Summary: The message again deals with the obstacles Nehemiah faced and the methods he employed to overcome the opposition.
Overcoming Opposition - Part 2
Nehemiah was facing opposition and obstacles. He had heard the news of the destroyed wall of Jerusalem. He had immediately prayed seeking God’s will and strength. When Artexerxes asked what he could do, Nehemiah was faced with doubt and fear. But our God is faithful and the king gave Nehemiah all he asked for and more when he took that step of faith.
Each time Nehemiah took a step or leap of faith he was met with some form of opposition. He had experienced fear, ridicule, mocking, and physical threats. Each time he met the opposition with prayer. The threats continued from the opposition. Like a bad cold, they wouldn’t go away.
Nehemiah has taught us that anytime we begin to do God’s will in our life or the life of the church (1) we will encounter opposition. We have also seen that (2) Nehemiah and the builders by prayer and faith had not stopped their work on the wall when they did encounter trouble. Thus far, they have overcome each of the obstacles from the opposition.
The California coast was shrouded in fog the morning of July 4, 1952. Twenty-one miles to the west, on Catalina Island, a thirty-four year old woman waded into the water and began swimming toward California. She was determined to be the first woman to ever swim the twenty-one mile strait. Her name was Florence Chadwick. She had already finished an accomplished swim in the English Channel in both directions.
The water was numbing cold that morning and the fog was so thick that Chadwick could hardly see the boats in her own party. They were there to scare away the sharks. As the hours ticked off, she swam on. Fatigue had never been a serious problem; it was only the bone chilling cold of the water that was threatening.
More than fifteen hours later, numbed with the cold, the swimmer asked to be taken out. She couldn’t go on any longer. Her mother and her trainer, in a boat alongside her, urged Florence to go on, as they were getting closer to the shore. Yet all she could see was the dense fog.
A few minutes later, the swimmer was taken out of the water, and later, realizing she had been within a half-mile of the shore, she blurted out, "I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the shore, I might have made it."
Florence Chadwick had been licked, not by the cold or even by the fatigue, but by the fog! The fog had obscured her goal; it had blinded her reason and her eyes. (Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, Michael P. Green, p. 165-166).
Nehemiah was about to face one of the most prevalent dangers a church or individual will encounter while accomplishing God’s will. Like Florence Chadwick, Nehemiah and the builders were coming to that point of any task where hearts begin to grow weary and doubt begins to creep in.
Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.” Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.” v.10
Our most notorious industrial accidents in recent years—Exxon Valdez, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, the fatal navigational error of Korean Air Lines 007—all occurred in the middle of the night. When the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian A300 airbus killing all 290 people aboard, fatigue-stressed operators in the high-tech Combat Information Center on the carrier misinterpreted radar data and repeatedly told their captain the jet was descending as if to attack when in fact the airliner remained on a normal flight path.
In the Challenger space shuttle disaster, key NASA officials made the ill-fated decision to go ahead with the launch after working twenty hours straight and getting only two to three hours of sleep the night before. Their error in judgment cost the lives of seven astronauts and nearly killed the U.S. space program. We ignore our need for rest and renewal at the peril of others and ourselves. (Martin Moore-Ede. In The Twenty Four Hour Society.)
Some one started a false belief long ago about our living life in Jesus. It says that you don’t need to be concerned with rest, rely on the Lord and just keep going.
As believers we’ve read Ecclesiastes 9:10 that said, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." A "strong" believer should be like the energizer bunny. You keep going and going and going........
Wrong! The Lord Jesus left the needy masses to take time to be refreshed. He constantly left everything and everyone to seek rest and refreshment before the Father. How much more do we need to be rested and refreshed? Far too many falter because of this misunderstanding of God’s Word.