Friday, May 21, 2010

A Sanballat Moment...

Sometimes you just know you're doing the right thing because of the attacks that come your way. Does this happen to you too? You step out to do what you know you should and the attacks start...It seems to happen to me frequently - the more I know I am walking in what God wants me to do, the more I am plagued by "naysayers" and doubt. I have learned, however, not to listen to those who tell me I'm crazy (otherwise I'd have never started homeschooling). I look at it almost like a backhanded confirmation. This morning, the Lord drew my attention to the story of Nehemiah. He was called to finish building the wall around Jerusalem. This was no small undertaking and almost as soon as Nehemiah started, Sanballat and Tobiah and their cronies gathered around to jeer and taunt and criticize.
Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews. 2And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?" 3Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, "Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!" (Nehemiah 4: 1 - 3 ESV)
This passage can teach us about our critics. First, critics seldom act on their own. There is safety in numbers. You certainly don't want to be the only critic in the crowd of onlookers! Second, they didn't come against Nehemiah until he began to build. Action brings about the opposition. "Knowing" what you should do isn't enough. And this passage is telling in another way, Sanballat was angry and that caused him to come against the Jews - He knew that they were doing the Lord's will and just wanted it stopped. Satan isn't interested in messing with us until we are fully committed to doing God's will. If we're just coasting, there won't be any opposition. Lukewarm and safe isn't going to draw any fire from the enemy.

What was Nehemiah's response? Did he cower with fear, run for cover, say "you're right, this is as crazy idea. Thanks for the warning." No. He prayed. And after he prayed, he got right back to the building. Verse 6 is my favorite.
 6So 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 emphasis mine)
 What an awesome response! "So we built the wall!" If you are feeling a bit under fire lately, perhaps it's because you are exactly where you're supposed to be. Confer with the Lord. He'll let you know your next steps. Then allow the Master Builder and Architect of your life direct you. The critics will always be there. Fine tune your hearing to the Lord's voice.
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)
I'd rather hear Jesus singing than my critics any day!!

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