After beginning the back-breaking, heat-stroke inducing work of rebuilding the wall, word came to Nehemiah of the local scorn-squad, Sanballat and Tobiah. They issued mockery and challenges, and questioned the possibility of the wall being rebuilt.
What would Nehemiah do? The outside forces that despised the work of God were assaulting him.
Nehemiah did what he always did when pressured in life – prayed. Instead of sending out reviling letters to the opposition, with a heart of faith and reliance in an all-powerful, all-sovereign God, Nehemiah bent his knees and lifted his hands. This was not Nehemiah’s fight. This was a mis-match. These cronies had picked a fight with God, and God would take care of them.
What is your natural reflex when you receive opposition? When others attack you verbally, do you unsheathe your razor sharp tongue and slice them in half? If someone questions your intelligence do you point out their inadequacies and verbally pants them? When someone challenges your veracity do you rebound with a list of accrued lies that they told first?
I think that sadly, all too often, a retaliatory slap is the knee-jerk reaction to any opposition that we face. We are human. We have our dignity. We have some awkward sense of Victorian “Honor” where if someone challenges us, we must become his “huckleberry.”
But, is there a better way? Can we possibly be wrongly accused or reviled and not retaliate? Can we bear to have our “Honor” attacked and not rise immediately to its defense? What course of action could we take?
In his messianic prophesy, Isaiah portrays Jesus as He suffered through the events of the Passion. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth…neither was any deceit found in his mouth.” Jesus’s reaction to the attacking vitriol of his mockers was a silent faith in God.
If someone corrects you for being wrong, then repent and do what is right. But if someone attacks you for doing what is right, if someone opposes your desire to live in obedience to God, if they seek to make light of His work in your life, if they chose to mock His Word, be like Nehemiah. Answer the beckoning call of the powerful hand of a sovereign God. Don’t reflex yourself into sinning. Rest in faith, trusting that those who oppose God have God to deal with.
Food For Thought: The story of David and Goliath seemed like a mis-match. In your own words describe what I mean by “the real mis-match was Goliath versus God.”
(poor little giant)