Have you noticed when you try to do what is right that you often feel like everything is working against you? What keeps you going anyway?
For me it’s the fact God has called me to do something specific — and I’m going to try my best to obey and get it done. I learned a long time ago, you can’t make everyone happy. So my goal is to make God happy and let the chips fall where they may.
My Chronological readings this week have covered the orphan who becomes Queen Esther and Nehemiah, a cup bearer who becomes governor. These were two very real people in Biblical history. They both suffered persecution and the possibility of death for doing what God asked them to do.
Esther’s uncle and guardian Mordecai reminded her, “What if you are in the palace for such a time as this?” Queen Esther’s famous words are still heard today, “If I perish, I perish.”
Nehemiah had a cushy job working for the king. (Although with every taste of the king’s food to assure its safety, he could be poisoned.) Yet his heart was broken for the condition of Jerusalem. His spirit and soul was so weighed down it showed on his face. The king questioned him and approved the resources for Nehemiah to go in person and assist the people. When God burdens your heart about something, it’s always smart to listen and obey.
God’s enemies always mock the upright using slurs and name calling. Sanballat called the people building the walls “feeble Jews.” As Iva May said in my devotion, “God’s work always attracts opposition, as do God’s people.”
So what are the sneaky tricks used by God’s opposition we can be aware? They always mock the upright and stoop to name calling. They seek to demoralize by pointing out the hopelessness of the task. God’s enemies band together to create confusion. They are very good at working covertly. Nehemiah 4:11 states, “They will neither know or see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause their work to cease.”
They are also good at demanding meetings. Five times Sanballat and the crew sent messages to Nehemiah demanding they meet. The enemy falsely assumes the worst and tells everyone. This one is so true even in our churches today, “Everybody is talking ...”
In Nehemiah 6:6 it’s stated, “God’s enemies hide behind unnamed accusers.” This method is often true in politics and national news. God’s enemies use fear tactics by paying others to speak discouraging words to make the righteous look like paranoid cowards.
The enemy never concedes defeat and loves to write inflammatory letters. As Iva May says, “Today Tobiah would be an avid blogger.”
She also brings up some good points about adversity. “Had Nehemiah not had opposition, he may not have rushed to complete the building of the walls. Therefore God uses opposition redemptively to accomplish His purposes.”
We should do exactly as Nehemiah and Queen Esther did — cry out to God, remain focused on the task at hand and complete the task God has given us to do.
“Sometimes opposition is a divine opportunity to see God at work,” May said. So when opposition attacks, know that you are on the right path to catch the attention of the enemy. They aren’t upset at YOU personally — they hate God.
And the amazing God who created them and the Universe, loves us with all His heart! “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John 3:16.