Neh 4:1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble – burned as they are?
What if Nehemiah had listened to this?
When I first started writing, I cared too much what others thought. I checked my stats way too much. I checked for FB likes far too often. I needed that affirmation that my abilities were being used for good. Likes and shares are a poor indicator of eternal work.
One of fears strongest tactics is to convince us to care what others will think. When we are using our gifts and abilities, we will have some who love it and some who hate it. Period. When we stop performing for the world, and begin performing for an audience of One, everything changes. Our motives remain pure and true. Our giftedness can bloom and grow. When the fear of what others think is hanging around, we will not perform to the best of our abilities. Because we aren’t performing for the right audience. We will be trying to please too many people.
When we move into an area we feel called to, fear will speak louder.
Fear is the ultimate intimidator. It won’t be easily convinced to give up. (See Neh 2:19)
When desires give birth to passion, opposition will soon follow. The goal of opposition is to intimidate. Opposition is not our friend, nor should we listen to it. This is not a voice we should care what it says. It seeks to put to bed something God intends to be awakened.
Sanballet didn’t give up easily, and neither will our enemy. When Sanballet heard that the wall had been rebuilt, he sent Nehemiah a message requesting him to come visit. Nehemiah knew this was a plan devised to harm him and intimidate him, so he declined. Sanballet didn’t give up easily. On the fifth attempt, he changed the message and sent a letter claiming that it had been reported the Jews were planning a revolt, which is why they were building the wall. The letter threatened to proclaim this to the king in Judah.
I love Nehemiah’s response, such confidence, Neh 6:8-9 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.” I really, really love that line. “You are just making it up out of your head.” I will use this on fear when he whispers to my heart! Ok, back on track. Neh 6:9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
So much here. So much. Intimidation (fear) is relentless. Nehemiah is an example to us of how to stand strong in the Lord and fight back. How? He didn’t listen to fear’s voice. He knew his gifts, he knew his purpose, he trusted God to carry him through. But what I love is even in his giftedness, he never looked to himself. He always looked back to God. Even with great success to that point, when Sanballet tried to intimidate him saying their hands would get too weak, he didn’t believe it, but more than that, he prayed specifically for strength in his hands. He recognized who the giver of talents was.
So today can we look our everyday fears in the eyes (procrastination, busyness, people pleasing, however it is disguised) and say “You are just making it up in your head!” Then can we look to God and say, “Now strengthen my hands?”
This is Part 4 to a mini-series titled Everyday Fears. We are looking at Nehemiah and how a desire, which turned into a passion, was awakened in him and how he fought through fear to accomplish a purpose. Nehemiah is a big example. Don’t let that intimidate you. Our purposes aren’t always as grand as rebuilding a wall for a nation. Some of our purposes may seem so small that we feel silly sharing them. That’s what fear wants us to think. I pray through this series we will begin to examine what God has placed in us that begs to be awakened. Big or small, if God placed it in us, it needs to be awakened.
You can see all parts here: