How to Combat Opposition Without and Within

Nehemiah gathered all the people, divided the job into sections and began the work of building the wall.  The task was immense. For that reason, until this time, the people had seen it as impossible.  They needed a leader who could break it down into sections; therefore, God sent Nehemiah.  With each group assigned a small section, the task now suddenly appears doable.  It is that way with most of the work you face.  Looking at the whole task, one tends to sit down in desperation; however, by breaking it into pieces, one gains new hope and invigoration to get the job done.  But opposition presented itself quickly; beginning with mockery and demoralizing jabs. Whenever one marches forward to do God’s work in this world, opposition arises. Satan places many roadblocks to cross.  How does one combat opposition from without and from within one’s own heart?

Those opposing the wall began with mockery. Sanballat began. “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they are doing? He scoffed. ‘do they think they can build the wall in a day if they offer enough sacrifices? And look at those charred stones they are pulling out of the rubbish and using again!’ Tobiah, who was standing beside him, remarked, ‘If even a fox walked along the top of their wall, it would collapse!” (Nehemiah 4:2-3, TLB).  In other words, “you bunch of weak, incompetent fools. You think God really is going to help you? Besides that, look at all that ruble and garbage! Even if you build it, it will fall down again.”

COMBAT OPPOSITION WITH TRUTH

The enemy, as you may recall; weren’t worshippers of God, they were foreign diplomats who wanted power. Nehemiah had made this clear, when he replied to their first criticisms: “The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall.  But you have no share, legal right, or historic claim in Jerusalem.”

In other words, “unless you bow down before the throne of God to worship Him; you have no say here.  This is God’s work and His work will be accomplished by Him through we, his servants.”  In other words, “Get behind me Satan.  I will not be deterred in doing God’s work.  He will provide a way.”

Just as a side note to place this all-in perspective. Sanballat, was an opportunist.  He, according to Josephus (a historian from the first century A.D.) was a governor over the area.  Furthermore, he had convinced the high priest of Judah to go against Gods laws and marry his daughter.  He did this to maintain a position of power.  He believed that a divided and diverse Israel was a controllable Israel.1 Although, there are some discrepancies with Josephus’ work; he does add some perspective and credence to God’s own inspired word.

COMBAT OPPOSITION WITH PRAYER

Sometimes, it is not necessary to speak or to get into a confrontation with the opposition.  During those times, prayer.  Nehemiah knew this battle, “against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).  And, Nehemiah who had the power to win this battle.  Instead of responding to the attacker; this time, Nehemiah just prayed.

“Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders” (Nehemiah 4: 4-5).

This opposition had demeaned God and caused the people to question their faith and their zeal to perform the task God commanded to “build that wall.”  Yes, we are to pray for the salvation of every soul; however, it is ok to ask God to justly punish evil as well.

We do not always have to come back with a statement. Certainly, we are not to respond with revenge. Sometimes, we need to remain silent and pray.  God has a plan and we need to let Him be God, our provider and our protector against the enemy. Oh, but very important here.  Don’t stop the work He commanded you do, while waiting for God to respond.  Keep working.  Most likely the opposition is going to get a lot worse; before, it gets better.

COMBAT OPPOSITION FROM WITHIN

Although, many times we may face opposition from without; sometimes, the opposition is within our own mind and heart. Particularly, following a victory.  It is at least for me.  Recently, I released two new books.  In addition, I am taking classes on line from Liberty University; working toward a master’s in theology.  Beyond that, I do work full time and continue to maintain and write for this website.  Every time I am standing in praise to God (perhaps for His having met a financial need, a spiritual victory, an answered prayer or miraculously the money stretches to the next paycheck).  Then, the voices come, Satan whispering, “You fool.  God couldn’t possibly love you.  What a weak, feeble foolish girl you are.  Even, if you finished the book; no one will read it.  With your history with money; why would God provide you a way?  And school, forget that.”

My response: “Satan, get out of my way; you have no place here in my sanctuary.” Then, I fall before God’s throne of grace; knowing, He has a plan and can use this fragile clay pot for His Glory.  He will provide a way through today and tomorrow.  After that, I get up and continue to march forward.

CONCLUSION:

Whatever opposition you face today; don’t forget to speak truth, pray, and keep marching forward.  Do not cease the labor of your hands God commanded you to do.

CONCLUDING TWEETS
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Two Newest Books Available
ABIDING, STEADFAST JOY      Abiding, Steadfast Joy

 

A labor of love, this book provides you with 3 foundations of truth from the scripture which once known will provide you with abiding, steadfast joy.  Undaunted by the storms of life; your joy will overflow.

WHEN INJUSTICE AND VIOLENCE REIGN:

Through a study of Nahum, Habukkuk, and Zephaniah; I brought their message into our modern times.  Answering the questions of “Why, God?”

Providing a foundation of faith and hope; even, as we see so much evil in the world and in our nation.  With so much sorrow and despair, this book I wrote to guide you into discovering God’s Perfect Plan of love; amid this chaotic world filled with life’s storms.

 

 

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If you want to know more about  other books I have written:  You can read more about each one at: Book Resources.

 

©Effie Darlene Barba, 2017

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned except for my own books.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Artwork courtesy of RoninRonCustomArt

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The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

What is the Significance of a Wall to Protect?

