7 When Sanballat, Tobiah, and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the repair to the walls of Jerusalem was progressing and that the gaps were being closed, they became furious. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw it into confusion. 9 So we prayed to our God and stationed a guard because of them day and night.
10 In Judah, it was said:
The strength of the laborer fails,
since there is so much rubble.
We will never be able
to rebuild the wall.
11 And our enemies said, “They won’t know or see anything until we’re among them and can kill them and stop the work.” 12 When the Jews who lived nearby arrived, they said to us time and again, “Everywhere you turn, they attack us.” 13 So I stationed people behind the lowest sections of the wall, at the vulnerable areas. I stationed them by families with their swords, spears, and bows. 14 After I made an inspection, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the great and awe-inspiring Lord, and fight for your countrymen, your sons and daughters, your wives and homes.”
I received such encouragement from this passage. Nehemiah was under great oppression and discouragement that we would have given our complete empathy and understanding if he had decided to quit. Nehemiah was facing opposition from within his own community and most certainly from outside his tribe. Yet, his drive to continue in the face of dire opposition come from the Lord. We can learn a lot from this!
God spoke to Nehemiah and nothing was going to stand in his way from accomplishing this God-sized task. We learn, however, that the road was not easy. Many came against him, and it would have been easy to question God’s plan. My prayer is that we stand firm on the solid rock of our Savior and press forward when called accordingly.
Nehemiah 2:17-20 says, 17 So I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been burned down. Come, let’s rebuild Jerusalem’s wall, so that we will no longer be a disgrace.” 18 I told them how the gracious hand of my God had been on me,and what the king had said to me.
They said, “Let’s start rebuilding,” and they were encouraged to do this good work.
19 When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard about this, they mocked and despised us, and said, “What is this you’re doing? Are you rebelling against the king?”
20 I gave them this reply, “The God of heaven is the One who will grant us success. We, His servants, will start building, but you have no share, right, or historic claim in Jerusalem.”
Nehemiah did not rest upon his own strength or his own understanding. His strength came from the Lord. Therefore, no level of spiritual oppression was going to stand in his way. When pressed on all sides, how do you react? Do you crumble in your own strength or stand firm on the solid rock of Christ?