Walk Through The Door

Our weekly article in the Northport Gazette and the West Alabama Gazetteî.

Watering the Tulips

06/06/2012

“For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, ‘Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.’ Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands” - Nehemiah 6:9

Nehemiah had been given an opportunity to do the Lord’s work. A door had been opened for him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1-3). Certainly, the providence of God had opened this door and Nehemiah was faithful enough to walk through the open door. However, this effort was not without opposition. Sanballat, the Samaritan leader and official of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, opposed the mission of Nehemiah, the faithful servant of God.

After Sanballat heard that the rebuilding of the walls had been completed (with the exception of the hanging of the gates), he sent word to Nehemiah that he opposed it. Actually, the word he sent was full of falsehoods. He even falsely accused Nehemiah of rebellion to which Nehemiah responded, “No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart” (Nehemiah 6:8). Certainly, Sanballat had not heard there was a rebellion. He, along with other Middle Eastern leaders, opposed anything and everything that the Jews ever did positively. The same is true today.

Nehemiah did not, however, get sidetracked by the falsehoods that were being spread. Certainly, he said they were inventions of Sanballat’s depraved heart. However, he recognized the real reason for the dishonesty. “For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, ‘Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.’ Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands” (Nehemiah 6:9). All of Sanballat’s idle chatter could be traced to one motive – he was opposing the door that God had opened to Nehemiah.
The persecution by Sanballat did not thwart God’s work. Nehemiah faithfully stayed on track and the walls were completed and the gates were hung (Nehemiah 6:15). When the enemies of God’s people heard that the work was completed, they “were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God” (Nehemiah 6:16).

As was the case with Nehemiah, the Lord has left us with a wide open commission (Matthew 28:18-20). We do not have time to get sidetracked. Opposition to the Lord’s work is not new. Certainly, Noah was opposed and mocked when he was building the ark. Pharaoh opposed the liberation of the children of Israel during the Exodus. In our text, Nehemiah was opposed. Our Lord and Savior was opposed at seemingly every turn. Certainly, the early churches received much opposition and were greatly persecuted. You can never enter into a door God has opened without expecting opposition. Though we certainly must always be glad that the Gospel is being preached even if it’s done for the wrong reasons (Philippians 1:12-18), we cannot expect that from those outside.

Children of God, let the example of Nehemiah be an encouragement to you. You may be opposed even by your own family (Matthew 10:35). But as long as the Lord is on your side, what do you have to fear (Romans 8:31).


Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net. ìYour app to the Gospelî is available for download in the iTunes app store and the Android market. Download it today.

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