Nehemiah Chapter Two (cont)
Nehemiah is given permission and resources to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls of the city and the gates as well. The king sends captains of his army with Nehemiah so he obviously knows that there is danger involved and not everyone in the city would be pleased to see Nehemiah arrive. One particular character in the story is Sanballat. Sanballat was a powerful man who despised the Jews and was exceedingly upset that one so influential and Nehemiah would arrive to seek the welfare of the Jewish people. Sanballat liked things the way they are – he didn’t want to see the walls restored or the gates rebuilt. No doubt he made his displeasure known over the course of Nehemiah’s first three days in the city.
Finally after three days Nehemiah gets up in the night for fear of his life and rides out to inspect the walls and the gates. He went by the dragon gate, the dung gate and the king’s pool. The wreckage was so immense that he couldn’t even get past on the ass that he was riding. In looking at your own life there will be times that the enemy of your soul – and people inspired by him will be distressed to see anyone stand on your side or seek to support you in any way. The enemy wants to keep you vulnerable and your life in disarray. God will send people to stand with you and be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Those who don’t see you the way God sees you will not be pleased and will keep a watchful eye and do anything they can to discourage and intimidate.
When you are in this position you may feel it would be easier just to go back to where you came from and leave things alone. Nehemiah was willing to risk his life when looking at a ruined city. You may be looking at ruined lives and people around them that want them to stay that way. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t be unwilling to get involved. It is very common today to look over the fence into the lives and situations of others and say “I don’t want to get involved…” Remember Nehemiah. Remember Jesus who looked down on us in our sin state and was willing to insinuate himself into the situation – to the point of death.
17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we [are] in, how Jerusalem [lieth] waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. 18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for [this] good [work]. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard [it], they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What [is] this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king? 20 Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.
Before we can see the glory of God around us we must also be willing to see the distress around us. Nehemiah could easily have been overwhelmed. Likewise looking at the lives of those around you – it can be overwhelming. In addition there are always people in proximity to this level of desperation who want nothing to change and will intimidate you and threaten you if you purpose to believe God for improvement. Sanballat is a mocker. Psalm 1 tells us not to sit in the seat of the mocker. You cannot give in to the temptation to try to convince people who scoff and have no faith for what God has put on your heart.
You can miss the day of your visitation by giving heed to mocking voices. Sanballat was a powerful man. He could have been a great ally. Nehemiah knew this but plainly tells Sanballat that he will have not part of what God is about to do. Likewise before you know who IS going to work with you – you need first to know who IS NOT going to be a part of what God is doing in your life. That may be your neighbor, or your close friend. It may be a family member – you have to cut those soul ties and move forward with what God has told you to do. When they inquire as to what is going on in your life – don’t answer them. They will only use it as an entry point to heap scorn and indifference upon you in order to weaken your resolve and kill your vision. When Nehemiah was questioned and mock he didn’t argue. He simply said “the God of heaven will prosper us for we are His servants…