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Daily Devotional Nehemiah 2:19–20

I was mocked a lot as a kid. I was dorky, into video games, bad at sports, short, and weighed more than most kids my age. Mocking and ridicule hurt. Although the people in today’s passage weren’t ridiculed because of their physical appearance or their inability to throw a football, I’m certain they still felt the sting of the words hurled against them.

The God of heaven will give us success.


Nehemiah had shared with God’s people all the Lord had done to bring them to Jerusalem, and God had given them the courage to join Nehemiah in the seemingly impossible task of restoring Jerusalem’s wall. Perhaps you can imagine the joy and excitement they felt when they listened to Nehemiah and knew, just knew, that God was going to do a mighty work.

That is when their enemies—and the Enemy—attacked: “But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. ‘What is this you are doing?’ they asked. ‘Are you rebelling against the king?’” (v. 19). The people now had a decision to make: Would they walk away from the task because of the scorn and mockery of others? Would they second-guess their God and what He called them to do? Or would they trust the Lord, pick up their tools, and get to work?

The very next verse tells us their response, and it gives us an important strategy in similar situations. Rather than believe the enemies’ lies, Nehemiah focused on what he knew was true: “I answered them by saying, ‘The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it’” (v. 20).

>> When God gives us a task, we should not listen to those who question and ridicule. Consider all the people who undertook what seemed impossible for God: Noah, Joshua, Mary, Peter. Keep your focus on Him. God will give you success!

Pray with Us

God, Your idea of success doesn’t always align with ours. Teach us to measure our success according to Your standards. May our focus be on loving and obeying You, more than on concrete results. We rely on Your wisdom and guidance.

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