The Passage: Nehemiah 2:19-20
The Point: Opposition is going to come
Let me start this devotional with some heresy (now I’ve your attention). Some believe that God’s will always involves financial and physical well-being. This means that positive speech, faith, and tithing will increase one’s material wealth. This is the “prosperity gospel,” and its plaguing American Christianity. Some of their practices are great! Positive speech, faith, and tithing are great things, but the motive behind them are what’s important. The prosperity gospel replaces Jesus with ourselves. It makes Jesus our butler not our king. It’s just not true. Just look at the disciples! Their lives ended badly. I mean really badly. Google it.
Repeatedly throughout the Book of Nehemiah (along with Acts and elsewhere in Scripture), we see that in the midst of flourishing, opposition always comes. As God’s Kingdom advances, the fleshly kingdom comes fighting. But there is encouragement in the midst of the discouragement. Through opposition, God’s Kingdom advances. God always gets glory through the opposition, hardship, and weaknesses of the Christian church.
You can look at this in two ways. One, you could find God to be selfish, harsh, and unloving. Why would a good God let bad things happen? Why wouldn’t God want me to have a great and prosperous life here on earth? Or you could see God as good, loving, and using these things to point us to something greater than earthly treasures ― Himself. There are people with everything who are still empty. Conversely, there are people with no worldly possessions who are full of joy. Why? Because they’ve found a drink that will make them never thirst again. It’s because they’ve found the way, the truth, and the life. When you find Jesus, you find contentment and happiness that go far beyond material wealth or earthly pleasure. Jesus is greater. It’s in this truth that we can withstand the opposition that is going to come our way.
- What opposition are you facing right now?
- How might this opposition bring you closer to Him?
- Is it hurting or helping you advance the Kingdom of God? Why?
- What is God telling you to do right now?
- What steps do you need to take to do what He has asked?
- Whom do you need to tell?