Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 7 - Opposition

Nehemiah 4 : 6 – 23
Ephesians 6 : 10 - 18

Sanballat, Tobiah, and others were very angry with Jerusalem’s immediate success. They decided to plot against them and create more trouble. Nehemiah’s answer was to pray and set up a guard. When word came back to Nehemiah that they were going to attack even stronger than they expected, Nehemiah divided up the people to have some working on the wall and others stationed as armed guard ready to fight. I like verse 15, “When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work.” Once again, Nehemiah gave credit to God for their success.

Nehemiah found himself in unfamiliar territory as a foreman, cheerleader, and now an army general. Nehemiah began to follow a familiar pattern: prayer, planning, motivating. His answer to the workers is found in verse 14 was, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” We’ve all been in situations where we feel under attack, whether it is situational or spiritual. Nehemiah’s example is one we can follow – he turned to God. I cannot overemphasize the power in having a relationship with God established in prayer. It keeps us ready.

He also planned a strategy – set guards with swords around the wall. We can’t go at our enemies with real swords, but Ephesians 6 addresses the armor of God. Ephesians 6:17 says, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” We can be ready for an attack by digging into God’s word. The more familiar we are with what God is saying, the more we will see attacks that contradict God’s word. We can stand on the promises that God has given us in the Bible.

I would also like to discuss Nehemiah’s ability to motivate the people working on the wall. He encouraged them and reminded them that God was on their side. Who is your Nehemiah? Everyone needs a friend, spouse, or accountability partner that will provide motivation when under an attack. It is hard to be self motivated, and God never intended on us doing a job alone, as we have seen earlier in Nehemiah. If you do not have someone you are accountable to, I would encourage you to take action and find that person! Having someone share my burdens, praying for me, and holding me accountable has made a tremendous difference in my spiritual growth.

Are you allowing your relationship with God to frustrate attacks of opposition? Are you using the armor and defending yourself with the Sword of the Spirit? Are you turning to friends that can help motivate you in difficult situations?

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