The Wall Completed, Opposition Confronted
"They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat." – Nehemiah 4:8-9 (NIV)
This week we conclude our discussion on the book of Nehemiah. The wall was built in record time in spite of great opposition. I can’t remember a time when trying to better my life I didn’t face some sort of opposition. How about you? I’m truly trying to remember the last time I made a commitment to eat healthy when within 24 hours I received an invitation to go to Krispy Kreme for a doughnut. Now that is not an extreme example of opposition! And it isn’t the only area in my life I fight opposition— there are more! You don’t have to build a wall around Jerusalem to face opposition. However, it’s very important to be aware that opposition may look friendly, but it’s still opposition.
When Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall, Sanballat, the governor of Samari, became fearful Nehemiah would ruin his plan of becoming the governor of Judea as well. His people taunted the workers with ridicule and insults in an effort to discourage the Jews from rebuilding the wall. But Nehemiah did what he always did—he prayed and continued building. I’m amazed Nehemiah’s men continued to build with all their heart and didn’t allow jealousy, insults, greed or power stop them. How do you keep doing what you need to do with all your heart and prevent the negative and insulting behaviors of others to affect your work? I believe Nehemiah—a purpose driven man of God—has shown us it is possible to move forward in our lives when we deal with jealous people who want to stop us.
Nehemiah was a prayer warrior and a man of character and persistence. He was a brilliant planner, organizer and motivator. He led the nation to religious reform and spiritual awakening. He was honest and remained calm under opposition. Oh, how I wish I could be like Nehemiah.Of course, we have to be ourselves, but we can learn a lot from him. Nehemiah never faced a challenge without immediately praying. I believe he prayed because he was doing what God asked of him, and he got his “how to” from God. Nehemiah was heartbroken over the destruction of the walls of Jerusalem, but he wept more over the sins of the people. The walls were to protect the temple. The temple represented the presence of His God. Nehemiah was faithful to remind the people of their calling and remind them to stay true to their God.
If we are to protect our relationship with God and live the life He offers us, we must be willing to face opposition. Nehemiah protected his calling by praying. We must face each day with prayer. If you believe you can live without prayer, you don’t understand what prayer is. Prayer is not asking God for your will to be done on earth, prayer is asking God to fulfill His will on earth. Prayer isn’t a religious activity, it’s a human necessity. I can honestly say from the depths of my heart I don’t know where I would be if I couldn’t enter into the presence of God and talk to him about everything! Jesus gave His life so you can talk to God about your life. Prayer is your greatest weapon against any opposition you may face. I don’t believe you have a chance against any opposition you face without first asking God to fight for you. Prayer is essential to victory.
Nehemiah not only prayed, he also posted guards day and night to meet the threat of opposition. How do you think Nehemiah knew where to post the guards? I believe God told him when he was praying. You can’t fight your battles or win against insults or jealousy of others in your own strength. You have to call upon the only One who hasn’t ever lost a battle. You must call upon God to fight for you. When you pray, He will tell you what you need to do and what weakness you need to guard against and how to be protected. Nehemiah faced opposition many times, and God consistently gave him the wisdom to discern the schemes of those trying to stop what He was doing. Nehemiah constantly encouraged the people around him with the truth, “Our God will fight for us.” We can do the same. We can be assured our God will fight for us and we can be confident He is doing a good work in us. We must not stoop to the level of our enemies and allow them to oppose what God has approved. We cannot stop if we are to fulfill the dreams God has put in our heart. Thanks, Nehemiah, for teaching us how to live out of our gifts and calling and how to keep going when we are unwilling to give up! I have enjoyed skimming through Nehemiah with you! It’s been a great 4 weeks!
- What is keeping you from doing what God has asked you to do?
- Have you prayed and asked God to strengthen you and give you the wisdom and discernment to recognize who or what is hindering you from the work He has asked you to do?
- Prayer is your only weapon of defense. No person or circumstance in this life can stop you from praying.