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Showing Revision 17 created 10/17/2019 by Colin Preston.

  1. ♪ theme music ♪
  2. (Derek) Welcome to Hope Sabbath School,
  3. an in-depth, interactive study
  4. of the Word of God.
  5. We are studying about
    two great men of God,
  6. Ezra and Nehemiah, one a priest,
  7. another a government official
  8. and lessons that we
  9. will apply to our lives today.
  10. Our topic today: Facing Opposition.
  11. It wasn't just back then,
  12. but every woman of God,
  13. every man of God, who's willing
  14. to be available to God today
  15. will face opposition.
  16. How do we deal with that
  17. in a way that makes us stronger
  18. and closer to God and even a blessing
  19. in the midst of the opposition?
  20. That's what we'll look at.
  21. We're glad you joined us
  22. for Hope Sabbath School.
  23. What a great series,
  24. and I'm glad that you're with us.
  25. How many of you here
  26. have experienced opposition
  27. at some point in your life?
  28. Yeah, right, but what Jesus says
  29. is when you suffer
    for righteousness' sake,
  30. so we're talking about opposition
  31. because we're doing what God
    wants us to do
  32. and not because we're
  33. just doing our own thing.
  34. We believe that we are
  35. going to learn some lessons today.
  36. We're glad you're with us.
  37. Oh, I forgot to tell you
  38. about our awesome app.
  39. I should open up my phone here,
  40. go to the Hope Channel app.
  41. You can go right there;
  42. you can choose whatever show.
  43. Here's Hope Sabbath School.
  44. There's one of my favorite participants,
    Travis, right there,
  45. and there's Heide right there
    on the screen.
  46. Heide, you're right here today.
  47. So, right there you can get
  48. lots of powerful insights.
  49. You can choose different languages,
  50. if you'd like to listen
  51. in other languages.
  52. Lots of other Bible-based programming
  53. besides Hope Sabbath School.
  54. Go to the App Store or to Google Play.
  55. You can download the free
    Hope Channel app;
  56. it really is amazing.
  57. We had a simple one
  58. that we built a little while back that was
  59. in 150 countries around the world.
  60. This one is, like, turbo, okay?
  61. It's, like, super-awesome.
  62. So, if you haven't downloaded it,
    get our new app.
  63. And talking about reaching
  64. different parts of the world,
  65. this is our first email
  66. from the island of Ukerewe,
  67. which is the largest inland island
  68. on the continent of Africa.
  69. Yes, it's in Lake Victoria.
  70. The country is Tanzania,
  71. and Baraka writes to us.
  72. He says, "I'm 43 years old,
  73. living on the island of Ukerewe,
  74. and I am following
  75. Hope Sabbath School every day."
  76. (Team) Amen!
  77. (Derek) By the way, I looked up Ukerewe
  78. because I didn't know anything about it.
  79. It is also a sanctuary for albinos
  80. because in some cultures
    they're persecuted
  81. because they're albino,
  82. and that apparently is a refuge,
  83. the island of Ukerewe.
  84. "Be blessed, everyone in the class,
    really blessed.
  85. God bless us all. Amen."
  86. (Team) Amen.
  87. (Derek) Well, Baraka, thanks for writing.
  88. We really are excited to know -
  89. we're going to go Google
  90. on our phones or computers
  91. and find the island of Ukerewe,
  92. which is your home.
  93. Cynthia writes to us from Michigan
  94. in the United States of America.
  95. Wait, Jason, aren't you from Michigan?
  96. Would you like to wave to Cynthia?
  97. "I am not a Seventh-day Adventist
    Christian,
  98. but I enjoy your programs on Hope Channel,
  99. especially Hope Sabbath School."
  100. (Team) Amen.
  101. (Derek) "Your teaching
  102. is directly from the Bible."
  103. (Team) Amen.
  104. (Derek) That's it, right?
  105. "Where I previously lived,
  106. I attended a Baptist church.
  107. There are only a few differences,
  108. but I am pleased to see
  109. that we all worship the same God,
  110. and we love Him and Jesus Christ
    our Savior."
  111. (Team) Amen.
  112. (Derek) "Actually, I watch
  113. a few Christian programs;
  114. it's very uplifting that the Word of God
  115. is still being broadcast on television."
  116. (Team) Amen.
  117. (Derek) "We can make good choices
  118. about what we watch," writes Cynthia,
  119. and we would agree, right?
  120. (Team) Amen. Yes.
  121. (Derek) And I'm so glad
  122. that you wrote to us, Cynthia,
    from Michigan,
  123. and you're right; we can choose,
  124. and we're glad you're part
  125. of our Hope Sabbath School family.
  126. Here's a note from some donors, a couple.
  127. They say, "We're celebrating
  128. the continued blessings from the Lord."
  129. This is from the state of South Dakota.
  130. "We wish to share a small portion
    with you.
  131. You and all of the Hope
    Sabbath School team
  132. are a large part of our lives.
  133. We start each Sabbath
  134. watching Hope Sabbath School."
  135. (Team) Amen!
  136. (Derek) "Thank you for all you've done
  137. and continue to do.
  138. May we glorify the Lord
  139. until His soon return,"
  140. and a gift of 2,000 dollars
  141. to help the ministry
  142. of Bible-based programming
  143. for the world, right?
  144. And thank you, a donor-supported ministry;
  145. we appreciate each one
  146. who partners with us.
  147. Justina writes a short note
  148. to us from the Bahamas,
  149. and Justina says, "Thank you, team,
  150. for your continuous explanation
  151. and exploration of the Word of God."
  152. (Team) Amen.
  153. (Derek) "God is using Hope Sabbath School
  154. to bring much light to the viewers."
  155. And we say praise God, right?
  156. One last note...Oh, I was excited
  157. to receive this one
  158. from a pastor in Nebraska
  159. in the United States of America.
  160. Pastor Doyle writes to us;
  161. Doyle is his first name.
  162. "I am a senior pastor,
  163. Bible and Sunday school teacher,
  164. and I look forward to watching
  165. Hope Sabbath School every day."
  166. (Team) Amen!
