Wednesday, July 20, 2022

            Nehemiah was a builder—or more properly, a rebuilder.  He was commissioned by God to rebuild the tattered and broken walls of Jerusalem.  He gave up a position of prestige and comfort in the Persian king’s court to take this position of service.  When he heard that his beloved Jerusalem was lying in trouble and disgrace, he cried (Nehemiah 1:3-4).  As we read Nehemiah, we immediately recognize that he faced opposition and encountered resistance as he tried to rebuild the walls.  He replied to his opponents in a clear and determined way.  “I sent him this reply: ‘Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.’  They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’  But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands’” (Nehemiah 6:8-9). 
            This response from Nehemiah to his opponents gives us some help in dealing with naysayers and opponents today.  We can encounter resistance as we seek to serve the Lord and do the work He has for us.  But these verses give us at least four strategies that we can use.  First, keep any opposition or trouble in perspective.  Do not make it out to be bigger than it is.  There is an old saying about making mountains out of mole hills.  Don’t elevate inconveniences into life-and-death matters.  Keep your head straight and your emotions under control when you encounter trials and headwinds in life.  Satan would love to distract you from what God has given you to do.  Some of his strategy involves making as much noise as possible to divert and distract us from where the Lord is leading.  He throws up a lot of mud with the hope that some of it will stick and throw us off-guard or off-stride.  Second, keep fears in perspective.  Much of what we fear in life never really comes to pass.  A lot of fears can be exaggerated and inflated beyond normal.  God is always greater than our fears so we have little to worry about.  John said, “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (I John 4:4).  Entrust your fears to the Lord.  Be honest about them.  Be transparent.  Acknowledge them before the Father who loves you and take comfort in His protective grace.  Your fears may not completely go away but you can navigate through them with the Father’s help.
            Third, trust God to supply the strength and resources necessary to do anything that He has directed you to do.  When God calls, He equips.  When God confirms us to His service, His qualifies us for it.  God’s strength is made known in our weakness and even perfected in our weakness.  Remember what the Lord said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).  And fourth, you can believe that God will supply what you need exactly when you need it.  God may not bring His grace or blessings in advance but He will certainly not be late in delivering them to you.  And He will not forget you or leave you to fend for yourself. Nehemiah noted His reliance upon the Lord God.  “Our enemies lost their self-confidence because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God” (Nehemiah 6:16b).  God brought these ancient enemies to shame and ruin.
            Near the end of Nehemiah, in chapter thirteen, he wrote the word “remember” several times.  He knew that God had remembered him and would remember him.  He knew the Lord’s memory was and is flawless and perfect.  He never doubted that God would act in the right ways and at the right time.  Such a foundational value is critical for us today.  We can bank on these certainties as we make our way through life each day.  Nehemiah teaches us to remember the Lord because He surely remembers us.  Have a great Wednesday!

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