The Passage: Nehemiah 4:1-6
The Point: What to do with discouragement
Have you ever been shot down when you have a great idea? A few examples from my life come readily to mind. Like the time I said, “Hey, honey we should buy a conversion van and drive across country with the kids.” Or this one: “What if we got a 500-foot zip line for the backyard?” I have to admit that at times it was for the best that my ideas were shot down. There are times, however, when we experience opposition not to a “good” idea but to a God idea. The opposition comes not from someone that’s looking out for us, but from someone that’s only looking out for themselves. That’s what Nehemiah was facing here.
Sanballat and Tobiah were government leaders in the areas surrounding Jerusalem. They were threatened by the effort to rebuild the wall. It’s not that they were upset by people stacking stones but by the stability, those stacked stones would bring to the city of Jerusalem. Yet Nehemiah knew the significance of what he was doing. He knew he was doing what God had called him to do.
Opposition is part of any attempt to do something significant. We can’t control that. We can, however, control what we do in the face of opposition. We can either get discouraged or we can look to the one who conquers the opposition! That’s what Nehemiah chose to do. Nehemiah called out to God, “Hear, O our God, for we are despised” (Neh. 4:4). It wasn’t a pretty, polished, churchy prayer. It was a gut level cry acknowledging the circumstances that could have led to discouragement. Nehemiah was confident that God had called him, and so he called right back to God. What was the result? Nehemiah 4:6 says, “So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”
- Are you confident in your calling? Why or why not?
- Are you persistent in prayer? Why or why not?
- Who or what is opposing you right now?
- What do you need to do in the face of your opposition?
- Are you doing it?