Last time we talked about the amazing layout of the gates around Jerusalem and how they (amazingly, but not coincidentally) parallel the Christian journey.

Be sure to check out that blog here or in the ‘Chapters Thus Far’ drop down below:

Chapters Thus Far:

1 – Nehemiah broken when learns of state of Jerusalem; because he loves God and hurts to see the state of His people and desires to see His promise fulfilled.

2: 1-10 – Nehemiah desires to bring God glory so much he abandons his Persian palace and heads out to do work in Jerusalem.

2:11-20 – We learn of the calling to Go and Rebuild.

3 – The Gates parallel the Christian life.  Ah-Mazing stuff…

Today, we face the opposition that was foreshadowed in chapter 2, where our antagonists are starting to, well, antagonize:

4:1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews…Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”…So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.

In a recent sermon by Ken Hicks for Heights Community Church, he points out that this chapter lays out specific types of opposition we can expect from the enemy :

  • Anger of others against us
  • Mockery and Sarcasm
  • Threats and Intimidation
  • Discouragement and Exhaustion
  • Fear

Indeed, in just these first few verses we see glimmers of all of these.  If opposition is not a guarantee to life, in general, is an absolute in the Christian faith and the attack ramps of fast against Jerusalem.

How do we respond to the opposition is a relevant question and, I believe, Nehemiah gives us some insight to this answer:

  • v6 – work with all your heart
  • v9 – prayer

I’m not sure the order matters.  Christian-Me would say prayer first, but I think it’s fair to say they can (and should?) be done in parallel.  We saw a similar glimpse of this in chapter 2 when the king asked him what was troubling him.  Prayer and a Heart Felt answer.

Does this heart-felt emotion and prayer work?  Are they delivered from their enemies!?  Not really; at least, not in a way that we would expect (movie-tale-deliverance…you know, Bruce Willis saves the day kinda deliverance…)

10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.” 11 Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.” 12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”

What we see is more attack coming and the rest of chapter 4 is Nehemiah’s tactical response and awesome leadership/encouragement :

14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

Opposition is inevitable.   It’s only in proper biblical understanding of the role opposition plays that we are able to stand up and cheerfully proclaim what Nehemiah does, that despite this dismal situation, the severe affliction and abundant poverty, God is (still) very good and love abounds.

This “love definition” matters a great deal and is observed continuously throughout scripture.

But don’t take my word for it:

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Logan Ramirez

Native San Antonian Logan Seth Ramirez, graduated from Trinity University with a degree in Computer Science , does analytics professionally, and founded San Antonio based Web Design & Hosting company Orange Pulley, LLC. His creative outlets are music and web design and laughing at his favorite Spanish word, cacahuates. Come find me on Google+

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