Word had reached Nehemiah in Persia about the situation in Jerusalem; the walls had not been rebuilt… and no one seemed to care.
Nehemiah confessed his peoples’ sins to God. He then asked for – and received – permission from King Artaxerxes to go to Jerusalem to repair the walls.
After Nehemiah got to Jerusalem, he inspected the walls… the put together a plan to rebuild. But, not everyone was on board with the work…
See Nehemiah 2:19,20; 4:1-6,7-9,11-23; 6:1-4,5-9.
Nehemiah faced a huge logistical problem in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. But, that wasn’t his biggest problem. There were those who were determined to keep Nehemiah from rebuilding the demolished walls; chief among them were Sanballat & Tobiah (2 local leaders) & Geshem (an Arab with clout).
Their opposition may have been provoked by racial bigotry, greed, selfishness, or jealousy. But, whatever their motives, they were determined to stop Nehemiah.
These 3 mocked Nehemiah and his plan. They questioned Nehemiah’s authority and motives. They threatened Nehemiah. And they tried to lure Nehemiah into a compromising situation.
Before you write off these 3 as all-time bad guys, is there any of their attitude in you? How do you respond when a new somebody is assigned to your “turf” or your responsibilities? Do you welcome new people with their new ideas and enthusiasm, or do you resent them and see them as a threat? Do you try to make their job easier or harder?
If pleasing God is our overriding desire, we don’t have to worry about who gets the credit for a job well done. We can be pleased to be a part of God’s work – even if someone else plays a bigger role.
When we set out to follow God’s instructions for life – doing His will – we can expect to run into some of the same reactions Nehemiah did. The names and faces will be different, but God’s opponents always share the same objective: to keep us from doing what God wants us to do.
We need to remember how Nehemiah encountered his opposition: he prayed, he planned, and he persisted in the work God had given him. Even the threat of death did not keep from carrying out what he knew God wanted him to do.
How often do we give up before opposition that is much weaker than what Nehemiah faced? Rely on God’s resources as you plan your defense against the enemy’s opposition.
* We set ourselves up for defeat when we try to face problems without prayer.
You can read the story of Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem in Nehemiah 2,4,6.