Have you ever noticed when you are trying to move forward in the things that God wants you to do, opposition comes? In the book of Nehemiah, opposition came to Nehemiah when he began rebuilding the walls in Jerusalem. Nehemiah was confident of his task that he had prayed about, but he received opposition immediately, during, and right before completing the wall. In every generation, there are those who resist God’s people and try to block God’s purpose. When you set out to do God’s work, some will oppose you and some will hope that you fail. The work of rebuilding the wall progressed despite the opposition and discouragement, because the Nehemiah and his workers did not lose faith or give up, but they preserved because they knew God had given them an assignment to do.
Sanballat and Tobiah were two of the main opposing forces to Nehemiah. When Nehemiah almost had the wall completed, Sanballat and Tobiah realized their efforts were not working so they decided to attack Nehemiah’s character. They attacked Nehemiah personally with rumors and false reports. Personal attacks can hurt us deeply, especially when the criticism is unjustified. When you are living for God or doing His work, you may receive attacks on your character. Nehemiah overlooked and ignored the abuse, and he kept rebuilding the wall. Despite the resistance, the wall around Jerusalem was built in record time! Nehemiah kept pressing forward despite opposition, attacks on his character and false reports.
When opposition builds against you or the work you are doing for God, it can be tempting to pray, “Get me out of this Lord!” But Nehemiah prayed, “Strengthen my hands.” When Nehemiah prayed for strength, God always answered him.
Jesus even faced opposition. The Pharisees opposed Jesus!
Reflect and ponder: Have you felt opposition as you were trying to live for God or work for Him? Maybe the opposition is coming from the culture around you that is in opposition to the ways of God, or perhaps from religious groups. When you face opposition, do you quit, run and hide, or push through? What do you think God wants you to do?
In the book of Nehemiah, there were at least six types of oppositions that was encountered; you may encounter these as well as you are living for Christ. Be aware of the opposition that may come your way, so you can stand your ground and move forward.
1. The anger of others against you.
Most if not all of the anger will be unjustified. You most likely will feel sucker-punched by the angry blows directed towards you. When you get serious about living for God, the enemy will use people to stir anger towards you.
2. Mockery as you take a stand for Christ.
Others will wait for you to fail, so they can say, “See, I told you Christians were no different.” Your commitment to Christ threatens godless lifestyles.
The enemy gets more aggressive when you don’t back down, and will use intimidation against you. The enemy uses subtle and overt intimidation against Christians. If you make a stand for truth and God’s Word, intimidation comes to back you down and cause you to stop.
4. Discouragement and fatigue.
People usually get tired in the middle, not the beginning. The beginning of our relationship with Christ is exciting and fresh, and when we begin a new project for the Lord it can be exhilarating; but discouragement and fatigue can come strong as we are in the middle and we need a push to finish strong. Many right now just need a push to finish strong. When this happens, renew your commitment to the Lord, refresh with the Word of God, ask the Lord to strengthen you to finish strong, and gather strong supporters around you.
5. Negative reports.
These reports can come as our enemy to our faith. Negative reports seek to derail our faith and bring us down. Remember when the spies gave their narrative of the Promised Land in Numbers 13:28-29, their report was, “We are like grasshoppers in their sight. There is no way we can take the land.”
Fear is the biggest opposition we will face, this tactic is used when all the other opposing forces have not worked against you. The enemy will use fear to paralyze you, and abort the task He has called you to do.
When opposition comes, you can run and hide, compromise, or take a stand and move forward. When you face opposition don’t get angry, take vengeance, or allow it to steal your time and focus. There is a time to confront those who oppose God’s ways, but it should never become a distraction to your purpose. In our culture, Christians are compromising and neglecting what God says in order to “keep peace and not offend,” sinful actions and lifestyles. As Christians we must take a stand for truth.
MEDITATE ON THESE SCRIPTURES:
Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord God, great and awesome.
When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord God will lift up a standard against him.