ovecoming opposition

NEHEMIAH – GOD’S CALL TO BUILD THE WALL (9)

(January 16, 2023) Hope Flinchbaugh, concludes her reflections on Nehemiah’s commission from God

I’ve been sharing how Nehemiah, although an exile in Babylon, was cupbearer to Artaxerxes the king of Persia.

On learning the plight of his troubled people back home in Jerusalem and the city’s broken-down wall, he had wept and prayed to God for guidance and help (Nehemiah 1).

The outcome was that he obtained permission, and letters of authority, from the king to return home (Nehemiah 2).

In effect Nehemiah responded to God’s call to build that wall… and I’ve been encouraging you, dear reader, to respond to whatever God’s calling on your life may be.

God our amazing helper
Nehemiah 6:15-16NASB declares that, despite opposition, ‘… the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they realised that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.’

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NEHEMIAH – GOD’S CALL TO BUILD THE WALL (8)

(October 29, 2022) Hope Flinchbaugh, reflecting on Nehemiah’s commission from God, shares challenges in respect of ‘A Leader’s Response to Opposition’ (Part 2).

Like all leaders, Nehemiah faced opposition – but he did not cower!

As he and his friends (men and women) are making mortar, finding usable stones, they were reproached by their enemies, non-Jewish local governors

Nehemiah 2:19 tells us of their challenge –
‘But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Gesham the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?”

Verse 20 tells of Nehemiah’s bold response –
‘So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.”’

Expect opposition
When you begin to build where no one’s built before or you rebuild what was torn down by an enemy, you can expect some opposition. Somebody somewhere is going to say to your face or behind your back, ‘I am very displeased that you have come here to seek the welfare of these people.’

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NEHEMIAH – GOD’S CALL TO BUILD THE WALL (Part 7)

(September 24, 2022) Hope Flinchbaugh, sharing more insights on Nehemiah’s commission from God, now reminds us of A Leader’s Response to Opposition’ (Part 1).

Nehemiah was called by God to rebuild and restore Jerusalem. He had the king’s permission and visas to pass through all the territories on the way. He even had a letter from the king that gave him permission to order a supply of the best lumber for the rebuilding – (all paid in full!).

On his way to Jerusalem, two men tried to stop Nehemiah.

Resistance
In Nehemiah 2:9-10NKJV we read, ‘Then I went to the governors in the region beyond the River, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me. When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of it, they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel.’ 

Verse eleven says that Nehemiah made it to Jerusalem despite the resistance of Sanballat and Tobiah and he stayed three days.

Interestingly, he didn’t tell anyone in Jerusalem why he was there. Imagine being this important in the kingdom and embarking on this amazing prophetic journey and yet not letting everyone know the importance of your mission when you arrive!

Nehemiah was definitely working for heaven, not seeking permission from people. His responses to opposition?

Response 1 – Trusting God
Verse 12NASB tells that ‘… I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. I did not tell anyone what my God was putting into my mind to do for Jerusalem and there was no animal with me except the animal on which I was riding.’

  • Nehemiah didn’t blow a trumpet he wielded a flashlight.
  • He only took a few trusted men with him – and scouted out the land.
  • He went out at night without fanfare – but with the presence of God.

We might wonder why he so casually points out that there was no other animals along with them. Think about it. Sanballat and Tobiah, his opposers, couldn’t have been that far away. Nehemiah was keeping things as quiet as possible that night, avoiding any unwanted noise, until he had seen for himself the damage of the Jerusalem walls, what he was up against.

Well, that’s like you or I writing, ‘I went out to check out an old, abandoned building in the ghettoes of Los Angeles in the middle of the night, but I didn’t bring the police, my wallet, or my cell phone! I don’t have an escape route planned, I just need to get out there and see what God says to me.’ 

Nehemiah was determined not only to be unobserved, but that he would do some observing! And, in seeing what lay ahead of him… hear from heaven regarding his challenge and commission!

‘The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work’ (Nehemiah 2:16).

Response 2 – Choosing the right moment!
We don’t know if Nehemiah reported his mission to the men who were with him that very night or if he waited until morning. But while inspecting the walls that night, he knew what they didn’t know – the king had given him permission to rebuild.

Imagine holding that secret! But there are times we must hold such a secret until the moment that God releases us to explain our purpose and bid others to join us. Finally, that moment came.

Nehemiah records: ‘Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.” I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work’ (Nehemiah 2:17-18NASB).

Response 3 Refusing to cower
And so Nehemiah dives in! He and his friends are making mortar, finding new stones and recovering old ones, some of them burned and not usable. Even then, his enemies immediately reproach him!

But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?” So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem’ (Nehemiah 2:19-20).

When faced with opposition, Nehemiah did not cower. He did not explain that he carried visas, he had the king’s lumber, and he definitely had the king’s favour.

Response 4 – Knowing your authority
In fact, Nehemiah didn’t even mention King Artaxerxes! The first statement he made was that he was there under the authority of God Himself! Boldly he declared, ‘The God of heaven Himself will prosper us, therefore we His servants will arise and build.’

Can you sense the confident tone of his voice here? You too can be confident in building your ‘Jerusalem wall’ if you really know that God Himself is your covering, your source, your authority!

My friend, whatever God has called you to do, go fearlessly and do it under the authority of God. You may have permission from a committee or from a king, and you will have opposition – but ultimately your authority comes from heaven. Hallelujah!

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Hope Flinchbaugh, editor-in-chief of Hope Editors, a special team helping publishers and authors, has written three historical fiction novels and two nonfiction books. Hope’s love for children is evident in her delightful Baby Babbles series… available from Amazon Author Page or International Orders Here.  

I Come to the Garden Alone… Jesus is waiting – come and talk to Him, is Hope’s inspiring daily devotions booklet. Hope’s Amazon Author Page. Link: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com
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IGNORING ‘GIGANTIC TOWERS’ IN 2020!

(January 9, 2020) Norman and Margaret Moss encourage us to fearlessly move ahead in 2020…

Last month, December 6, so many people were enthralled as they watched four 400ft high gigantic cooling towers of the former powers station at Ironbridge, near Telford in Shropshire, England adjacent to the River Severn, being demolished.

Those unused, colossal towers, which had dominated the landscape for almost 50 years, came crashing down.  Carefully controlled explosion meant that all four collapsed in four seconds! 

Demolition leads to proposed advancement
Of course it was obvious that there had been months of preparation, and that there would be an ensuing massive clearing up operation lasting a long while. But those four seconds were amazing to watch.

The reality is that most of us enjoy a good demolition!  You can see it too – Ironside Towers Demolition. (more…)