If you have been on this earth very long at all, you know that when you start rebuilding your life after you have had a setback, your comeback is not going to be cheered on by everyone you know.
Most will want to see you succeed but there will always be those, who for whatever reason, will not be pleased by your success. In fact, the more you achieve, the more they will try to stop you.
(If you would like a few modern day examples, turn on the news for about 10 to 15 minutes and you will be rewarded with multiple prototypes ‘live, in color and commercial-free’ of what I am talking about!)
I am going to save all of us the agony of discussing current events. Instead, let’s look at the Biblical example of Nehemiah.
In this example, Nehemiah had gone to Jerusalem and was distressed to find the ancient city in ruins. So he gathered together his fellow Jews and immediately as one unit, they began rebuilding all that had been destroyed.
Now when Sanballat heard that (the Jews) were rebuilding the wall in Nehemiah 4:1, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, and he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall?”
Take note here that Sanballat shared his ridicule of the Jews “with his associates and the entire army of Samaria”. He wasn’t engaging in a quiet conversation with himself.
Like Sanballat, those who oppose your progress will also openly criticize everything you do. They will take their rantings to the office gossip, to the neighborhood association, to everyone who will listen to them. If you get really “lucky”, they will take their prattle to your boss or to Facebook and Twitter. It won’t seem fair. It may not make sense, but it will happen.
In our example of Nehemiah, in fact, the more he worked to repair the destruction, the stronger his opposition became. In verses 7-15, Nehemiah said, “When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. ” Nehemiah goes on to say, “we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.”
Notice, Nehemiah’s heart was right. He did not let the enemy slow down the plan God had placed in his heart. He didn’t give up the fight as the resistance intensified. Instead, Nehemiah met the opposition head on. He prayed and he continued with what he knew he needed to do.
In verse fourteen of the same chapter, Nehemiah said,
“After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
Nehemiah was encouraging but he took the threat seriously. Notice in verse 21, he said, “We worked early and late, from sunrise to sunset. And half the men were always on guard. I also told everyone living outside the walls to stay in Jerusalem. That way they and their servants could help with guard duty at night and work during the day.
Nehemiah says, “During this time, none of us—not I, nor my relatives, nor my servants, nor the guards who were with me—ever took off our clothes. We carried our weapons with us at all times, even when we went for water.”
The Jews remained steadfast and continued to rebuild the wall until “not a gap was left in it”.
After the work was finished and the Jewish people had persevered, the opposition had a change of heart. Nehemiah said “when all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God”.
Your Father wants to encourage you with the story of Nehemiah’s battle. He wants to remind you to not focus on what the enemy is saying and doing in an effort to stop you.
Put on the full armor of God so you are able to take a stand against the enemy’s schemes.
Fight the good fight. Hold up the shield of faith in order to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.
Focus on God’s word, not the enemy’s, and in the end, just like Nehemiah, you will succeed, not in your own strength or might, but with the help of our God.
But it’s up to you to decide, whose word will you believe?