“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.., ‘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…’ So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.
“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.’ So… I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I… said to the nobles and the officials and the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes… Our God will fight for us.’” Nehemiah 4:1-4,6-14,20b
He could have caved, buckled, given up, believed the lies. But Nehemiah feared God more than he feared man, and his resolve was only strengthened in light of the attacks on him and the work of rebuilding he led. He deflected every taunt to his Captain, every lie to his Truth, every accusation to his Judge, every plot to his Mastermind, every rage to his Prince of Peace.
He had many to deflect, and so do we. Fears from within that we will not have the creativity or ability or strength to do what is required. Individuals at work or friend groups or in our families who oppose our faith or moral stance, or question the legitimacy of our work or ministry. Enemies who ridicule and taunt out of insecurity or cruelty. Even those who love us but are fearful and negative themselves, and project their anxiety and negativity on us.
Nehemiah prays about everything, and so can we. He practically prepares and strategizes for opposition, and so can we. He rallies his people to remember the Lord. And we must remember Him too. He is great and awesome, and fights our every battle!
Lord, when the world overwhelms, may I advance believing and displaying that the battle is Yours, and You ultimately win. (2 Chronicles 20:15)