Facing Opposition

Facing Opposition

Nehemiah 2:19, 4:1-23

“There is no victory without a  battle, no testimony without a test and no miracle without an impossible circumstance. -Kris Vallotton

When you choose to follow Jesus and surrender to him every area of your life, you will face opposition.  Sometimes the people who are closest to you will not understand the transformation the Holy Spirit is creating in you. Bad habits you once shared with your family or friends, may become the dividing line between you. It can be a painful battle, but not one God allows you to face alone.

In this part of our continued look into the life of Nehemiah, we see Satan pull out his bag of tricks. Our enemies purpose in the lives of those building the wall is no different than his schemes to defeat us.  Once again, we are going to dig into the life of Nehemiah to learn how to face opposition.

Nehemiah vividly records the verbal attacks upon the wall builders in Jerusalem. “But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth(furious), and took great indignation(hot anger), and mocked(made fun of ) the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify (protect) themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.” 

Now that is some trash talk! It makes you want to think about a good come back line. But instead of retaliation, Nehemiah prays to God. “ Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.” Don’t you love the fact Nehemiah is so transparent to God about his feelings and desires?  But remember you too can go directly to God and tell him how the opposition’s attacks have left you wounded and bleeding on the side of the road.  In Romans 12:19, reminds, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, … for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”  As much as Nehemiah wanted a big comeback line to use on his opposition, or to see them chased as prey (and hunted down); he knew that is God was in charge. That meant it was God that needed to take care of their enemies.

Satan does not give up easily. I Peter 5:8  warns Christians to, “ Be sober (aware), be vigilant (watching); because of your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”  Nehemiah tells that Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites conspired together to carry out a sneak attack on Jerusalem.  After praying to God for wisdom, Nehemiah set a watch day and night, preparing for the enemies next move. The opposition in a Christian’s life can come from when you least expect it and often from a source you would never consider. Satan, like Nehemiah’s enemies, does not want you to see “it” coming. It is so urgent that you carefully watch for the traps Satan so carefully hides right in plain sight. Many Christian’s are grievously injured because they were not looking for their enemies traps.

Nehemiah asked his wall-builders to have their swords, spears, and bows right alongside their tools. While continuing the work, Judah was also equipped to take on their enemy in hand to hand battle. Ephesians 6:17 teaches Christians that they too need to be wearing the armor to take on our enemy Satan. “ And take …the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:.” Satan hates the Word of God. To face him, you need to study God’s Word and memorize verses that help you in times of attack. You will be surprised how Satan cowers away when he hears the promises God has for his children.  “ And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” No matter the magnitude of your enemy or the shrewdness of his plan; focus on the Lord.  “For the battle is the Lord’s.” (I Samuel 17:47)