Have you ever had people in your life whom you’d swear their sole purpose is trying to block you from being successful? No matter what you do, it’s wrong. Every decision you make is either questioned outright or ridiculed. It makes no difference what you intend to do; they’re hell-bent (no pun intended) on preventing you from doing it.
If so, you have a lot in common with a man named Nehemiah.
Nehemiah was a prophet in the Old Testament who was called to lead the people of Jerusalem in rebuilding a fortress around the city. The old fortress was destroyed, making Jerusalem vulnerable to enemy attacks. After seeking counsel from the Lord, he gathered a willing group of labourers to begin construction on the wall.
Not everyone was on board with the plan. Nehemiah had three haters, Tobiah, Sanballat, and Geshem. They openly mocked Nehemiah. They accused him of staging a rebellion against the king. Worst of all, they told him that he would never succeed.
Nehemiah responded with this: “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”
He silenced his critics by reminding them that God was on his side–no matter what. As Nehemiah and the builders worked on the wall, Tobiah, Sanballat and Geshem grew more and more outraged. They continued to shout insults, referring to the builders as feeble and weak. But Nehemiah wasn’t fazed at all. In fact, he responded to their insults, not by lashing out, but through prayer:
“Hear us, O 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 because they have thrown insults in the face of the builders”.
Nehemiah possessed the faith, vision, and perseverance to complete the assignment that God gave him, but that didn’t stop Tobiah, Sanballat, and Geshem from attempting to thwart him at every turn. Unbeknownst to them, there were Jews near their camp who reported every plan they made to Nehemiah, so whenever they tried to play one of their tricks, he was prepared.
As a result, the wall was always protected.
Nehemiah also faced opposition from within his camp. The people of Judah began to doubt the resolve of the builders. They were worried that the wall wouldn’t be completed. Facing opposing forces from within and without, Nehemiah stationed people to guard the weakest points of the wall with swords, spears, and bows. Once he appraised the situation, Nehemiah addressed his people: “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and daughters, your wives, and your homes”.
He admonished them to focus on what was important. The wall was being rebuilt to protect the city. God was the one who ordained them to do it so they would have to see it through to the end. Nehemiah placed all of his confidence in the God who gave him the vision. In spite of the obstacles, he moved forward with his duty. In a last desperate attempt, Tobiah, Sanballat, and Geshem tried to lure Nehemiah away from the construction so they could kill him. They sent three letters requesting a meeting with him. Each time he refused because, as a prophet, he had both the experience and the foresight to know that they would do him harm.
To make a long story short, the wall was rebuilt. Jerusalem was returned to its former glory, much to the consternation of her enemies. Nothing was written about what happened to Sanballat and Geshem, but that old snake, Tobiah weaseled his way into the temple through his friend, Eliashib the High Priest.
Eliashib leased a room, set aside for storage, so Tobiah could carry out his business. When Nehemiah found out, he told Tobiah to leave, tossed out all of his belongings, and purified the room so they could store the items relevant for temple work.
Nehemiah’s message was clear, “If you didn’t support me in the beginning you will not be able to stand with me at the end.”
You will face opposition in your life, but what you do when you’re opposed will determine whether you fulfill the calling on you life, or whether you allow difficulties to block you. Nehemiah had the drive to see the assignment through to the end. He trusted in his God, so he was not discouraged or intimidated.
That which God has blessed no man can curse.