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? 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.
(Nehemiah 2:19-20, KJV)
I'm just going to dive right into this one guys. I am itching to get to the meat of this article. So, Sanballat, Horonite, Tobiah, and Geshem all laughed at Nehemiah for rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. The city and walls of Jerusalem were previously destroyed and consumed with fire. Nehemiah was distraught over the ruins of Jerusalem and prayed to God for mercy.
The Children of Israel had for the umpteenth time rebelled against God; thus, the destruction of Jerusalem occurred. So, Nehemiah interceded for his people in prayer and fasting. He repented and petitioned God for relief. God granted Nehemiah favor, and it just so happened that Nehemiah was the king's cupbearer. He was perfectly positioned for a major opportunity.
When Nehemiah was at the king's side, the king noticed his sad countenance and asked him what was bothering him. Nehemiah spilled the beans on the destruction of Jerusalem. The king then asked him what could he do for him...
Umm, hello! Can we say favor? Nehemiah was a mere cupbearer for the king, and the king asked Nehemiah how he could assist him. The master asked how he could assist the servant. Listen, you've got to know that when God is in a plan, even kings, CEOs, and presidents will fall in line to bring the plan into fruition... Hold on let me praise God off of that real quick!
Alright, I'm back. So, Nehemiah told the king that he desired to rebuild Jerusalem. He petitioned resources and letters of approval from the king... and it was granted to him without any hesitation. Y'all! This scripture put a fire in me! Nehemiah was strategically placed as a cupbearer next to the king so that when the time was right, he would have resources and permission to rebuild Jerusalem. Do you see how intentional and meticulous God is? He will put you right where you need to be to do exactly what it is that you are called to do.
My God! Let's forge on before I start another praise break.
So when Nehemiah traveled to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, the remaining children of Israel assisted him after they heard of God's favor over him. Just look at how God provided resources for Nehemiah! He obtained the king's approval, resources, and labor and didn't pay a dime for any of it. It was all freely given to him by God because Nehemiah was doing the work of the Lord...
But then here comes the enemy.
Sanballat, Horonite, Tobiah, and Geshem mocked and laughed at Nehemiah when they saw him rebuilding the wall. As the book unfolds, we see more criticisms from them about the infrastructure of the wall. They said there were too many gaping holes in the wall. They mocked all the more because it appeared to be poorly built. But Nehemiah's critics didn't see what transpired before the rebuilding of the wall.
They didn't see how Nehemiah fasted and prayed day and night. They didn't see how God strategically placed Nehemiah next to the king. They didn't witness how the king approved of the rebuilding of the wall. They didn't know that the king willingly provided the resources for the wall. They couldn't see how the favor of the Lord was all over Nehemiah. They couldn't see how rebuilding the wall was ordained by God.
But they saw soon enough. When Nehemiah and the Jews rebuilt the wall in a mere 52 days, the laughing and mocking stopped. The harsh criticisms were subdued. When the wall was built, it had no gapping holes and it turned out just how God intended it to be. There was no question amongst the critics that the favor of the Lord was upon Nehemiah.
Whenever God gives you an assignment, there may be people who laugh at you when you are laying out your blueprints. You may have enemies that mock you when you are executing the plan. They may not understand what you are doing or why you are doing it. But that's okay. It's not for them to understand... it's for you to understand. If what you are doing is for the glory of the Lord, your critics will be silenced soon enough.
Yet, even after the wall was built, Nehemiah's enemies still tried to sabotage his work. Although the wall was built, the gates of the city and the city itself needed to be rebuilt. The enemy came to Nehemiah with false letters requesting him to temporarily cease rebuilding to meet with the king. They lied and said the king needed to meet with him because it was suspected that the Jews were going to rebel against the nation. But Nehemiah knew better and refused to stop rebuilding the city.
In the end, Jerusalem was restored and housed some 42,000 misplaced children of Israel. Nehemiah completed a great work for God. It came with abundant resources, but it also came with ridicule and distractions. At one point while the wall was being built, the enemy even plotted to kill the children of Israel. But Nehemiah and the children of Israel prayed to God, retrieved weapons for potential war, and kept building.
If you don't get anything from this article, get this. If God gave you the vision, He will also give you the approval, the resources, and the manpower to bring it to pass. But be aware. Whenever the enemy sees you building for God, he will criticize you, mock you, and laugh at you. But this is only to deter you. Don't you stop. You just keep praying, put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-18), and keep building. Soon enough the enemy will see that the favor of the Lord rest upon you.
But remember even after the work is complete, the enemy will still lurk to destroy. So stay vigilant. Be alert. Don't give the enemy any opportunity to knock down what God helped you build up. Do as Nehemiah and don't fall for the enemies lies and deceptive tricks. In the end, they will not prevail against you if you hold fast to God's hand.
If only the critics knew that Nehemiah was favored by God ahead of time, perhaps they would have withheld their laughter, ridicule, and devious plans. My fellow laborers in the gospel, if only your enemies knew who you worked for, then maybe they would have a change of heart towards you and your ministry. If only they knew how God has ordained you, maybe they would see the hand of God on your life and maybe they would not speak against the man/woman of God. If only they knew, maybe they would see that you are doing a great work and that God will prosper you before their very eyes.
But even if they never see it, you keep building for God.
But umm, umm, umm...
if only they knew.