Handling Threats and Opposition
Nehemiah 4:1-3 But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. 2 And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish -- stones that are burned?" 3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, "Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall."
As we read about the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in Nehemiah 4-6, we observe the vigorous efforts of Israel's northern enemies to frighten the Jews so that they would stop the project. They mocked and issued a number of threats directed especially at Nehemiah. They conspired to attack the workers without warning. Someone was sent to warn Nehemiah of a plot on his life and for him to hide in the temple with the hopes he might bring disgrace upon himself. They created rumors and falsehoods about the Jews' plan to rebel against Persia. They wanted Nehemiah to take a break from the project and go meet with them, and so they sent repeated messages demanding a meeting in order to sidetrack him.
These tactics of intimidation failed because of Nehemiah's iron will and steadfast resolve to complete this vital task. When we consider the myriad of other problems he was facing, we are amazed at the strength of this man. Yet, what kept Nehemiah going was his utter dependence upon God. Consider his encouragements to the workers:
Nehemiah 4:14 "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses."
Nehemiah 4:20 "Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us."
Nehemiah 6:9 they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, 'Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.' Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
Amazingly, they completed this massive project in 52 days! Nehemiah writes:
Nehemiah 6:16 And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.
Steadfast reliance on the Lord brought about amazing results. By his constant and unshakeable trust in God, Nehemiah was able to lead the Jewish people in completing the walls.
In our day, the threats against righteousness and godliness have greatly increased. All across the country, unrighteous groups try to silence believers by intimidation tactics. Some believers have caved in or altered their Christian commitments. This happens when they take their eyes off the Lord and choose to please the culture.
On the other hand, at Christian Rights Ministries, we choose to adopt Nehemiah's outlook and live in dependence upon God, who like Nehemiah, will fight for us. Let's not allow ourselves to be scared by threats and plots. God can bring all of them to futility.