Let's Talk About Perseverance

by Paul Bonner

Every week you’ll find different types of posts here on the ABS blog. Today’s post is for teachers, to encourage conversation and reflection in your Bible study group. Each “Let’s Talk About” activity can be used at any time during your meeting and lasts approximately 10-15 minutes.

Today, let's talk about...

NO MATTER WHAT

 

Nehemiah 4:6-18

We continued to build the wall. All of it was joined together, and it reached half of its intended height because the people were eager to work.  But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the people of Ashdod heard that the work on the walls was progressing and the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to create a disturbance in it.

So we prayed to our God and set a guard as protection against them day and night.

10 But in Judah it was said,
        “The carrier’s strength is failing,
        for there is too much rubble.
            We are unable to rebuild the wall!”

11 Meanwhile, our enemies were saying: “Before they know or see anything, we can be in their midst and start to kill them. We’ll stop the work!”

12 Now the Jews who were living near them came and said to us again and again, “You must return to us!”

13 So I took up a position in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall in an open area. Then I stationed the people by families, and they had their swords, spears, and bows. 14 After reviewing this, I stood up and said to the officials, the officers, and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them! Remember that the Lord is great and awesome! Fight for your families, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses!”

15 Then our enemies heard that we had found out and that God had spoiled their plans. So we all returned to doing our own work on the wall. 16 But from that day on, only half of my workers continued in the construction, while the other half held the spears, shields, bows, and body armor. Meanwhile, the leaders positioned themselves behind the whole house of Judah, 17 who were building the wall. The carriers did their work with a load in one hand and a weapon in the other. 18 The builders built with swords fastened in their belts, and the trumpeter stayed by my side.

Key Passage:

After reviewing this, I stood up and said to the officials, the officers, and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them! Remember that the Lord is great and awesome! Fight for your families, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses!” Then our enemies heard that we had found out and that God had spoiled their plans. So we all returned to doing our own work on the wall. —Nehemiah 4:14-15

 

Commentary:

The work of rebuilding the wall progressed well because the people had set their hearts and minds on accomplishing the task. They did not lose their faith nor give up; instead they persevered. Accomplishing any large task can be tiring. There are always pressures that foster discouraging thoughts: The task seems impossible, it can never be finished, or too many factors are working against us. Nehemiah reminded the workers of their calling, their goal, and God’s protection.

 

Questions to Discuss:

Why was Nehemiah so determined to help the people rebuild the city wall?

As you read this Scripture, how many different issues can you identify that threatened the people’s success?

What kinds of situations are discouraging to you?

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