Be Still Know
Nehemiah 2.19-20 NLT
But when Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab heard of our plan, they scoffed contemptuously. “What are you doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” they asked. I replied, “The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall.”
Everything seemed to have been going so well. Not only did King Artaxerxes give Nehemiah the leave that he requested but supplied him with wood for the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Nehemiah had then made the 1000-mile journey to the city and inspected the broken walls and found it just as he had been told. He called the people together and challenged them to rebuild the walls and they were eager to start. Surely everything would now flow beautifully – but no! Even before the building work started the opposition got going. The builders were mocked and ridiculed and had to face the dangerous allegation that their work would be an act of rebellion against the King.
I love Nehemiah’s confidence. He brushed off the opposition. He knew that God was on his side and that his work was bound to succeed. The waspish criticisms and threats weren’t going to be allowed to delay an undertaking as important as this. Throughout the Bible we see men and women of God facing opposition. Moses continually battled with opposition from his own people. Joshua faced fierce opposition on all sides when he entered the Promised Land. The Judges, Kings and Prophets all faced a continual barrage of obstacles and in the New Testament it is no different. Jesus’ own ministry was opposed from the outset and led to his total rejection through his death on the Cross, and he assured his followers that it would be no different for them.
It should never surprise us when we face opposition. It is never pleasant but it should never divert us from following God. It is an integral part of the privilege of serving God in a world that is fundamentally opposed to him.
QUESTION: What opposition have you faced and how have you coped with it?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, keep me strong, gracious and loving however obstructive people might be. Amen
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