When you follow Jesus or join in God’s work, there will be opposition.
Expect opposition from the world. … The “world” here is everyone not part of God’s people. That could include people in your family. … Sanballat opposes the wall because it affects his power. But this was also
This opposition comes in two forms:
Ridicule (Nehemiah 4:1-3). … Even today Christians are mocked. Some in the world encourage others to ridicule Christians (see Richard Dawkins). How should we respond to this ridicule? Do we respond with more ridicule and angry? No, we should respond with respect and with love. We should turn to God instead of taking vengeance on our own. Look at how Nehemiah responds. He prays for God to take care of it (Nehemiah 4:4-5). Nehemiah prays for justice. In the New Testament Jesus tells us to pray for mercy and forgiveness. That is not incompatible with Nehemiah’s prayer though.
Attacks (Nehemiah 4:7-8). … When the ridicule failed and the wall continued to go up, the enemies prepared to attack. How did Nehemiah and friends respond? They prayed to God and posted a guard (Nehemiah 4:9). This is the perfect marriage of prayer and practicality. They pray and also prepare themselves. There is no conflict between prayer and practical action.
Expect opposition from within the community of God’s people (Nehemiah 4:10-12). … The people working to rebuild the wall started complaining about the rubble. The rubble there was from when the Babylonians tore down the original wall. This rubble made it more difficult to put up the new wall because it had to be moved so they could work. Rebuilding is harder than building because of the rubble from past troubles. The rubble must be cleared, or even used, to rebuild. … Sometimes the enemy sows false disciples amongst true believers and uses them to discourage believers. Other times believers simply disagree or are mistaken in their action. … Nehemiah and the people stop building when it looks like attack is imminent. Let’s see what happened next.
Nehemiah told the people to fight (Nehemiah 4:14), and he said God would fight for them (Nehemiah 4:20). … There was no attack at that point. From then on half of the people worked on rebuilding the wall and the other half stood guard with spear and shield. … We are to fight and also that God will fight for us. We see here again the the pairing of practical action and faith. We do our best to fight our battles, but we also pray for strength to do so and we know God is right there with us, fighting by our side.