Daily Devotional Nehemiah 2:9–10
Like many people, I typically interpret opposition as a sign that I am doing something wrong, while a smooth road ahead makes me think I’m on the right path. We learned yesterday that God made the way smooth for Nehemiah, but today we read the first hint that not everyone would support Nehemiah’s mission. Should he take the displeasure of two important men as a sign he should not rebuild Jerusalem’s walls?
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
Of course not! This was just another opportunity for Nehemiah to put his trust in the Lord. He should stand strong in what God had called him to do—to love God and his neighbor by restoring Jerusalem. One of the opposers was Sanballat whose name means “Sin [the moon god] Gives Life.” Those familiar with the Old Testament will remember that the Ammonites were sworn enemies of Israel. Sanballat and Tobiah would continue to oppose Nehemiah’s efforts, but at every step of the way Nehemiah demonstrated trust in the Lord, refusing to turn away from what God has called him to do.
It is quite unlikely that God will call any of us to as huge a task as Nehemiah undertook, yet He has called all of us to love Him, love our neighbors, and share the gospel without fear. We should not be surprised when people oppose those efforts. Remember that Jesus taught His disciples to expect rejection. “If the world hates you,” Jesus said, “keep in mind that it hated me first...Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:18, 20).
We are no exception to the rule. When we spread the gospel of Christ, we will experience resistance. Do not lose heart!
>> Nehemiah’s story should encourage us to continue serving the Lord no matter what comes your way. Have you experienced hostility from others when you knew you were doing what God had asked you to do? How do you respond?
Pray with Us
Opposition is discouraging, making us question our own motives and calling. We seek Your guidance and wisdom, Lord. We need solid footing in You to be able to remain steadfast in the life You have for us.