I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the statement which says “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong”. It’s been termed Murphey’s Law and I’ve found it too be true several times in my life – not always – but enough times to realize that there is some truth to it. And it is often when you are trying to do something good that everything seems to go wrong. Like when you are determined to make that perfect supper but then you forget to turn off the stove and you end up eating bread and peanut butter instead. Or when you try to make castor pudding for some special, invited guests and it ends up as smoking heaps of burnt lumps mixed with milk.
The fact is doing something good is never easy. Sometimes you stretch your hand to love someone, only to have your hand bitten and your love seemingly rejected. Sometimes you determine in your heart to give your all and do good in God’s name, only to find yourself opposed by Satan, hated by the world and betrayed by your own weaknesses.
Nehemiah found out this bitter truth after his brother Hanani had told him that the walls in Jerusalem lay in shameful ruins. God moved his heart to rebuild them, but Nehemiah was met by seemingly endless trouble in his every attempt to do what he called this “good work” in chapter 2:18.
Similarly, God has called us to do his work. But like Nehemiah’s experience, and that of life in general, the work that God has given you to do has endless opposition. Therefore it takes courage in order to do God’s work in spite of the difficulties. And that courage rises from faith in God’s good hand being upon you to help you succeed.
But first, we must understand the work itself, and it is a good work, which is our first point this morning.