Bible in a Year – Day 145: Facing Opposition
It dawned on me today, as I read these chapters of Nehemiah’s story, that very little of any importance has ever been done without facing opposition. It seems that there are always people around to oppose even the noblest of plans. But, in reading Nehemiah’s response, I think we can learn a few things.
First, Nehemiah remains calm in the face of opposition. Throughout the process of building the wall, Nehemiah is being intimidated by those who desire to bring his project to an end. And yet, Nehemiah maintains a steady hand. He knows that he has been called by God to lead this rebuilding and he’s not going to let anyone stand in his way.
Secondly, he continues to do the work. It is tempting, when faced with any kind of adversity, to quit what you’re doing and focus your efforts on addressing the issue at hand. But Nehemiah, in his wisdom, kept the work going, even as he addressed the threats and intimidation.
The third thing I think we can learn from Nehemiah is that threats should be taken seriously. I mean, even though he maintained a steady hand and even though he continued work on the wall, he made sure that his people were prepared to confront any threats. In fact, he sacrificed some efficiency in the building process in order to be sure that they were armed. I mean, I would imagine that taking half of your working force and turning them into armed guards would slow your progress. And, the image of the material carriers doing their job with one hand, while wielding a weapon in the other is pretty humorous. But, as I said before, the work was continuing to move forward. Nehemiah managed to balance progress and protection in a way that helped the project move forward.
I wonder how well I face opposition – especially in the form of human opposition to God’s desires. In thinking back to times where I’ve faced opposition, I’m not sure that I have been very good at doing the things Nehemiah did. Was I calm in the face of accusations and threats? Did I continue to press through, or did I allow myself to become distracted by my accusers? And did I find a way to prepare my defense, while also continuing to make progress on my assigned project?
What typically happens in my life is that I get frustrated, distracted and careless. I let my guard down, quit making progress and allow someone else to get the best of me. The kind of response that Nehemiah had must be empowered by the Holy Spirit, but too often, I find that I try to rely on my own strength in those moments and, frankly, I tend to mess it up!
- Leaning In – The Positive Power of Opposition
- Bible in a Year – Day 299: False Foundations
- Bible in a Year – Day 168: Trust Issues
- Bible in a Year – Day 149: Look at Me!
- Bible in a Year – Day 148: Joy in the Journey
- Bible in a Year – Day 147: Two Pictures
- Bible in a Year – Day 146: Feels Right
- Bible in a Year – Day 144: Crazy for Community