Summary: Whenever you attempt to do anything great for the glory of God, expect opposition. So when it comes, pray, proceed with the work, and protect yourself as much as possible.
This last fall (September 19, 2014) when Apple introduced its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, a group of workers from Teardown.com lined up at 5 a.m. at various stores in Austin to buy the devises. Then they returned to the company's offices, where engineers began disassembling the new products.
One of the analysts said, “We took a screwdriver and tore them apart. We wanted to know every detail of everything that's inside: who the supplier was for every component, wire and screw, and how much it cost to make.” Over the next 12 hours, the battery, cameras, display, materials, and electronics were analyzed and priced, after which the information was shared with Teardown.com’s clients.
Those clients included tech manufacturers, financial investors looking for market trends, and resellers who wanted to know how much the individual parts cost. Attorneys used the information for patent-infringement cases, and engineering teams studied them for design ideas.
In fact, over the past 15 years, Teardown.com has broken down more than 2,000 products, including tablets, digital cameras and camcorders, notebook PCs, and gaming consoles. Every product the company has dismantled, dating back to the first digital music players and GPS devices, is stored away in the company's morgue. (Lori Hawkins, “What's a gadget cost? Teardown techies know,” The Columbus Dispatch, 1-28-15; www.PreachingToday.com)
Sad to say, there are some people who make it their primary business to tear things down rather than build people up. So expect it when you attempt to do great things for the glory of God.
EXPECT OPPOSITION when God moves you to build His Kingdom in desperate times.
Expect the critics. Expect those who will try to tear you down when you attempt to honor Him.
That’s what happened to Nehemiah. God had moved in his heart to reestablish God’s reputation in the world by rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem. But there were those who didn’t like it. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Nehemiah 4, Nehemiah 4, where we see how Nehemiah handled his critics and how we might handle our critics, as well.
Nehemiah 4:1-3 Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews. And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?” Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!” (ESV)
Sanballat was the governor of Samaria, the region north of Jerusalem, and Tobiah was the governor of Ammon, just east of Jerusalem. Both of them wanted control of the entire area, so they did not appreciate it when Nehemiah moved in as a new governor and began to fortify the region between them.
Verse 1 says they were “greatly enraged”, but they did not express their anger with blows yet. they expressed it with biting sarcasm and ridicule. Sanballat calls them “feeble Jews” in verse 2. And he mocks their God. “Will they sacrifice,” he asks. In other words, he ridicules their sacrifices as useless, because their God is powerless to help them. They can’t build a wall with “heaps of rubbish”, he claims. And even if they do, Tobiah says in verse 3, the first time a little fox jumps on it, it will come crashing down.
You see, that’s the way people behave when they sense they are losing control. They get very angry, and that anger begins to express itself in biting sarcasm and ridicule.
That’s what happened to Nehemiah, and it can happen to you and me today. When our work for God threatens the control that others think they have, they get angry and will do whatever they can to stop us.
Jonathan Edwards was a leading figure of America’s first great revival in the 18th Century, what we call First Great Awakening. At the time, he was pastor of the prestigious Northampton, Massachusetts, Congregational Church, and spiritual leaders like the famous preacher George Whitefield, traveled great distances to meet with him and discuss spiritual issues.
Even so, Jonathan Edwards had his critics. When he insisted that members of his own church demonstrate genuine conversion, some of them took exception. They launched a slanderous campaign against him, which eventually led to his dismissal from the church he'd made famous. He ended up pastoring a small church in the small frontier town of Stockbridge.
Eventually, Jonathan Edwards was vindicated before his critics. Some of his most vocal opponents publicly confessed their sin in attacking their godly minister; and ultimately, Princeton University hired Edwards as its president. (Henry and Richard Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership, Broadman & Holman, 2001; www.PreachingToday.com)