Nehemiah’s journey had been over two months and now he arrived into Jerusalem.  Along the way, he was protected by the army of King Artaxerxes.  He presented letters to the governors along the way and to the keeper of the king’s forests to provide him with the needed timber to build the wall. (Nehemiah 2:8).  Many who opposed him heard of his plans and were angered.  The wall would be a renewed symbol of strength and God’s protecting hand of grace upon His people.  Despite the opposition (many proclaiming themselves worshippers of God) having halted the building project through their letters to King Artaxerxes many years earlier.  Remember it was this same king who decreed all building to cease. (Ezra 4:21-23).  Now with letters to proceed, accompanied by the king’s army; Nehemiah entered the city. What is the significance of a wall to protect?

Upon his arrival, Nehemiah waited three days.  Most likely, days spent in prayer and surveying the skills of the people.  He did not tell them of his plans to rebuild the wall.  Then, after three days he went out at night to survey the project.  Riding a donkey, he surveyed the ruins; developing a plan.  There was an area so covered with debris it forced Nehemiah to dismount; because, the donkey could not walk through.  Imagine the size of this project.  However, as a leader; Nehemiah developed a plan for the building.  He knew God could complete the work; no matter, how difficult or impossible it appeared.  God is a God of the impossible: after all, it was God’s Grace that had brought him to this place at this time to accomplish this plan of building the wall.

WHY BUILD A WALL?

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Compromise in The Name of Love, Or Truly Love?

So, it was that Nehemiah began his journey.  King Artaxerxes presented him with letters of commendation to assist in his journey and that he might be provided with wood from the king’s forest to assist in the rebuilding of the wall.  Despite the king’s assistance, Nehemiah would face great opposition every step of his journey.  Willingly, he left the comfort of his prestigious position to face hardship; because, he held fast to God’s truth.  He would not compromise or adopt their ideologies to win their favor.  His only hope: God was with him, guiding and leading him.  Love demanded he take a stand for God as the supreme Lord and King of the universe.  He would take a stand for truth; regardless of attacks even upon his own life.  Resolved to accomplish God’s plan; because, true love demanded so.

All too often, in our attempts to demonstrate love; the church has been willing to compromise the truth of the gospel message.  Believing that by thus, we are moving into a new era of love. However, when in the name of love, we fail to address man’s plight as a sinner, separated from God’s love because of sin: we fail to love at all.  If indeed, my greatest treasure is an intimate relationship with God obtained by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ; then, my most unloving act would be to not take a stand for truth.  When, I join in the forces of those calling for truth to be relative to our ever-changing society; then, I have failed to love.  To truly love, I must in meekness and humility reach out a hand; proclaiming God’s truth as presented in the gospel.

THE DANGERS OF COMPROMISE: THE OUTCRY OF MODERNISM

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Dust Bits of The Heart Make Waiting So Hard

Nehemiah prayed from a heavy broken heart; uncertain, as to how God would intervene.  His final plea before God that day: “O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer (Nehemiah 1:11).   Continuing in prayer, he waited.  Nowhere are we told that Nehemiah knew God’s plan to send him until that fateful day, four months after the first prayer. Four months of praying, waiting and anticipating God’s response weighed heavy on Nehemiah. Waiting reveals the dust bits of our own heart.  Wondering, I ask; “Lord, am I the problem. My faith too shaky, my hands unclean, and my heart insincere, somehow?”

Perhaps for some, waiting causes them to doubt God’s ability or His desire to intervene in mankind’s dilemmas.  Some, even doubt His existence; yet, I daresay there are many, like me; who have come to know Him as the Supreme, Sovereign, Just and Righteous God of love, mercy and grace.  Then, when days, months or years pass; awaiting, anticipating God’s answer to a prayer: I don’t doubt His ability or His desire to bring me good; instead, I examine my own heart.  After all that He has shown me of His Grace, I realize that lurking in the crevices of my heart bits of dust collect that need to be cleansed once more.  Dust bits of pride, doubt, or selfishness; all leading to sin to crouch at the doorstep of my heart.  Somehow, perhaps that was Nehemiah; because, those who wait knowing God’s plan, aren’t so burdened.

DUST BITS OF THE HEART

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How to Have the Faith and Commitment to Finish Well

In the center of Nehemiah’s prayer lies the seven necessary elements needed by each Christian to hear God’s call, follow God’s call (regardless of the cost), and the fortitude to see the task through to completion.  Thus far, I have presented the first five keys: 1) compassion resulting from a heart that is broken for the oppressed and lost in the world; 2) a vision of God as the great I AM plus a vision of His plan for salvation; 3) conviction leading to repentance; 4) humility from realizing His magnitude of grace toward us; and 5: submission to His will.  Next, we will look at commitment and faith.

Nehemiah was called to leave the comfort in which he had been living to face danger, opposition, and hard work.  This would require a commitment which never looks back or doubts.  When others had returned to Jerusalem, he had stayed behind.  Now, God called upon him to build a wall.  The wall was a symbol of hope and God’s protection for the nation.  Were he to fail in this mission, the people lay open to siege, both physical and emotional.  The wall symbolized their separation from false ideologies and idolatry.  Even though, they once had a wall; they had chosen to allow in dangerous ideas, false religions, and evil by opening their gates. Now, as they turned their eyes back to God.  They needed a new fortified wall as a symbol of their separateness from the evils of the world around them.

Commitment

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