Opposition is sure to come when we serve the Lord, whether publicly or privately. In Nehemiah 4-6, disapproval grows as progress is made. In trying times, remember God’s greatness and that He sent you with a purpose to make a difference; furthermore, remind those who are helping you.
“I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, ‘Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the great and awe-inspiring Lord, and fight for your countrymen, your songs and daughters, your wives and homes.’” –Neh. 4:14
Instead of focusing on the bad, there are two things to keep in mind when we are doing work we feel God has us called to: first, devote your work to His kingdom (Nehemiah 5:16); second, be devoted to your work (Nehemiah 6:3). Don’t be distracted by the discontentment of others, but be fueled by it. Ask for help from the Lord and rest in knowing He has your back and let your work ethic and finished product ultimately exemplify Him.
“When all our enemies hear this, all surrounding nations were intimidated and lost their confidence, for they realized that this task had been accomplished by our God.” –Neh. 6:16
The New Testament reading today pointed people to God as well. 3,000 people were saved in this passage. Take a second and let that soak in—three thousand. And they weren’t just a random group of people, they were the people of Israel. Isn’t it amazing how our God can take a cupbearer and make him a rebuilder of a nation (Nehemiah) and take those who persecuted His son and change their lives forever? That said, we must take note that the promise of God stretches to the least likely receivers of the gospel. We are not to be intimidated by opposition, but to take it as an opportunity to reach those far from His word and share His glory through our work and our words.
“For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” -Acts 2:39