Summary: Sermon from Nehemiah 4-5 that deals with Nehemiah's response to opposition


FBCF – 6/28/20

Jon Daniels

INTRO – The movie, “Jaws,” was released on my birthday – June 20 – back in 1975. Was a blockbuster movie. Some folks who went to see it actually stopped going to the beach for a while.

But things got back to normal until 1978. That’s when “Jaws 2” was released w/ the tagline, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…”

This rings true in our lives in many ways right now.

- Just when we thought our economy was hitting on all cylinders, the coronavirus shuts the whole world down.

- Just when we thought everything was OK on Easter Sunday, a tornado ravaged south MS, especially Jones County, killing 14 people.

- Just when we thought we were about to turn the corner on the coronavirus, George Floyd was killed on May 25, setting off a massive nationwide time of protests, unrest, violence, & rioting.

- Throw into the conversation the news that we were supposed to be hit by an asteroid, that murder hornets are supposed to overtake us, along w/ controversy over a state flag & that college football may not happen this year, & most everyone is calling ready to hit the reset button on this year! We’ve all been hit by the dumpster fire that this year has brought to us.

While this is true on a large-scale level that affects all of us, this “just when you thought it was safe” thing can impact any of us at any time in a multitude of ways. Unexpected things can & do invade our lives all the time.

- Vicki & I traveling through the Byram area, passing house after house, talking about all the crises that families that we know who live in those houses have experienced.

And Nehemiah experienced a “just when you thought it was safe” moment in the rebuilding project in Jerusalem.

EXPLANATION – Open Bibles to Neh. 4:1-6.

This is our 4th message in our “Rebuild – Restore – Revive” series out of the book of Neh.

- “It Starts with Prayer”

- “The Hand of God Upon Me”

- “Let’s Get to Work”

So far, so good, right? That’s what Neh thought. Everything running smoothly.

- God has answered his prayers

- The king had blessed his venture & provided supplies

- People had rallied behind his leadership

- Work had begun energetically & progressed nicely

- Then his version of “Jaws 2” happened. Just when he thought everything was going to work out just fine, opposition rears its ugly head.

Sanballat & Tobiah appear. These 2 men are most like government leaders of some of the enemy nations. They show up & begin to mock the people, partly out of personal pleasure, but also to try to discourage the people in the building process (v. 2-3). Neh’s response gives us some great insight into how to deal w/ opposition.

APPLICATION – Opposition is part of the Christian life, so we need to learn to deal w/ it.


Sometimes the opposition is external & obvious – 4:1-9

Sometimes it’s internal & hidden – 5:1-13 – Famine had hit. The people were desperate & needy.

- Dealing w/a famine

- Weary from the rebuilding project

- Had to pay heavy tax

- Away from families working on wall. Wives & kids at home by themselves


o Don’t get too HUNGRY, ANGRY, LONELY, & TIRED).

Same enemy who is active today was active among God’s people then.

Any time God is at work, you can expect opposition – and that’s a good thing!

- I want to have a reputation in hell

- I want Satan & his demons to know who I am, who FBCF is, & who we are working for.

Tony Dungy – “Today, we are a divided country [& I would add, a divided state]…& Satan is laughing at us b/c that is exactly what he wants. Dysfunction, mistrust, & hatred help his kingdom flourish. We have to realize we are not fighting against other people. We are fighting against Satan & his kingdom of spiritual darkness.”


Pray – Neh’s response to his opposition was to immediately pray fervently – 4:4-5. Prayer was his priority!

- It was a heartfelt prayer – “we are despised” – insulted & mocked

- It was an honest prayer – He just poured it out honestly, intensely, emotionally.

- It was a painful prayer – Showed how deep his pain was for himself & for the people.

o Prayers & laments in the Psalms

o Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane

This is how we should pray, too! Not necessarily praying for our enemies to suffer, but just pouring out our hearts to the Lord.

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