  167. (Derek) "I thoroughly enjoy
  168. the straightforward, interactive,
    no-nonsense teaching of the Bible.
  169. I love the perspectives of the team.
  170. I pray the Lord's continued blessings
  171. and success on you.
  172. I live in Omaha; I've been
  173. searching religious programming
  174. for the unadulterated gospel.
  175. I've grown weary of programs.
  176. While searching, though,
  177. I came across Hope Sabbath School,
  178. and the Holy Spirit
  179. quickened my desire to watch."
  180. (Team) Amen.
  181. (Derek) "I was so impressed
  182. with the clear, concise teachings
  183. and the interactive discussion.
  184. I'm a Baptist pastor, and my joy
  185. is teaching the Word of God.
  186. My preaching style is didactic,
  187. so you know while watching
  188. Hope Sabbath School, I'm in heaven.
  189. I now watch Hope Sabbath School
  190. six days a week, and I'm
    looking forward to it.
  191. May God continue to pour out His blessings
  192. on you and the Hope Sabbath School team."
  193. God bless you, Pastor.
  194. Thank you for writing to us from Nebraska.
  195. Isn't it exciting, from an island
    in Lake Victoria
  196. to a pastor in Nebraska,
  197. God is touching hearts.
  198. We'd love to hear from you
  199. wherever you live on planet Earth.
  200. I suppose we could get an email
  201. from off the planet, too,
  202. but sshope@hopetv.org.
  203. It really brings us joy, doesn't it?
  204. We're all volunteers; you're donating.
  205. I was a volunteer for seven years,
  206. and then they made me the president
  207. of the global television network.
  208. But we come here together
  209. because we believe in the mission. Amen?
  210. And we're glad you're part of it, too.
  211. Right now we need your help to sing.
  212. We're going to sing our theme song
    from Psalm 25.
  213. "To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
  214. O my God, I trust in You."
  215. Let's sing it together.
  216. ♪ music ♪
  217. (Derek) Three thousand years ago
  218. the psalmist sang that;
  219. it was a different tune,
  220. but I'm sure some day he'll say,
  221. "I know the words to that song,"
  222. written by the Holy Spirit,
  223. and we just found another tune.
  224. But it's beautiful, isn't it?
  225. I think it would have been
  226. a good song for Ezra and Nehemiah,
  227. "Let not my enemies triumph over me,"
  228. because they were facing opposition.
  229. We want to study about that
  230. and what it would mean for us
  231. as women of God/men of God
  232. in the last days of Earth's history,
  233. trying to be faithful
  234. to what God's called us to do,
  235. answering His call or His appeal
  236. and experiencing some opposition.
  237. Let's pray; Father in Heaven,
  238. lessons for us today from Your Word.
  239. Be our Teacher by Your Holy Spirit.
  240. And we thank You and praise You.
  241. In Jesus' name. Amen.
  242. (Team) Amen.
  243. (Derek) Well, we're going to start
  244. at Ezra, chapter 4,
  245. as Ezra and the wave...
  246. Is this the first wave
  247. of exiles returning, Ezra?
  248. First wave? Yes or no. No.
  249. First wave was Zerubbabel, right, in 538,
  250. and now we're in 457
  251. or thereabouts, right?
  252. So that's about 80 years or so.
  253. Second wave going back,
  254. and there's been some opposition
  255. in the first wave;
  256. now we're in the second wave,
  257. Ezra going back, chapter 4, verses 1 to 5.
  258. Liza, would you begin our study?
  259. And why do you think the Jewish exiles
  260. who return to Jerusalem
  261. refuse to allow other people
  262. to help them rebuild the temple?
  263. (Liza) I'll be reading
  264. from the New King James Version:
  265. (Derek) So Ezra is actually writing
  266. history about something that happened
  267. when Zerubbabel brought the first wave
  268. of exiles back, right?
  269. And when they come back,
  270. apparently some local people
  271. said, "We'll help you."
  272. First thing they wanted to do
  273. was to rebuild the temple.
  274. Later they are going
  275. to rebuild the walls, right
    (first the temple).
  276. Why does Zerubbabel, Jeshua, or Joshua,
  277. and those who came back,
  278. why did they refuse help?
  279. You say, "I thought we'd need
  280. all the help we could get." Heide?
  281. (Heide) I was wondering
  282. the same thing when I read it.
  283. I was like, "What? What in the world?"
  284. It sounds like they're saying,
  285. "We worship the same God,
  286. and we want to come and help you."
  287. Why would they reject him?
  288. Reject them, I'm sorry.
  289. So I inquired a little more,
  290. and I found from an author
  291. that she mentioned that they had
  292. already fallen into disobedience
  293. as a result of mixing
  294. with surrounding countries and tribes,
  295. and that had led them
  296. into a state of apostasy and disobedience.
  297. And they were trying to avoid doing that,
  298. that there was actually wisdom in this,
  299. that they saw this as a ploy of the enemy
  300. to lead them away from obedience to God,
  301. which is what got them
  302. into that position to start with,
  303. "and we want to do everything we can
    to avoid that."
  304. And then the way that they react
  305. shows that they were right.
  306. (Derek) Ah, that's right.
  307. Even if you didn't know
  308. all of that background,
  309. which is quite interesting;
  310. that's the "rest of the story."
  311. All you need to do is read how they react
  312. in the next few verses, right? Puia?
  313. (Puia) From the description
  314. of their name itself here,
  315. Ezra used "adversaries;"
    they can't be friends.
  316. (Derek) But he may not
  317. have known that immediately, right?
  318. It may have taken a little time
    to see that,
  319. but you've got here,
  320. as soon as they don't get their way,
  321. they show their true colors.
  322. (Marcus) They discourage, and then they
  323. try to bring trouble to them
    as they're building.
  324. (Derek) They hire counselors
  325. against them to frustrate them.
  326. So they're using deception.
  327. They're not coming, saying,
  328. "We're your enemies.
  329. We've gone into apostasy,
  330. and we're trying to hinder your work."
  331. Does that strategy of deception
  332. remind you of anybody else? Stephanie.
