Overcoming Opposition

Imagine building a wall out of rubble like this. That was Nehemiah’s job.

Wouldn’t you like to overcome all opposition to your work?  Not that you wouldn’t have any – make no mistake we’ll always have opposition – but that you would be able to get past it and complete the job.

Nehemiah is a man who did just that. 

Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king of Persia in about 444 BC, and when he heard about the shambles that Jerusalem was in – the wall around the city was non-existent and the gates had all been burned down – he prayed that the king would give him favor and allow him to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall.  His prayer was answered clearly and immediately.

Nehemiah was single-minded about his purpose.  He had a God-given vision of a more secure Jerusalem, and nothing would stop him from rebuilding that wall.

He faced many obstacles: emotional threats, physical threats, social threats, and personal threats  He handled them all, and we can learn from him how to handle threats in our own lives and work.

Emotional threats came in the form of intimidation and ridicule.  Nehemiah treated trash-talking as trash.  He threw it out.  Nehemiah prayed, “Hear us, O our God, for we are despised,” ignored it from that point forward and got on with the work.

That is excellent advice when we are facing intimidation and our own thinking becomes confused and self-defeating.  With all the input coming at us these days, it’s difficult to keep our minds focused.  The people Nehemiah led worked with all their heart, which is evidence of God’s approval.

Pray, and then ignore intimidation.

“So, we rebuilt the wall…for the people worked with all their heart.”  (Nehemiah 4:6)

Physical threats.  Nehemiah got wind of plans to attack the people, and he “prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” (Nehemiah 4:9) 

Once again, he prayed first.  That is always the first thing we should do.  It’s a no-brainer.  However, many times I find myself well into thinking about a problem, planning strategies to confront it, and then I remember to pray. Oops.

And he posted a guard.  He saw the reality and dealt with it at great cost to his people and with impact on the project.  Nehemiah did what he had to do.  That is good advice for Christians. Sometimes we pray, ask God to take care of something, and then we sit back and watch.  Nehemiah’s example helps us to take necessary action.

Pray first, and post a guard if necessary.

“So, we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the starts came out.”  Nehemiah 4:21

The Bible summarizes all of this into a few paragraphs.  It looks so easy, doesn’t it?  I’m sure Nehemiah struggled, but he ended up with the right answers.  Nehemiah handled emotional and physical opposition by praying and posting a guard.  Social and personal opposition are still  around the corner, and will be the subject of my next post.

Can you relate to Nehemiah?  How do you handle opposition?

Posted in Government, Kingdom of God, Leadership, Life, Prayer | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

We Fail; God is Faithful

This gallery contains 1 photo.

How many of us can claim to always have made good decisions, to have consistently been kind, thoughtful and considerate of other people, and to have honored God above ourselves?  Obviously, that is a rhetorical question. We fail.  Regularly.  Thank … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Year of Love

This gallery contains 1 photo.

For some, Valentine’s Day means a perfunctory display of love, fed by florists, Hallmark and chocolatiers, but for me it is an opportunity  to remember love shown throughout the year.   Every year has its share of challenges and successes, good days and bad days, healthy and not-so-healthy times, and … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Would Jesus Commend Your Faith?

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.”  Hebrews chapter 11, later labeled the “Hall of Faith,” goes on to describe many heroes … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Answering the Question: What Do You Do?

This gallery contains 2 photos.

“What do you do?” This question should be banned from all party small talk.  I can never answer it adequately, and I always feel like I’ve left the most important part out of the discussion. The intent of this question is to find … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Are you looking for something to do with your children this Martin Luther King Jr. Day?  If they are old enough, I would recommend taking them to see a movie: Selma. My husband and I saw Selma last week, and it has stayed with me.  We have come … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

God is Active in Your Life…Whether You Know it or Not

This gallery contains 1 photo.

The book of Esther is one of the best reads in the Bible.  If you haven’t read it, I highly encourage it.  The book never mentions God,  prayer, or any overtly religious practice, yet it tells a story that can … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fiction and Non-Fiction: A Year of Reading

This gallery contains 2 photos.

It’s a life-long habit of mine to leave a novel next to my bed, and I cannot go to sleep without reading at least a few pages.  A good book gently removes the cares of the day from my mind while I get absorbed … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Christmas is Behind Us; Its Reality is With Us

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Christmas is behind us.   It was wonderful, and I am astonished once again at what God did for us.  Good family memories, fun stuff, and a few cookies are its left-overs.  It is almost time to take down the decorations, (a chore no … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Christmas Past

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Christmas was a wonderful time of the year for me when I was a child. Cookies, parties, church services and gifts were among the featured attractions, and I took full advantage of them.  Still do. We celebrated Jesus’s birth too. In my family the celebration of Jesus’s birth was central and … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments