Responding to Enemies
In Nehemiah 4 he is confronted by many different enemies that are looking to intimidate and stop his rebuilding effort. You may feel a little Nehemiah, trying to do what God calls you to do and yet confronted with opposition on all sides. Here are five things to do to overcome them.
- Pray: Prayer is powerful and effective. Nehemiah prays that their taunts are turned back on them (Neh 4:4) and it is. James reminds us that the prophet Elijah prayed and it did not rain for 3.5 years (Jam 5:17). When opposed turn to God and pray.
- Acts Faithfully. This is an argument from silence, but it is notable that Nehemiah does not resort to trickery or the same tactics his enemies are doing. Too many people today fail to trust God in difficult times. They lie, cheat, steal, and this means the enemy has already one. Don’t give in to pressure. Keep God commands!
- Develop Wise Strategies: Nehemiah comes up with several brilliant strategies. He sets people according to families (v13) which organizes them in manageable groups. He also set people along the wall with a trumpet (4:20), so that if any one group is attacked the others can quickly rally. This would be the ancient equivalent of a smart phone to text your friends! Remember that praying does remove the need for wise strategies.
- Perseverance: The people resolve to hunker down and work. Some work with one hand and carry a spear with the other (4:17). It also says none took off his clothes and kept his weapon at his right hand (4:23). Many times enemies will bully, intimidate, and spread false information. The best way to overcome is to persevere until they give up. There is no substitute for determination.
- Remember. A key to moving forward against opposition is what you remember. If all you remember is your enemies you will wither. Nehemiah tells his people to “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight…” (4:14). If we keep focused on God and his greatness, we remember we are not fighting just to get our way but for him. He can strengthen, sustain, and provide what we need. If you are discouraged, disappointed, and ready to give up perhaps you have lost this focus. And specifically remember Christ. Remember that at one time while you his enemy, you were reconciled to him through the death of his Son (Rom 5:10). That reminds you how thoroughly God can conquor his enemies.