“So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work” — Nehemiah 4:6
Opposition comes when God calls on His people to take on difficult tasks.
The book of Nehemiah tells the story of how God called a lowly cup bearer in the court of the Persian King to lead God’s people in restoring the walls of Jerusalem. Sin toward God and neglect of his Law is confessed. Opposition to the good work is strong, but Nehemiah leads the people to stand on guard while they also continue to rebuild. Chapter four tells of how in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, load bearers, “…were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with on hand and held his weapon with the other.” (Nehemiah 4:17)
Nehemiah tells the story of restoration after exile. The people of God were rightly judged for rejecting their Lord, yet in His mercy, the Jewish exiles of a new generation are called to return home. Their home lay in ruins, bad choices from previous generations caused much damage and now a new generation of God’s people determined to restore God’s temple and His city to its previous glory. Along the way, there was opposition from two occupying governors, Sanballat and Tobiah; “…it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel.” (Nehemiah 2:10).
As our community faces difficult decisions, we must be reminded that opposition will come to those who must do the difficult work. Tempers rise, fear controls, words are spoken, and division settles in.
I have listened to many opinions and frustrations on the Dickenson County School System decisions coming this year. It reminds me of what Nehemiah faced as he led the people of God in restoring glory to God’s city, a city in ruins out of neglect and disobedience.
My prayer for our congregation and our community is that we would all be a people who have a mind to work for the welfare of the people of Dickenson County. Let us seek God’s best for us and then work together in unity.
Are you like the Jewish people following Nehemiah? or are you of the opposition like Sanballat and Tobiah? If we stand together in Christ, the walls can be rebuilt, even if we must work with one hand and defend against opposition with the other.
I pray for humility. I pray for peace. I pray that God’s will be done for our community and our Church.
In HIS Grip
Pastor Bryant Owens