Overcoming Discouragement

Nehemiah chapter 4

(modified from the book "Slaying the Giants in your Life" by David Jeremiah 2001 by David Jeremiah)


All of us at different times have and will feel discouraged. It is a time when we have been trying our best but it seems that things are not working out the way we had hoped. We may find it difficult to keep going at our task or goal. We may even decide to give up and quit. In this study we will look at a time of discouragement in the life of Israel to learn from their example lessons we can use for our own situation.

Bible  Study of God's Word

As you go through this lesson, read the verses in the Bible to help you find the answers. Try reading the verses first in a Bible in your own language (Chinese) and then in an English version and writing down any questions you would like to ask later and   answers to these questions that follow.

Note: The Bible verse references below are linked to an English version of the Bible. If you would like to follow the Bible verse link, it would be good to "right click" on the Bible verse link and choose to open in new window  resized the window so that you can quickly go back and forth from this page to the verses.

Read  Nehemiah Chapter 4 and consider the following questions

Historical Background

In approximately 586 BC Jerusalem and the temple was destroyed by the Babylonians (present day Iraq and the people were scattered throughout the Babylonian empire. Then in 538 BC Babylon was conquered by another nation (present day Iran) and the new king allowed Jewish people  to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.  The rebuilding of the temple was completed in 516 BC (see book of Ezra in the Old Testament). Seventy one years later the Jews people became discouraged because although they had the temple built, the original walls around the city had not been rebuilt and they were feeling insecure about their defenses against hostile groups that lived all around them not unlike the situation in Israel today. A man named Nehemiah was lead by God to return to Jerusalem and to lead the people in the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem (see Nehemiah chapters 1-3).  After they had finish half the wall their enemies tried to discourage them so that they would not be able to complete the wall. In Chapter 4 we will see why the people were discouraged and then how they responded to their discouragement.

  1. Building block to discouragement

    1. What do you learn in Nehemiah 4:1-3 about the first signs of a cause for discouragement?

    2. How did they responded at this time (vv. 4-6)? How much of the job did they complete at this time?

    3. What was the response to the enemy to their success (vv. 7-8)?

    4. How did the workers responded this time to the enemies threats (v. 9)?

    5. We have been looking at external discouragement but in vv. 10-12 we learn of four internal sources of discouragement. What are they?


  2. Recognizing Sources of Discouragement

    From what we have learned from these verses above, that will help us to understand some of the causes of discouragement? Can you find find four causes?

    Now let us consider the lessons we can learn from this example to help us deal with discouragement.


  3. Responding to Discouragement

    1. When the people realized they were becoming discouraged and were considering quit, giving up on the task, what was the first thing they did (4:4-5, 9a)? Note in verse 9a the "a" refers to the first part of the verse and 9b refers to the second part of the verse as in question 2 below.

    2. What was the next thing they did in response (v. 6, 9b, 13)?

    3. Note that this response in v. 13 also lead to another potential source of discouragement (see also v. 19).  Because the wall was lower in some areas than the others the workers were focusing on rebuilding the more vulnerable areas of the wall. This resulted in the workers being isolated from each other. How did Nehemiah encourage the people when he realized this potential source of discouragement (vv. 14-15)?

    4. How could you today gain similar encouragement in times of discouragement? Here are some verses to consider (Psalm 46:1-3; Galatians 6:9).

    5. As we read on in Nehemiah 4:15-23, we see another source of encouragement. What was this source of encouragement (note particularly v. 22)?


  4. Personal Application


    1. What may be some sources of discouragement in your life?

    2. Some things we can not change but from our study, what are some things you can do to help us overcome or prevent discouragement?

    3. Are there others that you know who are discouraged? Is there something you can do to encourage them?