  333. (Stephanie) In the Garden of Eden
  334. with Adam and Eve
  335. when Satan came to deceive.
  336. (Derek) And says, "Eat this fruit;
  337. it will kill you, and it will
  338. cause misery to all of your descendants."
  339. That would have been the truth, right?
  340. "But you'll be like God.
  341. You'll be wise like God.
  342. Your eyes will be opened."
  343. Can you think of any other times
  344. that Satan....This is deception,
  345. and the real enemy, again,
  346. is not these people
  347. but Satan and his kingdom behind.
  348. Can you think of other times
  349. when Satan uses deception
  350. to try to lead people astray? Gladys?
  351. (Gladys) I think of Solomon
  352. when he was being king.
  353. God had already promised him
  354. that he will be wise
  355. and that He will be with him.
  356. And yet he married all these women
  357. because he was afraid that these kingdoms
  358. will reunite against him.
  359. He tried to do it his way,
  360. so it was kind of like the devil
  361. trying to influence what God
  362. had already prescribed to be good,
    for something evil.
  363. So he aligned himself with these women
  364. that, at the end, just departed his heart
  365. from the plan of God.
  366. (Derek) And maybe the enemy said
  367. to Solomon, "Build some temples
  368. just to keep your wives happy."
  369. He's not saying, "And you can
  370. commit apostasy, too,
  371. and you can worship false gods."
  372. But you're absolutely right,
  373. it did turn his heart away.
  374. That's an example.
  375. Someone else, another example. Pedro?
  376. (Pedro) I would say Jesus
  377. when He was tempted by Satan.
  378. He didn't come, like, "Oh, I'm Satan.
  379. You're in my territory; get out of here."
  380. No, no, "Make some bread
    out of this rock."
  381. And we can see this here
  382. that they're trying to trick them
  383. because if they helped,
  384. it would also give them the opportunity
  385. to say, "Well, since we built,
  386. we want to bring our gods
    into your temple now."
  387. (Derek) Ah, "We helped build the temple,
  388. so we want a room for our gods."
    Okay, Travis?
  389. (Travis) I think of Balaam.
  390. You know, the story where he gets paid
  391. to go and trick or cast a spell for money.
  392. And that's just how Satan works.
  393. He wants to make things look attractive,
  394. but yet their's deception in it.
  395. (Derek) So, how can we avoid
  396. that kind of deception?
  397. We're talking about wanting
  398. to, in this day, be faithful to God.
  399. We're going to experience opposition.
  400. How can we be alert, Jason, when people
  401. seem to be friendly and helpful,
  402. but there's actually deception at work?
  403. (Jason) Thinking of Pedro's reference
  404. to Jesus' temptations,
  405. Jesus responded with, "It is written."
  406. He went right back to Scripture.
  407. So, knowing the Scriptures
  408. and being able quote the Scriptures
  409. is a very powerful tool against deception.
  410. (Derek) Okay. Anybody else? Yes, Gladys?
  411. (Gladys) I wouldn't say just quote
    the Scripture,
  412. but having that relationship with God
  413. when the Word is living in you.
  414. Then you will be able
  415. to recognize any counterfeit.
  416. Because somebody who works in a bank,
  417. they don't study every counterfeit money
    that comes out.
  418. They just spend time
  419. recognizing and knowing the real money,
  420. so when counterfeit comes,
  421. they recognize it right away.
  422. So should we, when we study
    the Word of God,
  423. it becomes part of our daily lives.
  424. So, when something like that comes,
  425. it will be easier to recognize.
  426. (Derek) So let's look at another aspect,
  427. another attempt at deception
  428. in Ezra, chapter 5, with someone
  429. by the name of Tattenai, governor
  430. of the region beyond the Euphrates.
  431. Puia, if you could take us
  432. to Ezra, chapter 5,
  433. let's hear the story
  434. in verses 8 through 17.
  435. Now, this is kind of an official
  436. wanting to use deception
  437. to hinder the work of God.
  438. (Puia) And I'll be reading
  439. from the New King James Version,
  440. Ezra, chapter 5, verses 8 through 17:
  441. (Derek) Why is he writing this letter?
  442. He has no connection with the building
  443. of the house of God.
  444. (Stephanie) Stir up trouble.
  445. (Derek) What's he trying to do, Stephanie?
  446. (Stephanie) Stir up trouble.
  447. (Derek) Is he hoping that they
  448. won't be able to find the record,
  449. or check the records and see
  450. if it's actually what they're saying?
  451. (Marcus) Right, yeah, he's trying
  452. to hinder the work as well.
  453. He's a government official,
  454. but he's, like, on the other side
    of the river.
  455. And so he's trying to kind of spy
  456. and say, "As an official,
  457. what are you doing here,
  458. and why are you building here?
  459. Who has given you authority
    to build here?"
  460. And sometimes when we face opposition,
  461. it's hard to come back and stand and say,
  462. "By the word of our God,
  463. we are here doing His work."
  464. That's not always easy to say,
  465. especially in the face of somebody
  466. who may be in authority over us.
  467. (Derek) So, how do you think
  468. that the people of God responded
  469. to that letter that was sent back
    to the king? Panic?
  470. (Travis) Prayer.
  471. (Derek) Prayer, "Okay, Lord,
  472. You guided, You worked miraculously
  473. to convince the king to make the decree.
  474. You need to work miraculously
  475. in this deceptive work that this governor
  476. is trying to accomplish."
  477. Let's see what happens.
  478. Laurel, could you read for us
  479. in chapter 6, verses 11 and 12.
  480. Actually, King Darius sends
  481. a warning back to this governor
  482. in chapter 6 of Ezra, verses 11 and 12.
  483. (Laurel) I'll be reading
  484. from the New American Standard Bible:
  485. (Derek) What's the takeaway lesson?
  486. (Heide) That backfired.
  487. (Derek) For those of you who didn't hear,
  488. Heide said, "That kind of sneaky plot
  489. of Tattenai backfired."
