Well, like today, Jerusalem had enemies even back then. The Samarians hated the Jews and despised the fact that Nehi had come to pay any attention to these “poor silly people.” The truth is, once the walls and gates were rebuilt, the Jewish nation becomes a threat again – and they did not want that.
So, Sanballat and Tobiah were angry and despised what was going on. They began to mock and ridicule Nehi and the builders. Instead of reacting to their insults, Nehi answered with prayers:
4 Then I prayed, “Hear us, O our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land! 5 Do not ignore their guilt. Do not blot out their sins, for they have provoked you to anger here in the presence of the builders.”
Certainly, that’s wisdom enough for today: when scoffed, don’t react but pray. However, consider the tone of Nehi’s prayer. Is this the kind of prayer your pastor would have you pray today? I tend to believe that in our culture, we’d be counseled to have tollerance, turn the other cheek, and pray for mercy on them as we love them in spite of their harsh words.
The truth is, these people would just as well kill the Jews as look at them. Determined to carry out the task God had given him, Nehi wisely rotates half of the builders to be on guard while the other half continue their work. Furthermore, workers carried weapons on them while they continued to build. This slowed the progress, but was necessary to prevent the enemy from interfering.
So – what do we take away from this?
We need to recognize the task we’ve been given and seek His wisdom and help to complete it. When (not if) the enemy tries to interfere, no matter how trivial or significant, we need the determination to press on, but also the wisdom to guard ourselves.
Mainly, I take away from this chapter that God will be our defense. If He has given us the plan, He is faithful to provide us what we need to complete it. No setback, timeline, resource issue, enemy or harsh comment will be able to stand in the way.
What vision has God given you? What plan does He want you to be carrying out right now? Rebuilding your own walls? Rebuilding the walls around your family? What about ministry – are there walls to be rebuilt in your church? Your men’s ministry? Your community?
Something to consider…