Discouragement, Nehemiah’s tale of woe #2

Discouragement, is universal and unfortunately reinforcing. Sometimes it takes the guise of silence, where you ask for some response and get none. For me that usually happens when I post things up on my blog or in flickr though it did happen at work as well.

However it happens it is always a sorrowful note. I find that it haunts me like a devil and makes me depressed, so if one is looking for a Christian response to discouragement where should one look? and how different is it from the secular (i.e. Napoleon Hill) one?  I decided I would find out.

Well for me I look to Nehemiah.

It is one of my favorite books in the Old Testament and it is Book 4,  that the problem of discouragement hits Governor Nehemiah from the mouths of  Sanballat the Horonite I
( or a native of Horonaim, one of the two Beth-horons ”upper and nether” mentioned in the OT book Joshua chapter 16 verses 3-5) and Tobiah the Ammonite ((from the Kingdom of Moab, worshippers of the god Malcom).

But the question arises, how does the King’s cup bearer end up in Judah.  So let’s back track…from the New Living Bible, my father’s favorite btw,  we catch a glimpse of Nehemiah the cupbearer to the King of Susa under the Pharoah Xerxes I.

Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan, (Rosh Shannah in the autumn marks the Hebrew new year, so we will say that this is about in October) during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I, Nehemiah,  was serving the king of Susa his wine.  I had never before appeared sad in his presence.

2So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.”  Then I was terrified, 3  but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”

4Then the king asked, “Well, how can I help you?”With a prayer to the God of heaven, 5 I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”

6The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request.

If you want to see the gates Nehemiah is talking about, click here.  So how does this have anything to do with discouragement?  These verses seem rather uplifting, right?  Well yes.  The mission starts off on the right foot.  All is well.  Enthusiasm is high and Nehemiah believes that God and the king are on his side.  How we can all identify with those happy beginning But..if we go on, to book #4 we see the problem, the problem that stops Nehemiah and totally throws a curve to lesser of men.

Bbut first let’s get some info on the  Egyptian Pharaoh’s and the Kings of Persia…We all know that ancient Judea (modern day Israel) was broken up into two kingdoms.  A northern half and a southern half.  Israel was the Northern kingdom, while Judah, where Nehemiah hails,  is the Southern Kingdom which is also considered the more loyal of the two.

Judah, is typically called the Lion of Judah, which  is considered by many to be referring to first, Moses’ heir apparent Joshua, and then the House of king David from which Our Lord and Savior comes is located there as well as Himself, the Lord.