(My notes from FBC Ruston, Dr. Chris' effort)
DEALING WITH SKUNKS
Neh 2: 4 and 6
Human Skunks put out toxins who that have negative affects on others; we all have skunk tendencies...
Nehemiah faced skunks as he attempted to follow God's vision for him
I. Skunks M.O.
1. DON'T WANT GOOD THINGS TO HAPPEN
Neh 2:10 --
Sanbalat -- gov of Samaria
Tabiah -- gov of Ammon
These are leaders in the area around Jerusalem who were opposing Nehemiah
* Some people just don't want good things to happen
2. SKUNKS LOVE OTHER SKUNKS
Geshem is another governor of a nearby area
* Misery loves company
* Skunks band together
* Jesus hung around the worst of society, but his closest friends were God followers
3. SKUNKS RIDICULE AND ACCUSE OTHERS OF THE WORST
2:19 and 4: 1-3 Nehemiah moced and ridiculed
* Ridicule is the weapon people use when they have no other weapon
* Skunks also use slander (v 19 in Chapter 2) "Are you rebelling against the king..?!"
Neh 4: 7-8 "...they plotted to stir up trouble..."
* Expect ridicule if you want to move forward with God -- your motives will be challenged
* it's a dangerous to challenge someone's heart
* words DO hurt ... expect ridicule
4. SKUNKS LOVE DISCOURAGEMENT
v. 4: 10-12
Jewish people are surrounded by people / kings discouraging them as they work toward God's vision; this is serious...
II. WHY DO PEOPLE "SKUNK"?
1. THEIR PAST
Ezra 4: 1-3 describes when these same kings in this story asked Exra if they could help him rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and Exra said no, probably because the kings wished to uhndermine his efforts or take credit.
2. ARROGANCE: most negative people think theyr'e smarter than everyone else
3. SELFISHNESS: Surrounding kings controlled the area, and a strong Jerusalem would hurt them economically -- "Hell hath no fury like a skunk scorned."
4. REAL HEART ISSUES: We all have sinful natures that muse be replace with a God nature
Matthew 12:35 .. "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." ... Which nature do we feed?
1 Cor 10:8-11 "We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come."
God challenges us to go through life not as a skunk, but more like Nehemiah, loyal and courageous