  490. And the king basically said,
  491. "Anyone who opposes what I have ordered,
  492. let a timber be pulled out of his house,
  493. made into a gallows or hanged, mine says.
  494. Yours says "impaled on it,
  495. and his house turned into a heap."
  496. In other words, God is able to use, again,
  497. a, can I call him a pagan monarch?
  498. And yet somehow God's at work
  499. in that man's heart, right,
  500. to hinder the deceptions
  501. and the plotting of the enemy. Puia?
  502. (Puia) I'm reminded of a verse
    in Proverbs.
  503. I forgot where, but the principle
  504. is there that says that when you try
  505. to set a trap for someone,
  506. it comes back to you.
  507. (Derek) You can become caught
    in your own trap?
  508. (Puia) Yeah, caught in your own trap.
  509. So I think what this person here,
    the governor, is trying to do
  510. is set a trap for the people of God,
  511. intentionally tried to set a trap.
  512. And that can backfire, like Heide said.
  513. So we can learn the lesson there
  514. that, even today, if someone
  515. is trying to set a trap,
  516. they better make sure that they are
  517. doing it for the right reason.
  518. (Derek) And we don't rejoice
  519. that he got caught in his own trap,
  520. but we do rejoice that God
  521. delivered His people, right?
  522. (Travis) This reminds me
  523. of the story of Mordecai and Haman;
    it really does.
  524. (Derek) Oh, yes.
  525. (Travis) I mean, there's such a direct...
  526. (Derek) And actually that's happening...
  527. (Travis) In the same time, yeah.
  528. (Derek) ...same time period.
  529. (Travis) The same thing happens,
  530. only it turns out really bad for Haman.
  531. (Derek) He really is hanged on the gallows
  532. he prepared to hang
  533. one of God's ambassadors, right,
    Mordecai.
  534. So, yeah, there are some powerful lessons.
  535. Well, in the midst of these oppositions,
  536. tricks, traps, scheming,
  537. God sends some prophets
  538. to encourage His people.
  539. So let's look in Ezra, chapter 5,
  540. the first two verses,
  541. and we'll see what message
  542. these prophets bring.
  543. Ezra, chapter 5, Jason, first two verses,
  544. are these prophets, whose names
    you recognize?
  545. Let's see what they say.
  546. (Jason) I'll be reading
  547. from the New King James Version,
  548. Ezra, chapter 5, verses 1 and 2:
  549. (Derek) Now, it doesn't tell them,
    exactly, here,
  550. what they prophesied,
  551. but what was the response to the prophecy?
  552. "Go to work," "Let's go and build," right?
  553. So the prophecy must have been
  554. somewhat related to, "No weapon
  555. that's fashioned against you
    will prosper," right?
  556. "You need to keep doing
  557. what God has asked you to do."
  558. (Travis) It's amazing to me,
  559. as we finish reading in verse 2,
  560. that the prophets of God
    were there helping them.
  561. You know, being a messenger
  562. doesn't mean just being a voice.
  563. It means getting your hands dirty as well,
  564. getting in there and being involved
    in the work.
  565. (Derek) So, helping them,
  566. not just by prophesying,
  567. but actually construction?
  568. (Travis) Right, laboring.
  569. (Derek) Yes, Marcus.
  570. (Marcus) And also encouragement.
  571. The biggest thing is that they were
  572. raised up at a time when God
  573. knew and saw that His people
  574. were kind of depressed, kind of low,
  575. that outside forces were trying
  576. to stop them from completing the work.
  577. And also, too, they were
  578. kind of a little bit resting
    on their laurels.
  579. So God is like, "Come on,
  580. get back to work, get back to work."
  581. That's kind of what they're saying, too.
  582. (Derek) Do you recognize those names,
    Haggai and Zechariah?
  583. (Team) Yes.
  584. (Derek) So, let's go to the book
  585. that bears Haggai's name, chapter 1,
  586. and we'll read there
  587. a specific message from God
  588. that was delivered to Zerubbabel
    by the prophet.
  589. Travis, would you read,
  590. starting in chapter 1,
  591. verses 1 through 11.
  592. What's the message that God
  593. brings to Zerubbabel?
  594. (Travis) And I'll be reading
  595. from the New King James Version:
  596. (Derek) What's the Lord saying
    through the prophet?
  597. In one sentence, yes, Puia.
  598. (Puia) The lack of prosperity
    in their land
  599. is because they have been neglecting
  600. to put God's interests first.
  601. (Derek) So, put God first.
  602. "Seek first the Kingdom," Jesus said,
  603. and the other things you need...?
  604. (Team) Shall be added unto you.
  605. (Derek) Will be added to you.
  606. So basically, and that's why we know
  607. they got up and started building,
  608. he was saying, "That's what you need
    to be doing."
  609. Well, let's see how they responded,
  610. at least according
  611. to Prophet Haggai's report.
  612. Marcus, could you continue reading
  613. in Haggai, chapter 1,
  614. verses 12 through 15?
  615. (Marcus) Sure, and I'll be reading
  616. from the King James Version:
  617. (Derek) In other words,
  618. when they determined -
  619. this is an important life principle -
  620. when they determined that they would obey
  621. what God asked them to do,
  622. what did God do for them?
  623. He what? He stirred up?
  624. What does that mean,
  625. "stirred up their spirits"?
  626. (Gladys) Encouraged them.
  627. (Derek) He encouraged them, right?
  628. He gave them a...?
  629. (Marcus) Renewed vigor.
  630. (Derek) A renewed vigor, thank you,
  631. to say, "You know what?
  632. With God, we can do this.
  633. We're going to do what God
  634. has asked us to do."
  635. But it was a response
  636. to a word of...I don't know
  637. if "rebuke" is the right word,
  638. but it was like, "Hey, you're
  639. a little bit distracted building
  640. your condominiums here," right,
  641. "while My house is in ruins."
  642. And that's not just saying,
  643. "I want My house before yours."
  644. It's saying, "What's your
  645. top priority in life?"
