Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah - Session 8 (no audio available)

Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah - Session 8 (no audio available)

Scripture: Nehemiah 6:1-9
Sermon: Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah - Week 8 (no audio available)

Scripture: Nehemiah 6:1-9
Sermon: Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah - Week 8 (no audio available)

When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah,  Geshem  the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it - though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates - Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: "Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono. "

But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to them with this reply: "I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?" Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.

Then, the fifth time, Sanballat  sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter in which was written.

"It is reported among the nations - and Geshem says it is true - that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: 'There is a king in Judah!' Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together."

I sent him this reply: "Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head."

They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, "Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed."  But I prayed, "Now strengthen my hands."

One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, "Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple , and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you-by night they are coming to kill you."

But I said, "Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!" I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me  because Tobiah and Sanballat  had hired him. He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me. 

Remember  Tobiah and Sanballat,  my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophet  Noadiah and how she and the rest of the prophets  have been trying to intimidate me. So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.

When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.

Also, in those days the nobles of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah, and replies from Tobiah kept coming to them. For many in Judah were under oath to him, since he was son-in-law to Shekaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. Moreover, they kept reporting to me his good deeds and then telling him what I said. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.

-Nehemiah 6:1-19


 Vision Invites Opposition
Pastor Matt Bowman

We talk a lot in church & leadership circles about discovering God's vision & pursuing it. However, we don't talk as much about what to do when opposition to that vision comes. It's totally understandable. After all, if people haven't been gripped by God's vision for their lives, reminding them that doing so invites resistance & opposition may very well ensure they never embrace God's plan. However, failing to share this important truth & how to deal with it is just as crippling because if someone is energized by a vision from God for his life & then encounters heavy opposition to pursuing that vision, there's a pretty good chance the discouragement that comes with that will knock him off course, possibly to the point of never seeing what could have been become reality.

Vision invites opposition. It always does. Vision challenges the status quo, & there are always defenders of the status quo. That's where the "we've never done it that way before" crowd comes from, & that mindset is not just alive & well in church. They are in every area of your life. When parents decide to really begin to lead their children in a more godly way, you can bet their kids will push back because "we've never done that before". That same mindset exists at your job, in your family, in your friends, & to a degree in your own heart. You better believe that if you decide to get behind God's vision, you will face opposition. That's not up for debate, so what do you do when the opposition comes?

Nehemiah 4 & 6 sheds some light on how to handle all kinds of opposition. Nehemiah & the people encountered constant opposition during their 52 day building project. Their enemies loved to try to intimidate them. They mocked them, ridiculed them, & spread rumors of a literal military attack on Jerusalem all in hopes of intimidating the people into simply walking off the job & giving up on the vision that God has called them to. They also tried to distract Nehemiah from his calling. On the surface, what they were asking Nehemiah to do didn't seem bad, but it would keep him from God's call. So how did Nehemiah lead the people to respond to this opposition. Nehemiah responded to the intimidation with prayer & preparation. When the intimidation began to take root in the hearts of the people, he redirected their attention away from the object of their fear to the object of their faith. He told them to "remember their God who is great & awesome." When faced with distractions that on the surface seemed to be good things, Nehemiah responded with focus on God's things. Over & over again, Nehemiah said, "I am doing a great work & cannot come down." Prayer, preparation, faith, & focus were key in responding to the opposition, & in every situation he reminded them of their God & the vision that God had given them to rebuild the wall & restore God's glory among the nations.

The next time you're faced with resistance to pursuing God's vision whether it's intimidation by those who don't want to see change or whether it's simply a distraction that will dilute your focus respond by focusing on the vision because...

"Opposition To God's Vision Is An Opportunity To Rally Around God's Vision."

Intimidation is usually nothing more than a scare tactic designed to get you & I to quit before we ever start. The way to respond is to simply "remember our God" & remember what it is He's called us to do, & then we must move forward with that vision. When opportunities come our way the question isn't whether they are good or bad but whether or not they help us see God's vision become a reality. Always go back to who your God is, who He's calling you to be, & what He's calling you to do. Rally around that in the face of opposition & God will grant you the grace & faith to stand & advance toward God's call on your life.