Dealing With Opposition: Nehemiah #8
This is an exposition of Nehemiah 6:1-15. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered a Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, January 17, 2016.
Faith in Christ is the answer. Trusting Christ is the solution to your greatest need – peace with God. When you confess your sin, acknowledge your need of a Savior and trust in Christ alone the great need of your life is met. That does not mean your life in this sinful, fallen world, is nothing but blue skies from now on! Jesus himself said, “In this world you will have tribulation.” To be a follower of Christ in this world means to be in opposition to the world around you. To follow Christ is to swim against the current of popular culture. It is to be at odds with the morals and standards of secular culture. A fact that is becoming increasingly clear. This is why our Lord spoke of the Christian life in terms of “taking up your cross daily.” He spoke of narrow roads, persecution and testing times. Peter said to those persecuted, “Don’t act as if this is something strange or unprecedented. They persecuted Christ, they will persecute you.” Well pastor, thanks for the pep talk but where is this going?
Opposition and push-back are inevitable in this life.
You will face opposition.
Some of it will be severe and direct.
Some of it will be subtle and indirect.
How are we to respond to opposition?
That is the focus of our text this evening found in the 5th chapter of Nehemiah.
Text: Nehemiah 6:1-15
Nehemiah faced opposition from the moment he arrived in Jerusalem (2:10).
As work began on the wall opposition grew.
As the work progressed opposition intensified.
In the beginning the opposition came in the form of harassment and ridicule.
2:19 – But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?
4:1-3 – Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews.
And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?
Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!
Nehemiah and the workers continued and the threats became more forceful.
4:6-8 – So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.
4:11 – And our enemies said, They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work.
Nehemiah and the workers continued the work with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other!
But their opposition was not limited to enemies from without they also had to contend with enemies from within. In Nehemiah 5 lack of character accomplished what ridicule and physical threat could not. When corrupt leaders set aside the Law of God and oppressed the people they lost heart and stopped the work. Nehemiah dealt with matters firmly, directly and biblically. The work continued.
As we reach Nehemiah 6 the wall is completed. All that remains is to set the gates in place. The battle, however, is far from over. A new series of attacks begin. These are more subtle but nonetheless deadly. Nehemiah must face intrigue, innuendo and intimidation. Let’s look at the text.
We are often more vulnerable near the end of a great work. Battles have been fought and won. Victory is in sight and there is the tendency to let down our guard. As we explore our text we are reminded that…
Thesis: Believers overcome great opposition through an awareness of God’s call; dedication to God’s glory; and confidence in God’s goodness and presence.
There are three (3) things I want to point out in our text.
- A sense of divine calling and certainty of the task assigned enable the believer to resist the subtle call of compromise. (6:1-4)
- Assurance of his relationship to God and dedication to God’s will enable the believers to stand tall in the face of slander. (6:5-9)
- Absolute confidence in the power and provision of God means the believer cannot be intimidated by the threats of mere men. (6:10-15)
In this world we will have tribulation. We will find ourselves at odds with the culture around us. There will be opposition. Some of it will be direct, in our face and fierce. Some of it will be subtle and seem reasonable but is just as deadly. We must resist. But how?
We overcome great opposition through an awareness of God’s call; dedication to God’s glory; and confidence in God’s goodness and presence.