Monday, March 25, 2013

Nehemiah 4:7-9

Poisonous thoughts become hideous deeds. This is as true when dealing with the lust-filled thoughts of a man’s heart as with the hate-filled words of an opponent.
“Your walls are so weak that even an itty-bitty little fox could knock them over,” Sanballat and Tobiah had mocked the builders. But Nehemiah was undeterred and with the help of God’s appointed people, he continued building the wall.
The threats were meant to undermine. The threats were meant to discourage. The weak Israelites who had come back to build were supposed to quake in fear. Their efforts were supposed to stop. They were supposed to cower, they were supposed to roll over like helpless little lambs.
Irritated and frustrated, the enemies of God’s purposes found that their hollow threats were not sufficient to undermine the morale of the people. Nehemiah’s faith in God was unshakeable. It was almost as if the work had increased. The threats that were meant to disintegrate the desire to build had rather stoked the flames of desire that were burning ravenously in the hearts of God’s people.
This is what happens when we stand firm in our faith in God during moments of opposition. The enemy is frustrated. But it is a real battle, and the barrage will continue. Satan hates to see God’s purposes accomplished and he will seek to undermine however he can. The first wave of attacks was simply verbal assaults, but more fierce things are on the horizon. And like Nehemiah, we cannot allow the darkness of threat to deter us.
The building continued, and so did the attacks. And as the wall gained height, the anger and scorn seemed to build. The terse words eventually became actions, when God’s enemies gathered allies to themselves to prepare to invade and devastate the work of God’s people.
Although the potential threat of a looming attack seemed to escalate, Nehemiah never lost sight of Who was truly in control. Amassing forces were being accumulated against the wall builders, but Nehemiah said, “nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God.” God was still in control of all things, and it didn’t matter if it was two dorky scorners or an army of fools, the Almighty God of all the ages could handle it, and Nehemiah trusted in that fact.

Food For Thought: Briefly describe the progression of attacks from the outside as seen in the story of Nehemiah.