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“Hear Us O God, For We Are Despised.” – Nehemiah 4.1-23

Opening thought: ‘Abuse is the weapon of the vulgar.’ – C.S. Goodrich
Question: How do we deal with those who use vulgar tactics to threaten, ridicule, and subdue us?

A. Opposition Begins (4.1-3)
1. The opposition in chapter 4 is directly linked to the building activities in chapter 3.
2. The moment we are serious about doing God’s work, opposition may not be far away!
3. Sanballat was greatly incensed… then ridiculed the Jews using five taunting questions
4. Nehemiah’s first response is to PRAY (4.4-5)
5. Nehemiah’s next response is to WORK (4.6)

B. Opposition Intensifies (4.7-8)!
1. Note that there are many more enemies now.
2. They surround Jerusalem from north, south, east, and west!
3. They express collective anger to plot and fight Jerusalem.
4. Nehemiah’s response once again is PRAYER followed by WORK! (4.9)

C. The biggest challenge: internal discouragement due to fear (4.10-12)
1. The enemy’s propaganda was powerful
2. The weaker Jews started showing signs of panic and fear
3. Nehemiah’s response: he dealt with the root of fear by taking decisive action (4.13-23)

D. Concluding thoughts and applications

Questions for Bible-Study Discussion

1. “Abuse is the weapon of the vulgar” (S.G. Goodrich)
a. Do you agree with this statement? Why, or why not?
b. Share about a time when you suffered abuse. How did you feel? How did you emerge out of that situation? What did you learn about yourself from that experience?

2. Nehemiah used very strong language when he prayed against his enemies in verses 4-5.
a. Is there a place for such prayers today?
b. How can we offer prayers seeking vindication without being vindictive at the same time?

3. Nehemiah’s response to opposition was simple. First, he must pray (v 4-5). Then, he must work (v6). Another author has also said: “God’s people should always regard prayer not as a last resort but as our primary weapon against opposition.” (Breneman)
a. Share your thoughts on the quote above and on the way Nehemiah handled opposition.
b. Then share about a major opposition you have faced.
c. What were your ‘secrets’ to overcome that challenge?

4. Another reason why they were successful in rebuilding the wall is because of Nehemiah’s leadership.
a. Read through chapter 4 again to discover the leadership principles seen in Nehemiah. List them down and be ready to share with the group.
b. Is there one lesson on leadership you have learnt from him that is applicable in your life today? Share with the group so that all can be encouraged.

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