When people criticize and attack our character, competency, or compatibility in any particular sphere of life, we often get sensitive, angry, and hurt. Nehemiah faced this type of opposition yet remained steadfast in his trust in God. What we need to see is that Jesus leads us to rejoice in the face of opposition rather than defensiveness or discouragement.
1. Resolute for God’s Purposes
Nehemiah’s opponents tried every tactic to dissuade, discredit, and discourage Nehemiah from fortifying the walls of Jerusalem. Even as they threatened his very life, Nehemiah resolved to complete what God had called him to. We often mimic this type of busyness in our lives to avoid dealing with heart issues and accomplish our own goals. Yet in Jesus Christ, we are given a new identity to doggedly pursue God’s purposes rather than our own.
2. Reliant on God’s Power
Nehemiah knew only God could accomplish the task that was set before him. He prayed and called upon God to help him finish the building of the walls and deal with his enemies. We often want to rely on our own ability and power to deal with our problems. Yet we must remember that our final vindication will never come from what we do or accomplish. It will always be in the resurrection of Christ. He is our only help and hope.
3. Remembered to God’s Praise
After Jerusalem is fully protected, the people worship with their names recorded for all history. Our joy is that we are connected into this story, grafted in as the people of God, joining in the praise of Nehemiah and his people. As the new Jerusalem, we worship and praise our Savior Jesus Christ. Our legacy that we leave is our identity and joy as the people of God, redeemed by his grace.
Reflection and Application
Do you remain busy to achieve selfish pursuits or avoid dealing with real problems? How?
How does the gospel change what your work, family, friendships, etc.? What does it look like to pursue God’s purposes in these areas?
What’s the danger in personally trying to right all the wrongs committed against us? Why doesn’t it work?
Why is the resurrection of Christ our ultimate vindication in this life and the next?
Why is the legacy of Nehemiah and the exiles dwelling in the rebuilt Jerusalem our legacy as well? Why should we give praise for the names recorded in Nehemiah 7?