  646. Can you think of a time in your life
  647. when God sent a Word
  648. to you through a prophet,
  649. and probably it will be a prophet
  650. who has written something down, right -
  651. God could still call a person to give you
  652. a prophetic Word, too, I suppose -
  653. but when God kind of redirected
  654. your course through His Word,
  655. and as you look back
  656. you thank Him for that.
  657. Anybody, can you think
    about a time? Billy.
  658. (Billy) So, as you know, it was like
  659. the recent elections that happened
  660. in the United States...
  661. (Derek) We're evergreen here,
  662. so we don't know about recent elections,
  663. but go ahead and share your story.
  664. (Billy) So, my personal story
  665. is that I was struggling
  666. with the person who got elected,
  667. and I felt sometimes a resentment.
  668. And then God sent me a Word in Matthew 5,
  669. talking about loving your enemies.
  670. And that was very radical,
  671. because it was somebody
  672. that I felt like was going
  673. the opposite direction in terms
  674. of encouraging hate,
  675. and now God is asking me
  676. to add that person to my prayer list.
  677. (Derek) So, if a person is watching
  678. from Venezuela or they're watching
  679. from the continent of Africa,
  680. they're going to apply that
  681. to their own situation.
  682. What if a leader comes into power
  683. that I don't like, you know?
  684. I may live in Thailand or I may live,
  685. just, you know, they may have a new king,
  686. or they may have a new president
    or prime minister,
  687. and you're saying that the Spirit of God
  688. said to you, "You need to pray
    for that person."
  689. (Billy) Especially in Matthew 5,
  690. talking about, you know,
  691. we need to pray for our enemies.
  692. (Derek) "Love your enemies,
  693. bless those who curse you," yeah.
  694. (Billy) Exactly, so...
  695. (Derek) Do good to those
  696. who spitefully use you, right?
  697. So, okay, that was a lesson
    that you learned
  698. in that experience. Gladys?
  699. (Gladys) Yes, a while ago
  700. I was called to teach kindergarten,
  701. and I was teaching upper graders,
  702. and I didn't feel like I could do it.
  703. And I cried and fought with God.
  704. I was saying, "I don't want to do it."
  705. But God kept insisting in my heart
  706. that that's where He wanted me to be.
  707. And the words of Jeremiah 33:3
  708. gave me encouragement
  709. where He said, "Call unto Me,
  710. and I will answer, and I will show you
  711. great and mighty things
  712. that you don't know."
  713. And those words just,
  714. like, changed my heart
  715. in a position that now
  716. I wouldn't see myself, you know...
  717. I look back and say, "Wow."
  718. God really made a change,
  719. not only in my life
  720. but the direction that I was going."
  721. (Derek) That's one of my wife's
    favorite passages
  722. from Jeremiah, by the way, Jeremiah 33:3.
  723. And for those of you watching the program
  724. or those on the team that couldn't see,
  725. Gladys did not read that; it's inside.
  726. She quoted it, "Call to Me,
  727. and I will answer you,
  728. and show you great and mighty things,
  729. which you do not know."
  730. So, that Word was in her heart.
  731. Now, the question is,
  732. just to help with the story,
  733. did you know that Word
  734. before He brought it to your remembrance?
  735. (Gladys) Of course.
  736. (Derek) Why do you say, "Of course"?
  737. Was that useful that that Word was in her?
  738. (Gladys, Team) Yes.
  739. (Derek) Absolutely, right,
  740. because the Holy Spirit
  741. brought it to her remembrance, Abigail,
  742. you're absolutely right.
  743. If it's not there, He can't
  744. bring it to your remembrance, all right?
  745. So that became a Word to you,
    an encouraging Word.
  746. Someone else, where God
  747. brought a Word to you?
  748. You didn't have the live prophet,
  749. Jeremiah, because he sleeps
  750. until the Resurrection Day, right?
  751. But through the written testimony
    of Jeremiah,
  752. that Word came to you. Okay, Travis?
  753. (Travis) Through my walk
  754. coming back to God,
  755. you know, sometimes you stumble and fall,
  756. and you make mistakes.
  757. And I would always be reminded,
  758. the Holy Spirit would bring
  759. 1 John, chapter 2, verse 1.
  760. "My [brethren], I write
  761. these things to you that you
    may not sin."
  762. "My little children," he says,
  763. "that you may not sin,
  764. but if you do, you have an Advocate
    with the Father."
  765. (Derek) And that's Jesus Christ
    the righteous One, right?
  766. (Travis) Jesus Christ the righteous.
  767. And then it would just remind me
  768. that I need to go back
  769. to the foot of the cross,
  770. and then another verse would come
    into my head,
  771. "Thy word have I hid in my heart,
  772. that I might not sin against Thee."
  773. And the Holy Spirit's encouraged me,
  774. "Hide the Word of God in your heart.
  775. Hide the Word of God in your heart,"...
  776. (Derek) And right before 1 John
  777. about, "I pray that you
  778. would not sin, little children,"
  779. right before that, in chapter 1, says,
  780. "If we confess our sins..."
  781. (Team) He is faithful...
  782. (Derek) "He is faithful and just
    to forgive us, and to..."?
  783. (Team) Cleanse us.
  784. (Derek) "Cleanse us from all
    unrighteousness."
  785. So that word comes as an encouragement.
  786. And apparently Zerubbabel
  787. and Joshua the high priest and others
  788. needed a little encouragement,
  789. and God sent the prophets.
  790. The lesson that I'm learning is,
  791. if we listen to the prophets
  792. during the times of ease and calm times,
  793. then when we really need that Word,
  794. the Holy Spirit will bring it back to us.
  795. Well, we're going to hyperspace
    to Nehemiah now;
  796. we're around 444 B.C.,
  797. and we're going to go
  798. to chapter 4 of Nehemiah.
  799. All the way through Nehemiah,
  800. he's going to experience opposition,
  801. but I'd like to look specifically
    at chapter 4
  802. and see how he responded
    to the opposition
  803. while he clearly knew
  804. he was doing the work of God.
  805. Stephanie, could you read
  806. the first three verses for us,
  807. and then I'll have someone else
  808. continue from verse 4.
