Staying Strong in the Midst of Opposition
Category : General
Nehemiah 4: 1 (KJV)
1But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews
“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain…and most of them do.” —Dale Carnegie
It is noted that the Samaritan faction showed their bitter animosity to the Jews on discovering the systematic design of refortifying Jerusalem. Their opposition was confined at first to scoffs and insults, in heaping which the governors made themselves conspicuous, and circulated all sorts of disparaging reflections that might increase the feelings of hatred and contempt for them in their own party. The weakness of the Jews in respect of wealth and numbers, the absurdity of their purpose apparently to reconstruct the walls and celebrate the feast of dedication in one day, the idea of raising the walls on their old foundations, as well as using the charred and moldering debris of the ruins as the materials for the restored buildings, and the hope of such a parapet as they could raise being capable of serving as a fortress of defense – these all afforded fertile subjects of hostile ridicule.
It is important for us to understand as was noted that “the devil and his imps have ever been utter enemies to true reformation. So do savage beasts bristle up themselves, and make the most fierce assaults, when they are in danger of losing the prey which they had once seized on. Jabesh gilead would send in none to help the Lord against the mighty, Jud.21:9. No more would Meroz, Jud.5:23. Josiah met with much opposition; so did Paul wherever he came, to set up evangelical and spiritual worship; which is called a reformation, Hebrews 9:10. All the world was against Athanasius in his generation, and Luther in his; rejecting what they attempted, with scorn and slander. Here it is quarrel enough to Nehemiah and his Jews, that they would be no longer miserable. They were not more busy in building than the enemies active in deriding, conspiring, practicing to hinder and overthrow them. A double derision is here recorded; and both as full of mischief as profane wit or rancured malice could make them.”
Friends, be aware that just as the enemies of Israel mocked and ridiculed the work they were attempting to do, you will too. We have to face the reality that anytime you are determined to do something for God, there will always be those ready to criticize what you do. They would do it differently, better or not at all. Friend, don’t let that crowd get to you, just go on for God! Some of the Lord’s best workers, including the likes of Jesus and Paul were criticized. So, when you are criticized, praise the Lord, for you are in good company!
Let us also remember that those who live near and like the wicked are always among those who try to discourage the work and workers of God. It rarely shocks us when trouble comes from without, but when it arises within, it often leaves us devastated! Whether it takes the form of deception, with someone living a hidden life of sin, or the form of discouragement, when someone questions the motives and goals of the church, it hurts deeply and can cause us to deviate from the course.
Have a great and God filled day!