Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Obedience is Synonymous with Opposition

Scripture: Nehemiah 4:1-3
Now it came about that when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious and very angry and mocked the Jews. He spoke in the presence of his brothers and the wealthy men of Samaria and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble even the burned ones?" Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him and he said, "Even what they are building-- if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!"

Insights: Opposition is inevitable for a person of faith.  It is absolutely vital to understand that Christ-followers have an enemy and his name is Satan.  He will use people, circumstances or whatever device he has to trip up a believer, especially a believer walking by faith.  I want you to notice God did not allow Nehemiah to be built without opposition.  What incited Sanballat’s anger was the change taking place in Jerusalem.  Critics don’t like change of any kind and they let the world know of their dissatisfaction when change does come.  It is also interesting to note in today’s passage that critics are never alone.  They run in packs with other critics.  They are like garbage dumps that attract more garbage to join their stink.  Let me interject here that not all criticism is bad.  As Christ-followers we need to recognize Godly criticism that needs to be headed to and criticism like Sanballat’s that just needs to be ignored.  Another thing I want you to notice is criticism quickly escalates to sarcasms.  Look at Tobiah’s comment about foxes knocking down the wall if they jumped on it.  The only goal Tobiah has in this ugly affair is to discourage the people of Jerusalem.  Something I want you to understand in the midst of all this criticism and opposition is Nehemiah is not the one how originated this building program.  Nehemiah is just the tool God is using to bring about His will.  Chuck Swindoll wrote about these verses, “Critics constantly look at situations from a human point of view—their walls, their plans, their procedure, their arrangement. They don't stop to think that they may be criticizing Gods project.”  Why Swindoll’s words are true is because critical people have a hard time taking giant steps of faith.  What we need to keep in mind is progress for God ought not to be stopped because of a few people who oppose His plan.

  1. As you are living a life of faith, what opposition are you facing?
  2. Are you a critical person opposing people of faith?
Prayer: Father, if I have become trapped by faithless pursuits and become critical and opposing to those walking by faith, forgive me and change my heart.  Let my life be known as one of faith and give me the courage to believe You.  Amen.

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