  809. (Stephanie) All right, and I'm reading
  810. from the King James Version:
  811. (Derek) These enemies,
  812. what are they doing?
  813. (Team) Mocking.
  814. (Derek) They're mocking; is that all?
  815. (Stephanie) Trying to discourage.
  816. (Derek) Yeah, they're trying
    to discourage, trying to...?
  817. (Team Member) Undermine.
  818. (Derek) Undermine, intimidate, right?
  819. Let's see, Heide, how Nehemiah responds,
  820. verses 4 and 5 of chapter 4.
  821. (Heide) I'll be reading
  822. from the New King James Version,
    and it says:
  823. (Derek) In other words,
  824. to use the language
  825. of our earlier conversation,
    let them be...?
  826. (Gladys) Caught in their own trap.
  827. (Derek) Caught in their own trap, right?
  828. "We're doing what You wanted us to do."
  829. But notice again, intimidation, mocking,
  830. and what's Nehemiah's first response?
  831. (Team) Prayer.
  832. (Derek) Right? Call out to God.
  833. Next verse, Travis, could you
    read verse 6?
  834. (Travis) And I'll be reading
  835. from the New King James Version:
  836. (Derek) God gave them encouragement,
  837. and they said, "We're not going to worry
  838. about these people opposing us;
  839. they'll be caught in their own trap.
  840. And they continued to make progress.
  841. Billy, could you read verses 7 and 8?
  842. We're still in Nehemiah, chapter 4,
    verses 7 and 8.
  843. (Billy) Sure, I'll be reading
  844. from the King James Version:
  845. (Derek) All right, so, did you notice
  846. that the number of people
  847. in opposition increased again?
  848. (Team) Yes.
  849. (Derek) Now we've got all kinds
  850. of other people being added to the list.
  851. It was two, then it's three;
  852. how many is it now?
  853. And these represent groups
    of people, right?
  854. And verse 9, what did you notice?
  855. What's the first thing
  856. that Nehemiah does?
  857. (Team) Pray!
  858. (Derek) You got it now, right?
  859. The first thing he does -
  860. he prays to God, and...?
  861. (Stephanie) Set a watch.
  862. (Derek) Help me with that, unpack that.
  863. (Heide) I pray, but I can't,
  864. if I have an exam, say, "Lord,
  865. help me to get an A," and not study.
  866. They also did their part.
  867. (Derek) I hope every student in the world
  868. just heard what Heide said.
  869. Is it good to pray
  870. if you're getting ready for an exam?
  871. (Team) Yes.
  872. (Derek) Is it good to study?
  873. (Team) Yes.
  874. (Derek) Applying it to Nehemiah.
  875. He's under attack; in fact,
  876. they're actually conspiring to do what?
  877. To attack and create confusion,
    my Bible says.
  878. So, good to pray?
  879. (Team) Yes.
  880. (Derek) Good to set watch-people
    on the wall?
  881. (Team) Yes.
  882. (Derek) Absolutely, as we see
  883. the wisdom of this leader responding.
  884. They also, though, had
  885. some internal opposition.
  886. Look in verse 12; Liza, could you read
  887. chapter 4 of Nehemiah and verse 12?
  888. (Liza) I'll be reading
  889. from the New King James Version:
  890. (Derek) What?! What was the little -
  891. what would we call this?
  892. Like a mantra, right, a little -
    what's the word?
  893. A little anthem or, you know?
  894. It's like, what do you call that
  895. when you keep flashing the same message?
  896. (Team Member) Repetition.
  897. (Derek) Yeah, it's propaganda;
  898. that's the word I was thinking,
    propaganda.
  899. What's the propaganda?
  900. (Marcus) "They're going to come upon you."
  901. (Derek) Yeah, "Whatever place you turn,
  902. they'll be upon us."
  903. "Whatever place you turn,
  904. they'll be upon us."
  905. "Whatever place...," how many times?
  906. (Team) Ten times.
  907. (Derek) "Whatever place you turn..."
  908. These are not the people out there.
  909. These are the people...?
  910. (Gladys) Inside.
  911. (Derek) In here. Lesson? Travis?
  912. (Travis) I was just thinking
  913. of Caleb and Joshua.
  914. When they came back,
  915. there were 10 people that said,
  916. "There are giants in the land;
  917. we'll never be able to go and take it."
  918. "We'll never...," you know?
  919. I'm sure there's no correlation,
  920. but it just seems funny that people
  921. from the inside, their own people...
  922. (Derek) And there were 10.
  923. (Travis) Yeah, 10 discouraging them.
  924. (Derek) That's propaganda, too, right?
  925. It was negative propaganda
  926. over and over again.
  927. It's almost like having,
  928. today we might say you have
    like a megaphone,
  929. and you're just shouting
  930. over the workplace, "It's
    going to fall down,"
  931. "It's going to fall down,"
  932. "It's going to fall down."
  933. How do you handle
  934. that kind of propaganda,
  935. which is deliberately intended
  936. to hinder what God wants you to do?
  937. What's the word?!
  938. (Team) Pray!
  939. (Derek) Pray and then what?
  940. (Team) Do the work.
  941. (Derek) Do the work?
  942. (Team) Move forward.
  943. (Derek) Get earplugs?
  944. Noise-cancelling headphones?
  945. You do whatever you need to do,
    having prayed,
  946. to keep the work going, right?
  947. (Team) Yes.
  948. (Derek) Does that make sense?
  949. What are you thinking about this situation
  950. from a human perspective, Abigail?
  951. (Abigail) That's it's really...
  952. In some point, it's supposed to be
    so discouraging,
  953. but it also tells us the importance
  954. of being in constant communication
    with God,
  955. to ask Him to empower us
  956. and give us the zeal to go ahead
  957. and do what He has called us to do.
  958. Because, regardless if we want it or not,
  959. we're going to have opposition
  960. coming from all sorts of directions.
  961. And sometimes the strongest ones
    are from within.
  962. So we have to be constantly praying.
  963. (Derek) I guess we should be praying,
  964. and, you know, that somehow,
  965. by the grace of God, that the enemies
  966. either from without or within,
  967. would look and say,
  968. "We just don't understand these people.
  969. They're unstoppable," right?
  970. "They're just so focused
  971. on what God has asked them to do
  972. that nothing we're doing
  973. is slowing them down." Marcus?
  974. (Marcus) But then that would also point
  975. to that there is not just a human element
    at work here.
  976. And, of course, we come to that conclusion
  977. later on in the chapter.
  978. They come to that conclusion,
  979. but that God was within the work
  980. and with the work the whole entire time.
  981. (Derek) So, let's keep
  982. going in the chapter.
  983. We're still in chapter 4.
  984. This is ancient history,
  985. but it's also modern lessons for us,
  986. and, Stephanie, could you read
  987. verses 13 through 18 of chapter 4
  988. and see how Nehemiah
  989. responds to the opposition.
  990. As Abigail has mentioned,
  991. it's both external and internal.
  992. Let's see how this leader of God responds.
  993. (Stephanie) The King James Version says:
  994. (Derek) Wow, that's pretty intense, right?
  995. You have a tool in one hand
  996. and a sword in the other hand.
  997. What would that look like today? Liza?
  998. (Liza) I think that's a good lesson
  999. in that, in everything
  1000. that God does in our lives,
  1001. we have to be on offense and defense,
  1002. just to use a sports metaphor.
  1003. Like, we're moving forward
  1004. to do God's work,
  1005. but at all times we're alert,
  1006. we're on our toes,
  1007. we're not letting the enemy
  1008. catch us off guard,
  1009. so we're always offense and defense
    at all times.
  1010. (Derek) All right. Travis?
  1011. (Travis) The Bible is the sword, right,
    it's our sword,
  1012. so we can work diligently
  1013. but keep the sword in our hand, right?
  1014. The sword of truth.
  1015. (Derek) So you would see that this...
  1016. You don't want us all to be, like,
  1017. having weapons and whatnot.
  1018. You think the spiritual weapon...
  1019. But they actually did have
  1020. spears and swords because they were
  1021. saying, "You come to kill
  1022. our wives and our children,
  1023. and we're going to defend ourselves."
  1024. Of course, whether they
  1025. would have needed to or not,
  1026. God could have done...
  1027. He could have had an angel
  1028. fly over the enemy.
  1029. But they were sending a visual message
  1030. that, "We're not coming down," right?
  1031. Puia, could you read on
  1032. for us verses 19 to 23.
  1033. It's actually quite an epic drama,
    isn't it,
  1034. with all kinds of scheming and traps.
  1035. And the people of God are saying,
  1036. "No, we're going to keep doing
  1037. what God's asked us to do."
  1038. Nehemiah, chapter 4, verses 19 to 23.
  1039. (Puia) All right, I'll be reading
  1040. from the New King James Version:
  1041. (Derek) No nap times, no personal days.
  1042. They only took their clothes off
  1043. when they got so dirty
  1044. they needed to wash them.
  1045. So, you mentioned that earlier, Travis,
  1046. about servant leadership.
  1047. What do you see here?
  1048. (Travis) Something really stood out to me,
  1049. "The work is great and extensive,
  1050. and we're separated."
  1051. The harvest is great,
  1052. and the laborers are few.
  1053. We've all been called
  1054. into this harvest work for souls,
  1055. and we need to get back
    on the wall, right?
  1056. Labor together; we'll face opposition,
  1057. but stay focused on our mission,
  1058. keep the sword of the Spirit
    in our hands
  1059. and focus on Jesus,
  1060. the promises of Jesus.
  1061. (Derek) So, I'm going to give you
  1062. a chance to think.
  1063. That was 2,400-and-some years ago.
  1064. I'd like you think about your own life,
  1065. a time when God sent you on a mission,
  1066. and you experienced
  1067. some intense opposition,
  1068. which you may not have particularly liked,
  1069. either from external or internal sources.
  1070. And yet, as you look back,
  1071. you see how God was with you.
  1072. Puia, you're smiling.
  1073. Do you have a story that you could share?
  1074. (Puia) I do. In the previous study
  1075. I quickly mentioned about a movement
  1076. that I started with some of my friends
  1077. here in the United States
  1078. for my fellow Mizo young people.
  1079. God had put a burden on my heart
  1080. to do something, a ministry
  1081. or a movement of some kind
  1082. for my fellow Mizo young people
  1083. because we're all scattered
  1084. across the United States,
  1085. and we're in different parts
    of the conferences
  1086. and different parts
  1087. of the division itself.
  1088. (Derek) So let me just...
  1089. because some people...You say "Mizo."
  1090. Mizoram is a territory in Northeast India
  1091. and Western Myanmar,
  1092. And there are Mizo people...
  1093. (Puia) Who have immigrated here.
  1094. (Derek) ...come here.
  1095. And God has put on your heart
  1096. a special burden to miinister
  1097. to these young people.
  1098. (Puia) Yes, because immigrants
  1099. face an extra layer of challenge
  1100. when it comes to living
  1101. and settling here.
  1102. And so, I prayed about it,
  1103. and I talked to different pastors,
  1104. different youth leaders
  1105. and different churches.
  1106. And we had a meeting
  1107. where we talked about plans
  1108. to start a federation
  1109. so that we can organize events
  1110. like a spiritual retreat
  1111. where we can bring in our youth
  1112. and teach them about the Bible
  1113. and train them for mission work
  1114. and things like that.
  1115. (Derek) Would you have those meetings
  1116. in the Mizo language?
  1117. (Puia) Mizo language.
  1118. (Derek) Okay. Does that sound
  1119. like something God might ask
  1120. a young leader who speaks Mizo to do?
  1121. (Team) Yes.
  1122. (Derek) Okay. Why would anyone
  1123. want to oppose something like that,
    do you think?
  1124. We don't want to be negative
  1125. because sometimes people say,
  1126. "Well, that's too complicated,"
  1127. or, "You'll never build it."
  1128. "If you stand on it,
  1129. the wall will fall down,"
  1130. or, "You might offend someone." Abigail?
