouragement causes a loss of strength.  They were halfway through the building of the wall and the newness had worn off.  Now the people started to feel the weight of the project and then these discouraging words were spoken and the people began to feel weak. Second, discouragement causes a loss of sight.  Notice where the people were looking: their focus had turned to all the rubbish on the ground.  If you think back to all the previous verses when external opposition arose, the people turned their focus to the Lord.  Now, however, they are acting like Peter when he was walking on the water and got his vision off of Jesus.  Their sight is down.  Third, discouragement causes a loss of surety.  They said they were unable to rebuild the wall.  Their confidence or sureness in their abilities was shattered by these discouraging words.  Interestingly, back in verse six, the Scriptures told us they people had a mind to work.  The Hebrew for mind in that verse literally meant heart.  The people had a heart to work is the way the Hebrew actually was written.  When all of this discouragement came on them, they lost their heart and in losing their heart they lost their confidence.  Finally, discouragement causes a loss of security.  They literally thought they were going to be killed any moment.  Their security had been taken off of the Lord and on their own abilities to defend themselves from physical altercations.  They, after all, had no security in their ability to defend themselves.  Discouragement is a debilitating thing.  We need to be very careful with whom we hang around and to whom we allow influence on our thoughts.  Once we begin to fall prey to such words and actions it is very hard to defend against it.  The wall obviously was stopped in its building program for a short time because Nehemiah had to deal with this situation.  It is better to preemptively deal with discouraging words before they lead to a loss of strength, sight, surety and security.

  1. Have you ever experienced one of the four causes of discouragement?
  2. Did you see those times as possible preparation for future growth in the Lord?
Prayer: Father, how many times in this life have I been discouraged?  I am so grateful You are able to use those times as maturing opportunities in my life.  Help me to be sensitive to Your guiding hand. Amen.

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