Be Gone, Ye Taunts!

Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews. And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, ‘What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?’ Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, ‘Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!’ Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads… But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night. 

In Judah it was said, ‘The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.’ And our enemies said, ‘They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work.’ At that time the Jews who lived near them came from all directions and said to us ten times, ‘You must return to us.’” Nehemiah 4:1-4,7-12

Anger, rage, jeering and jaunts did not shake Nehemiah to fear or self-pity, but prodded him to pray and leave them to the handling of his God. Plots and threats from viable enemies did not unsettle him, but caused him to ask God for protection and act practically to set up guards. Complaining from within his own camp at the hopeless, overwhelming task, and persistent efforts from every enemy and direction to stop their work never succeeded in dissuading Nehemiah from his God-given call to rebuild the wall. He faced his taunts head-on and courageously bid them ‘be gone.’

Snow on stone wall, St. Louis

The devil has many strategies he uses against God’s children, many tricks of his wily trade to turn us from Him and His will. He’s smart. He knows what is effective in veering us off course, freezing out our fervor, tripping up our rhythm, discouraging our efforts. He deceives us to think wrongly and lies to us about ourselves and our opposition. This is who he is and what he does. But no matter how vehement his hatred, how venomous his accusations, how cruel his taunts, our Lord and His keeping power and love are greater. (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:14; Ephesians 6:11; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 4:4)

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution?.. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:31,33-35,37,39

Be gone, ye taunts! Welcome, and reign, Jesus my Rock.

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