Nehemiah 2:10 When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.
A few weeks ago I preached a message from Ezra chapter four called “you will be attacked!” Honestly I wish that taking a stand for the Lord wouldn’t draw attacks, but there can be no doubt that it does. Satan’s hatred of God and the Gospel means those living for Him must be prepared for war.
The theme of Nehemiah two is one of planning, which follows the theme of prayer in chapter one. A big reason why he emphasized both prayer and planning in this mission to rebuild the wall is Nehemiah knew there would be many adversaries.
In the same way, Christians who are committed to Christ must prepare themselves to be attacked.
It isn’t a question of if we will be shot at…it is a question of how many times we will be shot at
2:10 tells us that Sanballat was “exceedingly grieved” about Nehemiah coming to help rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. Obviously, he was an enemy of the Jews who didn’t them to be able to defend themselves from attack. Today anger and rage is directed towards those who follow Christ for other reasons.
- Because we stand up for the Truths of Scripture
- Because our testimony and lifestyle is different than the worlds
- Because we confront their sin, as well as our own
- And because we
Regardless of the reasons, the attacks of Satan will be coming. So we must prepare ourselves for them
One way to do this is plan out solutions to problems ahead of time; Nehemiah kew that Sanballat and others would be incredibly angry about him rebuilding the wall. So he asked the king for official letters giving him protection during the journey to Jerusalem (2:7), and building materials (2:8).
We can also commit ourselves to the work ahead of time; Nehemiah made a commitment to the work of the wall on his journey over, so no matter what his enemies did, he always refused to quit the work. When the enemies asked him to meet them in a nearby town wanting to distract him (6:1-2) the response of Nehemiah was “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” (6:3).
Developing thick-skin is another way of dealing with attacks: Obviously a persons reputation and integrity is incredibly important. However, often when we respond with anger to the slander or lies of our enemies, it does greater damage to the testimony itself. Later in chapter six Nehemiah’s enemies send a letter (conveniently left unsealed) filled with lies, including one that he was going to make himself king. Instead of retaliating, Nehemiah said they had “feigned them in their heart” (6:8) or make the whole story up. A life of integrity and excellence refutes the lies that people use against us.
Be ready for war: Cliff Graham in his book “Day of War” writes a fictional conversation between David and one of his generals. Reading the book years ago, at statement in that conversation challenged me. David said, “every day is a day of war.” Its incredibly important that Christians on the front lines are ALWAYS ready for battle. Because they day that you aren’t is the day Satan will win a great victory.
Having enemies and being under attack is not enjoyable. But those who face anger and attack for the cause of Christ can indeed rejoice because they are persecuted for righteousness sake.