  1131. (Abigail) I'm thinking, the reason
  1132. why someone would oppose that
  1133. is because you are doing this
  1134. to draw many youth to God
  1135. and to uplift the name of God.
  1136. And the enemy will put that negativity
  1137. in somebody's heart
  1138. to stop that from happening.
  1139. And they may discourage you
  1140. and tell you, "This is never
  1141. going to actually be successful."
  1142. But if you keep pushing
  1143. and you allow God to be your sword,
  1144. then you are going to be able to achieve
  1145. even greater things for His namesake,
    for His glory.
  1146. (Derek) I'm going to come to Liza's point
  1147. and then back to Puia.
  1148. Is it possible someone might oppose it
  1149. because they think, "I wish
  1150. I'd thought of that,"
  1151. "Wish that it was my idea,"
    is that possible?
  1152. (Team) Yes.
  1153. (Derek) Or, "Well, you're not doing it
  1154. for this group of people, for my group,
  1155. how come he's doing it for his group?"
  1156. There are lots of reasons, right? Liza?
  1157. (Liza) I was going to say that,
  1158. that it probably is jealousy or envy,
  1159. like, "Oh," you know,
  1160. "look at that person; they're willing.
  1161. I could have done that,
  1162. but I probably was not willing
  1163. or did not accept God's call in my life."
  1164. And so we see that a lot
  1165. with these types of oppositions,
  1166. especially from within.
  1167. It's those people who,
  1168. their hearts are hardened,
  1169. they didn't follow through
  1170. what God had called them to,
  1171. and when someone else
    picks up that mantle,
  1172. it's that jealousy of, "Why them?"
  1173. And they try to discourage that.
  1174. (Derek) So we don't know
  1175. what it is in this situation,
  1176. but there may be a lot of things.
  1177. I want to give you the end
  1178. of Nehemiah's story,
  1179. and then we're going to come back
  1180. to the end of the Mizo story, okay?
  1181. Nehemiah 6, verses 15 and 16,
  1182. Gladys, could you read that for us,
    Nehemiah 6:15-16?
  1183. (Gladys) Nehemiah, I'm reading
  1184. from the New International Version,
  1185. Nehemiah, chapter 6, verses 15 and 16:
  1186. (Team) Amen.
  1187. (Derek) My Bible says, "This work
  1188. was done by our God,"
  1189. and yet someone would say, "Yes,
  1190. but He used hands, too,"
  1191. including hands of prophets, right?
  1192. Fifty-two days to get the work done.
  1193. Rest of the Mizo story.
  1194. Maybe it's still happening, you see.
  1195. (Puia) So, most of the leaders
  1196. that I work with in this context,
  1197. they all loved the idea,
  1198. and we were planning to have a convention
  1199. where we brought all
  1200. the young people together,
  1201. but there came a few oppositions
  1202. from a few elders,
  1203. citing that I was too young,
  1204. inexperienced, without the knowledge
  1205. of working with different age groups,
  1206. and that in the past they have tried,
  1207. and it never worked because the problem
    was always...
  1208. (Derek) Has anybody ever heard that line?
  1209. "We tried it once," you know,
  1210. "30 years ago, and it didn't work."
  1211. We don't want to be negative,
  1212. but these are some of the messages
    that could come.
  1213. (Puia) Right, but to make
    the long story short,
  1214. I think the situation brought me
  1215. to my knees so many times.
  1216. Sometimes I could never sleep...
  1217. (Derek) Is that good?
  1218. (Puia) Yeah, sometimes I wasn't
    able to sleep,
  1219. like, I would stay up the whole night
  1220. pondering about this
  1221. and with the burden on my heart,
  1222. thinking that God really put this
    on my heart.
  1223. But in the end, everything came around,
  1224. and people came out.
  1225. And the people who did not
  1226. support me at first,
  1227. they spread lies and rumors.
  1228. I mean, it was bad, but in the end,
  1229. with the results that the movement
  1230. produced in the lives of our young people,
  1231. people were able to see,
  1232. "Oh, maybe this actually
    is a good movement."
  1233. And now we're in the next stage
  1234. of transferring the leadership
    this summer and then...
  1235. (Derek) Did you have a group that met?
  1236. (Puia) Yes.
  1237. (Derek) How many came together?
  1238. (Puia) Over 300, yeah.
  1239. (Derek) Three hundred young people.
  1240. (Puia) And now we're planning
    to send back, if possible,
  1241. student missionaries back to our country.
  1242. So, that's the next stage of our goals.
  1243. (Derek) And the wall was built in 52 days!
  1244. But not without opposition.
  1245. So, what's the lesson for our lives?
  1246. The lesson is, God does not
  1247. always ask us to do the easy work.
  1248. He asks us to do His work.
  1249. The harvest is not always easy,
  1250. but it is great, and the laborers are few.
  1251. And He's calling us to be part
  1252. of that harvest work.
  1253. And I pray the testimonies
    we've heard today
  1254. will inspire us to say, "Lord,
  1255. if it's what You asked me to do,
  1256. You will empower me;
  1257. Your hand will be with me
  1258. to accomplish the work for Your glory."
  1259. Let's pray that can happen
  1260. in our circle of influence.
  1261. Father in Heaven, thank You so much
  1262. for this inspired testimony
  1263. that we've heard from Ezra and Nehemiah
  1264. and the modern testimonies
  1265. we've heard from our group.
  1266. Thank You, God, that You guide us
  1267. even through opposition
  1268. from without and within
  1269. to accomplish Your work
  1270. for Your glory alone, we thank You.
  1271. May we be willing servants
  1272. to follow wherever You lead.
  1273. In Jesus' name. Amen.
  1274. (Team) Amen.
  1275. (Derek) Thanks for joining us
  1276. for Hope Sabbath School.
  1277. There may be a special work
  1278. God's calling you to do.
  1279. It may not be easy, but He'll give you
  1280. the power and the wisdom to do it.
  1281. And when angels sing,
  1282. you be sure to give Him the glory.
  1283. And right now, go out and be a blessing
  1284. to those around you.
  1285. ♪ theme music ♪