Posts Tagged overcoming enemy
“When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!” Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders” (Neh. 4:1-5).
When we read this narrative, most of us cannot relate to the violent persecution Nehemiah and the workers endure. As a church planter, I face many challenges and plenty of opposition to our vision, but at least I don’t have “the army of Samaria” breathing down my back.
But what is worse? Facing an angry mob you can see with their clubs and spears, or having your character assassinated, enduring the onslaught of unseen enemies spreading lies behind your back, accusing you of evil motives, deriding your ambition and mocking your hard work? As for me, somedays I’d almost rather face with the blatant attack of a physical enemy head on, than go to bed battling the voice inside my head — doubting, accusing, questioning. We all know that the biggest lie we’ve ever been told is that “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Words can paralyze the strongest of people.
Nehemiah is a strong leader, and he knows he is doing the Lord’s work. But it isn’t too long into the rebuilding that he gets an ear full of heart-piercing slander and derision. Here’s how Raymond Brown summarizes the verbal assault in the passage above: Read the rest of this entry »